Cartier Bell Boys

PARIS — Cartier has signed up for Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion in China, bulking up its online presence in the country and adding a highly prestigious label to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, WWD has learned.

The move comes just over four years after the Compagnie Financière Richemont jewelry house, which is one of the world’s biggest jewelry labels, first set up an Internet site in the country. “Given the increasingly complex e-commerce landscape in China, this strategic launch will provide significant opportunities for Cartier to embrace China’s fast-moving retail environment in order to further strengthen our commitment to our Chinese clients,” said Cyrille Vigneron, president and chief executive officer of Cartier.

Eager to tap into the wellspring of luxury demand from the country’s young, digitally savvy consumers, luxury brands are increasingly embracing Internet platforms like Alibaba’s Luxury Pavilion and rival’s Toplife. Both companies have built systems that offer brands their own, distinct spaces, like virtual stores — referred to as online flagships.

In its description, Cartier said its “luxury sensibilities” and “contemporary, standard-setting aesthetics” would be reflected in the online setting, and that the Cartier so-called flagship would have a prominent position on Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion.

Luxury executives operating in China describe the online setting as similar to a real mall, where brands have to angle for prime real estate and hold activities, like fashion shows or splashy new store openings, in order to raise their visibility.

“The launch of the Cartier Tmall flagship boutique marks a milestone in the journey to enchant and captivate,” added Cartier, which plans to offer services like product engraving and gift packing and delayed payment options.

To mark the launch of Cartier on the site, the brand plans to offer exclusive products, including a small model of the Juste un Clou bracelet with diamonds and a new Guirlande chain wallet bag. As part of the launch festivities, it will also offer red box engravings and door-to-door delivery services to the first 288 clients from Cartier ‘bellboys’, wearing the traditional, red uniforms.

When it comes to high-end consumption in the country, “a critical element is engaging with Gen Z and classic luxury consumers,” said Mike Hu, general manager of Tmall fashion, luxury and fast-moving consumer goods. Hu said the new space will apply the company’s new “Flagship Store 2.0 model,” which aims for a “virtually perfect brand experience for the targeted consumer groups.”

At a recent conference held by marketing agency Digital Luxury Group, which helps high-end labels navigate the Chinese market, brands and marketing executives suggested brands should follow the lead of local players, move quickly to adapt their offer and align events to special shopping days organized by the online operators.

Cartier’s launch on the platform will take place in February, coinciding with Tmall’s Super Brand Day, and the label plans a “Let’s Cartier” hashtag for Weibo.

“Chinese clients will be further empowered to explore Cartier’s creations and services in more convenient and innovative ways,” said Guillaume Alix, ceo of Cartier in China. He described the brand’s clients in the country as young and sophisticated, accustomed to exploring brands online as much as offline.

Launched in 2017, Luxury Pavilion counts Kering-owned jewelry label Qeelin and watch brand Zenith, which belongs to LVMH Moët Hennessy among dozens of other high-end labels.