PARIS — SMCP, the group behind Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, continues to broaden its digital reach, revealing Wednesday it has forged a partnership with Farfetch for distribution of the Sandro label.
“We are convinced that having our products on Farfetch will contribute to Sandro’s digital expansion across the globe, positioning it as a high-end luxury brand and enhancing its worldwide visibility and awareness,” said Isabelle Allouch, chief executive officer of Sandro, in a statement.
The contemporary French label, which falls in the “accessible luxury” apparel category with youthful, fashionable styles for an urban consumer, is seeking to reinforce its premium positioning while widening its consumer base through Farfetch. The e-commerce platform counts around 2.8 million clients globally.
The move comes three months after the group added a partnership with JD.com in China to its digital arsenal in that country.
“Farfetch is a platform that is very, very well positioned with a lot of luxury brands — an ideal partnership for us, in the accessible luxury sphere, to highlight our brands in an upscale environment, with a pure player that is expanding very strongly,” said Flavien D’Audiffret, SMCP’s digital and innovation director. “It’s the platform of the moment,” he added.
Asked how the company sees its digital strategy evolving from the current mix of robust own-brand web sites and platforms run by external partners, the executive said the company is constantly monitoring the changing business environment.
“It is constantly in flux, we have a digital strategy of developing our own sites for the biggest regions for the group, across Europe, in the U.S. and in China, and in parallel, we have several e-partners, in a selective manner— we don’t want to be everywhere, on all the platforms — we want to be on the right platform in the right place,” he said, citing the Place des Tendances, Selfridges or Harrods in Europe, Bloomingdale’s in U.S., and Tmall and JD.com in China.
“Today there are several actors, including Farfetch, that are the right ones for us,” he said.
The former Amazon executive was hired in 2015, early on in the tenure of the group’s chief executive officer Daniel Lalonde. Lalonde has listed a push into the digital sphere as a priority for the company this year, including bulking up online content around its products.
The group has turned to start-ups through its “digital accelerator” program to help fine-tune its digital tools, including a drive to improve the fluidity of purchases on mobile devices, particularly toward the end stages of a transaction. Having several brands, the group can test a system on one of them, or in a certain geographic region before rolling it out elsewhere.
SMCP is also working on setting up client relationship management systems on a global level, executives said.
While the digital push is crucial, the attractiveness of the offer from each of the brands remains key, noted D’Audiffret.
“The product remains at the heart of this business, it’s not technology that’s going to draw people into the stores — so it remains the desirability of our brands, combined with a fluid, high-level experience.”
The group, which was listed on the Paris stock market in 2017 and is controlled by Chinese textile conglomerate Shandong Ruyi Group, has been expanding its geographic presence outside of its home market of France, including opening new stores in the U.S. and Mexico over the past several months. Last month, the group announced plans to make its first major acquisition since forming the group — French menswear label De Fursac.