PARIS — Givenchy is intensifying its e-commerce push with the launch today of online sales in the U.S., the world’s second-largest e-commerce market after China.
The French house, which belongs to luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, inaugurated its first site in France in 2017, followed by the U.K., Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands in October 2018.
The U.S. accounts for around 15 percent of the brand’s overall annual revenues, making it a key driver for future growth. “It’s a very important market for us because, beyond its size, it really represents the foundation of the brand’s international expansion,” Givenchy chief executive officer Philippe Fortunato told WWD.
The house was keen to fine-tune its approach before entering the highly competitive U.S. market, in a bid to fully integrate online sales with its network of seven stores, which include two in New York, one in Las Vegas, three in Miami and one in the South Coast Plaza shopping mall in Costa Mesa, Calif.
It plans to open another flagship in Los Angeles in two years, and is scouting for locations in cities including Boston and Atlanta, Fortunato revealed.
“We may be late to the market, but it was very important to us to have a modern, advanced vision of the multi-touchpoint, multichannel experience in every country where we operate,” he said of the U.S. e-commerce launch.
“What we try to do as much as possible is to offer in-store appointments to our e-commerce clients in the shape of client events, dinners and exhibitions, in order to complete the online experience with a physical element,” the executive added.
Along with Christian Dior, the house’s founder Hubert de Givenchy recognized the importance of the U.S. market early on, establishing a lifelong friendship with Audrey Hepburn, and dressing stars and socialites including Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Jackie Kennedy and Deeda Blair.
“What really anchored the brand was his capacity to design exceptional products including mix-and-match separates, which sold very well in the U.S., but most of all to represent the French art of living, excellence and a very personalized service. That’s at the core of our omnichannel experience,” Fortunato said.
Givenchy has maintained a strong visibility in North America thanks to its continued links with the worlds of film and entertainment. Creative director Clare Waight Keller has dressed celebrities such as Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Liv Tyler for the red carpet, and Ariana Grande is the face of its fall campaign.
To celebrate the launch, Givenchy is releasing a capsule collection of two varsity-inspired T-shirts and a sweatshirt for women and men, available exclusively on the U.S. site. Early feedback from the test phase of the platform shows U.S. customers have more sophisticated tastes than their European counterparts, Fortunato said.
“It’s very interesting, because early returns show the basis of a very good ready-to-wear business in the U.S. Customers are responding to Clare’s aesthetic and have already ordered the more sophisticated runway pieces in the test phase,” he reported.
The U.S. site offers a wide variety of price points. In addition to $470 logo T-shirts, it carries leather goods starting at $1,350 for a Mini Eden handbag; accessories such as the Ariana headband, covered in pearls and crystals, retailing for $690, and luxury rtw including a crystal- and pearl-embroidered mini cape priced at $4,320.
Fortunato declined to provide any numbers or targets for Givenchy’s online business, beyond saying that the brand’s e-commerce site should be its biggest store worldwide. The house’s own network of boutiques accounts for half of its total revenues.
The next step is China, where Givenchy hopes to launch online sales within the next two years.
“The key thing for China is to integrate WeChat into the omnichannel system. You need some time to resolve the technical issues of integrating the client database to WeChat and to the transactional site itself. It’s complicated, so we have given ourselves 18 to 24 months to launch it properly,” he said.