LAS VEGAS — Building a global fashion company didn’t take long for Matchesfashion.com, with chief executive officer Ulric Jerome highlighting details of the past five years that have seen the high-fashion retailer expand far beyond the U.K. and innovating beyond the vague term “omnichannel.”
Jerome, who delivered a talk Sunday on the opening day of the annual Shoptalk retailing conference here, pointed out Matchesfashion has undergone a dramatic digital transformation, going from a business with nearly 100 percent of sales coming from the U.K. five years ago to now 80 percent of the business generated outside the region. Roughly half of the overall business is now coming from mobile, he said.
Last year saw the luxury retailer nab 70 million visits to its site as Jerome talked up how the company reaches its customers. The company’s merchants operate with specific customer profiles in mind: the free spirit or the fashion pioneer for women’s or the athlete or modern playboy on the men’s side. Men’s is currently 20 percent of the business, but at maturity should grow to 30 percent, according to Jerome.
“The cool factor is extremely important,” he said. “It’s about making sure that we can set a trend for customers.”
Matchesfashion’s detailed approach to a business designed around very specific customers is what Jerome called the “reverse of a marketplace,” with original content and assortments that bear a point of view. The company built on that concept with the release of the Style Daily fashion blog that features shoppable fashion with the assistance of chatbots. It’s moves such as that, the ceo said, that make up the future of luxury commerce.
“For us, our mission statement is always to make sure that at scale we provide personal one-to-one service and that is something we have to protect every second of the day,” Jerome said.
To hear him describe it, it’s a multipronged approach that steers clear of pigeonholing the business into something that’s physical retail or e-commerce and addresses a convergence happening across industries — from fashion and music to art and food. In fact, the ceo admitted he doesn’t particularly care for the term “multichannel.”
This year, the company will open a 7,500-square-foot townhouse at 5 Carlos Place in London that perhaps explains the future in which Matchesfashion sees itself a player, in ways jargon never can.
The space in Mayfair in set to open in the next four to five months, Jerome said, and will have two floors of retail, two floors of private shopping and one floor serving as a media hub for conferences and interviews accessible across its global audience via Facebook Live.
The merchandise assortment there will in some cases be pulled around the theme of the discussions being had in that hub.
The past is somewhat indicative of what Carlos Place will be, with Matchesfashion having previously done pop-ups with a similar angle, including one in New York last year in which Jerome reported the company was able to reach some 43 million people via its Facebook Live content.
Carlos Place would join six other physical locations the company has in London.