Farfetch Beat

LONDON — Farfetch is betting on the drop model to set itself apart, highlight the most interesting products in the market and offer them to its customers exclusively.

The retailer will be introducing Farfetch Beat in April, a new drop strategy that will see limited-run products dropping on the Farfetch app on a weekly basis.

“The model has existed for a while, having been born out of streetwear, but we’re now recognizing the value it has with the customer,” said Farfetch’s chief brand officer Holli Rogers, who is spearheading the initiative. “We’ve really been looking at what resonates with the end consumer and want to really highlight the most interesting pieces. It’s an emotional [approach], it gives people that high they want.”

It’s a move that makes sense, as the drop model is no longer reserved for streetwear kids and more luxury consumers are getting in on the action and looking for exclusive product that’s not easily accessible.

“It’s the gamification of so many things: You want to get in there and get it first,” said Rogers. 

Having limited-run drops can also be a more sustainable solution for brands as it tends to prevent having unsold stock left over, and Farfetch believes there will be a big transition toward the model in the near future.

“Luxury brands are evolving their strategies and we expect an even greater shift in the industry, away from traditional cycles to a drop model,” said Stephanie Phair, the retailer’s chief customer officer.

The new initiative will utilize Farfetch’s ecosystem of brand partners including major luxury names, as well as brands from within the Farfetch umbrella, such as New Guards Group’s Off-White, Heron Preston and Ambush, Opening Ceremony and Stadium Goods, which will be behind some of the “cult streetwear and sneaker rarities” dropping on the Farfetch app.

Rogers added that there is “no formulaic approach” when it comes to the drops. They will vary from a single product “that really hit the ground running,” to a concept that has been more cohesively built out with several pieces. Similarly, the drops will mainly feature products by fashion brands but Rogers is also open to exploring different avenues, in due course.

“We predominantly operate within the fashion space, yet we could also be opening it up to anything else that’s interesting and can have that level of resonance. It could be a new Tesla — I’d just need to speak to Elon Musk about that,” she added.

The company said that the brand participating in the first drops will be revealed closer to the launch date in April.

To curate the project and choose the most relevant brand and products featured, the company has put together a ‘Beat Collective’ of industry experts, including Rogers; New Guards Group’s chief marketing officer Christiano Fegnani; Opening Ceremony’s Carol Lim and Humberto Leon; Browns’ buying director Ida Petersson, and John McPheters, co-chief executive officer and cofounder of Stadium Goods.

Guest members will also be introduced when the project takes off.

“We put together a mix of people with views on everything from the supply chain to where the industry is going in the future. They understand both the product and the cultural mix and are bringing all that expertise together,” said Rogers. “I could choose the drops by virtue of my day job, but what’s interesting is to have a broad appeal and recognize what is relevant collectively, because we are global.”

Having a global outreach is in fact a key part of the initiative, with products dropping simultaneously in all Farfetch markets ranging as far as China, Russia, Brazil, North America, the Middle East and Japan.

The idea is to include an educational element in the initiative and give exposure to different concepts and products, in regions where awareness might be low.

To start off, the drops — or beats — will be available strictly online through the Farfetch app to communicate a more exclusive, invitation-only approach. Later on, offline activations will be incorporated into the project in partnership with some of the boutiques in Farfetch’s network.

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