Le Bon Marché’s new global site 24 Sèvres, bowing in mid-June, will offer Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, Loewe and Kenzo, among other LVMH properties, while under the heading of emerging designers there will be Acne, J.W. Anderson, Isabel Marant, Ami, Stella McCartney, Paul & Joe, Kirna Zabête, Maison Kitsuné and Marco de Vincenzo. Niche beauty brands will include Byredo fragrances, Diptych, Balmain and Casanera.
Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior, Sephora and Le Bon Marché are among the brands in the group with significant online businesses.
24 Sèvres is only part of the Parisian luxury giant’s digital efforts. “Out of LVMH’s 70 brands, I can tell you that each has its own strategy,” said Ian Rogers, chief digital officer of LVMH. “There isn’t any brand that’s not developing or expanding its e-commerce strategy. Céline is launching e-commerce later this year. Dior is expanding, as is Kenzo. There are marketplaces and monobrands and they’re not mutually exclusive.”
Eric Goguey, chief executive officer of 24 Sèvres, said the site is “relatively modest. We’re starting with women’s wear, accessories and beauty. We want to grow organically. We’ll definitely add men’s and watches and fine jewelry.”
The site, which is being tested by “friends and family,” opens with colorful balloons floating around a black Lady Dior handbag.
LVMH image director Faye McLeod, known for designing fantastical windows for Louis Vuitton, is setting 24 Sèvres’ visual tone.
Despite being owned by LVMH, 24 Sèvres considers itself a start-up. At its offices in the 15th arrondissement, 60 staffers, including engineers and the customer service team, sit in close proximity, and photographers shoot about 50,000 images a month.
24 Sèvres’ dedicated buying team will try to stay true to the spirit, if not always the letter, of the store. “We have to be sure we’re staying within the edit,” Rogers said, adding that “99 percent of the brands sold online will be in the store. It’s a pure cross-selling project.”
To mark the global launch, 24 Sèvres is creating a capsule collection of 77 limited-edition pieces, the result of collaborations between Le Bon Marché and 68 brands including Chloé, Givenchy, Loewe, Marni and Ferragamo. Moving forward, Goguey said rather than multilabel launches, “we’ll do monobrand capsules where we’ll work deeper with a few brands.”
Clients who know what they want can navigate the site along. For those in need of inspiration, there’s a section for exploring the leopard trend, Parisian chic and cocooning lifestyle. Every product will have its own hashtag and blurb about why buyers chose the item.
“This is a box you can open with joy,” Goguey said, lifting the lid of an outer cardboard layer. A surprise pop-up card with an illustration of the Eiffel Tower surrounded by balloons was revealed, a reference to Le Bon Marché’s early days when the store gave balloons to children. A white box was printed with the word “Paris” and the customer’s initials and had an illustration of the store on the inside lid. The product, perfume, was wrapped in white tissue paper along with a hand-written note of thanks.
Le Bon Marché’s windows will herald the site’s launch with retail space in the store devoted to the capsule collection.
Click-and-collect orders can be picked up in Paris and there’s express delivery to more than 75 countries. Style assistance begins with a chat bot that gathers basic information. A human personal shopper — with a French accent, of course — is available via FaceTime.
24 Sèvres will be available in French and English to a global audience at 24sevres.com and via an iOS application.
Despite the deep pockets of LVMH, the launch is not without risks — the group’s previous attempt at e-commerce, e-Luxury, was a bust.
“Driven by the proliferation of smartphones, Internet retailing has become an effective way to reach luxury consumers and generate brand awareness within a heavily fragmented market,” said Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods at Euromonitor. “But keep in mind that luxury goods are widely defined by their prestige and exclusivity. The easier and cheaper they are to acquire, the more those key attributes get watered down.”
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