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e-commerce Editor's pick

On-demand fashion economy hits SXSW with Revolve x Postmates partnership

revolve_postmates

Online e-commerce site Revolve is teaming up with delivery service Postmates for a special festival-themed campaign during SXSW this year.

Acknowledging what they refer to as the “on-demand, instant-gratification generation that is changing fashion”, the initiative will see the retailer’s festival essentials collection available in Austin in under 60 minutes for a flat delivery fee of $3.99.

To put the relevancy of festival into perspective for Revolve: it made up approximately 20% of all sales during 2015. During SXSW therefore, it’s encouraging users to access the Postmates app or browse merchandise via Instagram to see it on various influencers, and immediately click to buy.

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business e-commerce mobile

Yoox Net-a-Porter: Native apps, m-commerce and surging sales

Netaporter

How has the combined Yoox and Net-a-Porter online fashion giant been faring since the Italian and UK businesses linked-up? Pretty well actually with global growth in the double-digits and m-commerce sales growing fast – very fast.

OK, for three-quarters of the period covered, Yoox and NaP continued to operate separately (their ‘merger’ was announced in March and completed in early October) but if we pretend the business was one big happy family from January 1, the figures do look good.

The business released its sales figures for 2015 on Monday and we heard none of the complaints about unseasonably warm or cold weather denting sales. Instead, it saw a rise of a bigger-than-expected 31%. And in Q4, when the weather was particularly challenging and lots of fashion retailers suffered, the business still managed a sales rise of 27.8%.

Some of that was down to the weak euro that made its sales look better. But even with positive currency effects factored-out, the rise for the full-year was 21% to €1.7bn. While a lot of that was about Yoox selling goods at a discount, full-price sales were also key. Revenue at its online flagships (for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Marni) rose 19.2% for the year, and 20.8% in Q4.

And the company said it saw an “excellent performance” at the Net-a-porter and Mr Porter’s sites. In fact, last year’s ‘In-Season’ business line (ie NaP itself, Mr Porter, plus Yoox’s Thecorner and Shoescribe sites) saw pro-forma revenues of €893.3m, up just short of 37%.

What also characterised last year was the fact that more and more sales came via m-commerce as smartphone and tablet shopping made as much of an impact on luxury as it did on the mass-market. That’s a wake-up call for high-end brands still unconvinced by the smartphone shopping revolution.

Mobile accounted for as much as 40% of Yoox-NaP’s sales last year, boosted by native apps, which surged an astonishing 180%. It’ll be interesting to see what those percentages stand at this time next year.

Also important was the group’s expansion internationally with some markets being standout performers. While it grew in double-digits across the world, particularly impressive was the 37.3% UK rise, the 43.3% North American rise and the 36.9% Asia-Pacific rise.

The company had 27.1m average monthly unique visitors last year, up from 23.6m in 2014, and saw 7.1m orders, up from 5.8m. It had 2.5m active customers, up from 2.1m and the average order value was a healthy €352.

Some analysts doubt it will be able to maintain this level of growth – let’s face it, there has to be a slowdown at some point. Will 2016 be the year that happens? We know that luxury shoppers are worried about falling share prices and aren’t getting so much cash through from their oil wells, while aspirational shoppers are concerned about talk of a possible global recession.

But the Yoox arm of Yoox-NaP in particular has shown itself well able to grow in bad economic times as well as good. I’ll be interested to see whether it can make the NaP part of the business turn in healthy profits though. Whatever happens, it will definitely be an interesting year for this business.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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business e-commerce

Chinese luxury: If you’re not online you’re a loser

burberry-t-mall-2

All those luxury brands that have been spending millions on Chinese stores but have been lagging their peers in online development, need to sit up and take notice of a new report from KPMG about just how online-focused Chinese shoppers are.

The fact is there are lots of brands like that, with recent reports suggesting lots of them don’t quite get it yet, including Prada and Tiffany. One report even said most luxury brands need to try harder.

According to KPMG, Chinese luxury shoppers are increasingly preferring to visit online retailers rather than physical stores. And the e-stores they’re visiting are evolving fast from being places where shoppers can get a bargain to sophisticated locations offering high-end clothes and accessories, Shanghai Daily reported.

The result? E-tail will account for half of Chinese luxury spending by 2020. KPMG spoke to 10,150 Chinese luxury consumers last year and found that almost a third of their spending was online already. And average spend per item was CNY 2,300 ($350/£244). The average highest amount they said they’d be prepared to spend online was CNY4,200, double what they said just a year ago.

So what are they buying? Cosmetics, women’s shoes, handbags, other leather goods and women’s clothes and accessories – all of which suggests a very female-focused trend. It seems that even if men are among these luxury shoppers, much of what they’re buying is for the women in their lives.

Another key trend in this luxury move online is the increasing use of mobile devices, which mirrors what’s happening worldwide. But more specific to China is a favouring of foreign rather than domestic e-tailers. In fact, two-thirds of the shoppers questioned said they shop more from overseas online retailers.

That’s supported by figures for overall Chinese luxury spending with Fortune Character Institute saying almost 80% of Chinese luxury spending last year happened abroad (that’s a spend of CNY91bn, or £9.67bn, happening outside of China).

A lot of that is about exchange rates with the weak euro making European sales cheaper. But also key is the perception of foreign e-tailers as prestigious because, let’s face it, when it comes to luxury sales, image is everything.

So, it looks like the online future for Western designer brands in China is good – unless they’re neglecting the e-tail experience. They’ve been warned!

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday. Image via Burberry on Tmall

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Blocks business data e-commerce Startups

Lyst’s ‘big data’ visualised in projection mapping from Holition

Lyst_holition_projection

With an inventory of over one million items from more than 9,000 global fashion designers and retail stores, not to mention a solid group of actively purchasing consumers (a record $10m in sales was generated in a recent month), it might come as no surprise to hear Lyst has also got a lot in the way of data.

The once social curation site, now e-commerce platform, recently showcased that fact in collaboration with Holition.The latter created a projection that visualised the vast amount of data Lyst receives daily, in real-time. As per the video below, it documented around 250,000 items of clothing and accessories on the screen at any one time. Prices were shown, as were brands, combined designed to enable the viewer to understand and spot popular trends.

This “engaging and colourful piece of digital art”, as Holition refers to it, was on show at Lyst Studios, the company’s headquarters, in Shoreditch, London.

Said Holition CTO, Russell Freeman: “[Lyst] sucks up a huge amount of information every day and we wanted to be able to visualise that in a really beautiful way.”

Lyst, which launched in 2010, has also just announced what it refers to as a “complete brand refresh”. A new logo, a content-led homepage (as below) and a redesign across desktop, tablet and mobile are included. Working in partnership with creative agency Wednesday, the company has introduced a new aesthetic that it refers to as “modern, bolder and more distinctive”.

Chris Morton, Lyst CEO and cofounder, said: “We’ve spent much of the last four years focussed on building a deeply engaging product that delivers a truly personalised shopping experience for each of our millions of users around the world, and that’s now generating very meaningful sales for our partner brands and stores globally. I’m delighted that we have now been able to turn more attention to our brand, with this new identity and content based homepage forming the first of several exciting brand- led initiatives in the coming months.”

The move comes off the back of the aforementioned successful sales figures as well as the fact the company is on track to grow 400% year-on-year for the third year in a row. Its universal checkout launched in 2013, which enables shoppers to buy from different fashion brands and stores in one basket on Lyst’s website and mobile apps, is reportedly behind the growth.

Lyst_redesign_homepage