Joseph McKenzie

LONDON — As re-sale continues to gain market share, pre-owned luxury retailer Xupes has been steadily growing by targeting the premium end of the market with a focus on fine jewelry, watches and luxury bags, primarily from the likes of Chanel and Hermès.

The company is now looking to further connect with its audience by expanding its retail footprint and opening its first physical location in London at the Royal Exchange, in the City.

“Our business has grown predominantly online, so we wanted to have a physical store which reinforced the online proposition and also provided access to more customers that were relevant to our demographics,” said Joseph McKenzie, Xupes founder, adding that many of the company’s decisions around the opening have been data-driven.

“The City has a very large watch demographic. The data that we have shows that one of the hot spots for our customer demographic for watches and for women buying handbags, jewelry and watches is the Royal Exchange.”

The new space, which features soft, neutral tones and minimalist furniture with a wave motif, carries an edit of about 125 products, but customers can order any product from the site’s wider assortment — which spans more than 10,000 products — and have it delivered in-store either on the same or the next day.

“We wanted to make sure the journey is quite seamless between the online and the offline [because] even though pre-owned is growing online, the luxury element of this market still has a huge portion of customers who want to have an experience and they want to go to a physical location to touch and feel, both the products and the brand, be assured of the quality and that what they’re buying is coming from a legitimate business,” added McKenzie.

The new Xupes store in London

The new Xupes store in London  Courtesy Photo

Xupes products can range in price from 1,000 pounds to 1 million pounds for a watch, and there’s usually the most excitement around rare, vintage pieces that might have been discontinued by a brand.

“It’s about offering products that are not made anymore, and giving them a new life and a new story. We offer them in exceptional condition with the same guarantees that they would have if they were new,” said McKenzie.

There’s also more focus on timeless, heritage pieces rather than trends, so educating customers on topics such as how to source rare pieces, how to care for them and how to identify items with a potential resale value, is a big part of Xupes’ work.

“Everybody knows that you can buy [a new Hermès Birkin] and then sell it for 30 percent more than it is at retail,” added McKenzie.

The new London location is focused on the retailer’s watch offer, which usually attracts a more mature, and predominantly male, clientele. But McKenzie said that there is a shift, with more women educating themselves and buying across the watch category, with men’s styles now serving as fashion accessories.

The company’s handbag category attracts a younger shopper in their twenties and thirties. While Chanel and Hermès currently make up around 80 percent of the retailer’s bag business, McKenzie said he sees potential in expanding the category to more brands, and is already toying with the idea of a second London store location that will have a stronger handbag focus.

Coinciding with its London store opening, the company also started selling its products at Vestiaire Collective’s new Selfridges space, following on from a long-term partnership the two consignment companies had online.

“We sell on quite a few different platforms and they’re quite important for us because it just broadens your access to the customers. As long as you can collaborate with them and as long as the platforms give you access to the customers then it works quite well. Vestiaire is an interesting one because we’ve helped quite a lot in their growth in the U.K.,” said Mackenzie.

“The cost to acquire those customers through online marketing has become a lot more competitive and a lot more expensive. We find that having quite a broad approach to the market just helps build awareness.”

Also in the works for next year is a new concierge service and a focus on “becoming the leader” in resale across Europe, before looking to enter the U.S. and Asia.

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