Online sales for Kering SA’s Luxury Division, which includes such high-end brands as Gucci and Bottega Veneta, reached nearly $400 million in 2014, and the company says it is making the web a priority.
Luxury sales make up just 5% of Kering’s total luxury division revenues of 6.759 billion euros ($7.68 billion) for 2014, but that 5% represents 337 million euros ($382.80 million). Total luxury sales rose 6% in 2014, from 6.378 billion euros ($7.24 billion) in 2013, the company says in its annual report.
In the report, Keringsays it is investing more in online operations and the web is a top priority, not only in terms of generating sales but also for marketing and brand awareness.
“Kering is gradually increasing its investments in its brands’ online presence to better meet the customers’ new consumption and purchasing demands,” Kering says in the 175-page document. “Kering has embraced the digital revolution. E-business is a strategic priority, not only for the business the Group’s brands conduct online but also because it influences demand across all sales channels. Since Kering’s brands are global, they need online flagship stores to be accessible from around the world.”
While Kering, No.145 in the Internet Retailer Europe 500, did not break out online sales for each of its 17 luxury brands in its annual report, or disclose how much online sales grew from 2013, it did offer some nuggets related to the web and its e-commerce plans:
- Kering operates e-commerce sites for all of its luxury brands either in-house or via Yoox, an online retailer that also maintains e-commerce sites for many global luxury brands. Yoox is No. 78 in the Europe 500 and No. 184 in the Top 500 Guide.
- Gucci, by far its biggest luxury label accounting for 52% of Kering’s luxury sales, sells online in 28 countries and its retail site attracts over 100 million visitors a year.
- The Yves Saint Laurent website, available at Ysl.com and operated by Yoox, began selling in Asia in 2014 and as of December was selling online to consumers in more than 60 countries. The site is available in simplified Chinese, the written language used in mainland China, and Korean. Ysl.com was redesigned at the end of 2012. Yoox provides site infrastructure, while Saint Laurent manages the image, product assortment, editorial content and art direction of the site.
- As of December, Yves Saint Laurent had more than 2.3 million fans on Facebook and was one of the most popular luxury brands on Twitter with over 2.4 million followers.
- Kering’s Balenciaga brand sells online in 91 countries and since May 2013 has been operated by the Yoox platform.
- In 2012 Kering launched an e-business platform to help its luxury brands develop their online businesses and digital strategy. As a result of the program, all the brands have mobile- and tablet-optimized sites, performance measurement tools and a dedicated user-experience design team that works to improve site performance, conversion and customer satisfaction.
- The Luxury Group’s e-business teams have recently launched several cross-channel features for specific brands including: online visibility of retail inventory, in-store pickup and online reservation of items in stores. Kering says it has “a host of other features in the pipeline.”
- Kering also is encouraging its brands to experiment with new web technology and share the results with other brands in the group. One pilot is for a new online fitting tool for shoes and apparel.