Two years ago U.K.-based Matchesfashion.com staged a seasonal press day in New York to showcase its upcoming buy to press and influencers and court an increasingly global audience for its e-commerce channel. On April 13, the retailer, which has five stores in London, will re-create its private shopping town house in Marylebone for its New York press day at the WOM Townhouse in SoHo, and then open it up for consumers from April 15 to 17 for a weekend of programming and previews of site’s pre-fall and fall 2016 merchandise. There will also be a small edit of spring merchandise available on the site. It’s essentially a pop-up, but the customers can shop — via iPad — although they can’t take anything home.
It’s an interesting consumer strategy. Shopping gets second billing to the weekend’s events, which include a talk with fashion blogger Leandra Medine, Matchesfashion.com’s buying director Natalie Kingham and Sander Lak of Sies Marjan; cocktails with The Coveteur; a presentation with former Details’ editor Eugene Tong, and brunch with Vivian Brodie of Paddle8. And at a time when fashion is accused of fatiguing customers by showing them merchandise well before its available to purchase, Matchesfashion.com is teasing its clients with its pre-fall and fall buy, essentially rejecting the consumer fatigue theory.
“We’re using it as an opportunity to engage new customers, showcasing our different brands and exclusives,” said a spokesperson for Matchesfashion.com, who noted that the site has ramped up its focus on editorial content and it sees the temporary town house as a living version of it. Although founders Tom and Ruth Chapman launched Matches in 1987 as a purely brick-and-mortar enterprise, the strategy shifted to an e-commerce focus in 2013, re-branding the business as Matchesfashion.com, as opposed to just Matches, to unify its stores and e-commerce channels. Now, 85 percent of sales are done online and outside the U.K.
Matchesfashion.com has hosted similar events in Dubai, Hong Kong, and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The New York event is open to the public. Some of the events require an RSVP, but for the most part, the town house is an open house. The retailer didn’t rule out the possibility of expanding its brick-and-mortar network to the markets it’s tested with the temporary town houses, but the spokesperson said plans for a New York store are not in the short-term.