MILAN — Moschino’s new flagship on Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion, which was unveiled today, serves more than a financial and commercial purpose. It taps into a young generation and clarifies the brand’s positioning.
The project “is very important in China in terms of brand perception and quality and price ratio,” Gabriele Maggio, general manager of Moschino, told WWD. “The store allows us to convey a message of repositioning, which would not be easy otherwise, offering us the right visibility.”
Maggio pointed to a number of channels globally that “cannot be controlled,” while this store will be Moschino’s “official message” and strong marketing and communication tool. The company is also launching a dedicated and exclusive capsule collection Moschino x Tmall designed by creative director Jeremy Scott, which includes six ready-to-wear pieces and accessories and is also unveiled today: a T-shirt, a hoodie, a sweater, a dress and baseball cap, all inspired by its “Moschino Couture!”archival design.
Maggio credited Scott for the brand’s turnaround, and his role in developing the label in China. With the designer, who joined the Italian brand in 2013, Moschino “started to have a strong identity in China, with his ironic and pop aesthetics that fit the Chinese taste very well — and the traveling Chinese, too,” Maggio said. Scott is very active and visible with celebrities, and on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, so Tmall was “the most logical extension” for Moschino.
The brand, controlled by the Aeffe group, has a consolidated distribution in China, with 53 stores, of which 31 are for Moschino and 22 are for Love Moschino. The region accounts for 13.8 percent of sales. “It’s already an important market for Moschino and the awareness is high, both spontaneous and indirect. The target is young and we already talk to Millennials. Tmall has grown very quickly in the last few years and it can help us achieve more strength and penetration,” he said.
Maggio said he was sure about Tmall’s prestige and authority. “It’s the ideal partner and its activities are in line with our retail strategies. I have no fears. I lived more than two years in China and Hong Kong and I have confidence in Alibaba and the Pavilion. We have been talking with them for eight or nine months to develop the project, their mentality is very open and they can rely on different branches globally, which allow them to be in contact with different cultures.”
Christina Fontana, business development director at Alibaba Italia, was equally upbeat, emphasizing how Moschino is “a young, fun, ironic brand and Chinese consumers are very interested in this kind of product, it is very much in demand.” Fontana said Chinese consumers “are now very eager to each express their own personality,” and Moschino in particular is a brand that allows them to do so. Echoing Maggio, Fontana said the store on Tmall is “an official voice” for Moschino and shows that the company is channeling investments, time and its willingness to create a relationship with Chinese consumers. In turn, the company will be able to know its customers, their age, what they prefer and have access to data and information on the business.
Maggio noted that accessories sell very well online and pointed to “the importance to have a channel to grow this category and emphasize it. There is enormous potential.” Fontana said accessories allow an easier approach to the brand for a first purchase. She said more than 80 percent of sales are on mobile.
As reported in March, Aeffe partnered with Triboo, a company listed on Alternative Investment Market Italia, to launch a new and global omnichannel distribution project, taking its online and off-line sales channels in-house. The online platforms are expected to bow in September. “This allows us to be more flexible, dynamic and fast, also in terms of shoots and logistics,” Maggio said.
The Italian fashion group will create a dedicated team to focus on the online stores of its proprietary brands Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini. The three brands’ online stores were previously operated by the Yoox Net-a-porter Group.
Exports represent around 70 percent of total group revenues, which last year reached 312.6 million euros, up 11.4 percent compared with the previous year.
As reported, Aeffe is reaping the rewards of strategies the Italian fashion group set in motion years ago, seeing net profits in 2017 more than triple to 11.5 million euros, compared with 3.6 million euros in 2016.
Sales of directly operated stores last year represented 26.7 percent of revenues, increasing 18.4 percent compared with 2016. The wholesale channel grew 8.9 percent, accounting for 70.1 percent of the total.
The Luxury Pavilion is an invitation-only platform on Tmall for consumers of premium brands, providing an exclusive, luxury experience from product selection, brand experience and customer service. Alibaba, founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, with sales of $768 billion, counts more than 552 million active consumers. Italy is the first country in continental Europe where Alibaba opened a controlled Alibaba Italia branch, operative since October 2015.