In the very competitive world of fashion and luxury, joining forces to create empowering synergies is one of the best ways to enjoy continued success.
Both Secoo and Luisa Via Roma are key players in the e-commerce business of fashion and luxury, but thus far they have been focused on different markets. Each are particular in their individual stories, yet are aligned in terms of objectives and expectations. Moreover, in this project they represent how different cultures and business mindsets can share a common project.
The masterminds of this partnership are two Italians living at opposite ends of the planet. Federica Marchionni, based in China, is Secoo International CEO and Group CSO where she is leading operations to further strengthen the positioning of Secoo in China as an iconic multi-platform, and boost its international expansion.
Andrea Panconesi lives in Florence. He is the founder of Luisa Via Roma and he developed the business of a fashion “brick-and-mortar” store and took it to an unprecedented level thanks to the launch of its e-commerce platform in 1999, well before many other brands and online companies.
When two visionaries meet, the result can be an authentic partnership based on common ground: luxury. They opened up to Luxury Society about this project and more.
Federica Marchionni highlighted the successful development of the company she manages and some key success factors.
"Secoo is actually the largest platform focused on premium offering," she says. "In the fiscal year 2018, our average order value was approximately $509 USD and we had 730,000 active customers who shopped at Secoo for premium products. Secoo continues its efforts to diversify and curate its boutique lifestyle portfolio to meet the increasing demand in luxury and fashion lifestyle. We offer much more than fashion as we are in different industries serving consumers who want a premium lifestyle, including travel and art. Our ecosystem is getting stronger by making new partnerships with different companies to keep growing our customer base".
The Chinese e-commerce company was founded in 2008 by Richard Rixue Li and in a little more than 10 years, it has become known as one of the most reliable luxury platforms in China.
Luisa Via Roma demonstrates excellence in terms of business evolution. Created at the beginning of the last century as a hat shop in the heart of one of the most beautiful and artistic sites of the world, the Italian city of Florence, it became a go-to place for finding what's cool in fashion after Andrea Panconesi (nephew of the founders) took the helm of the business. Thanks to his relentless curiosity and spirit of innovation, the company started to introduce inventive brands such as Kenzo that were unknown in a very traditional business unused to industrial fashion.
In 1999, he decided to integrate the brick-and-mortar business with that of e-commerce. Luisa Via Roma today is a key luxury e-business player in the western world.
"I started in 1999 when there was no existing infrastructure to create businesses online in Italy, and I involved IT professionals from the University of Pisa, who made incredible efforts writing the software," Andrea Panconesi underlines.
It was a very innovative and disruptive idea that was developed into one of the most successful projects in the industry.
"The reason for Luisa Via Roma’s success is the point of view-- our unique point of view in the fashion universe and our will to take a position thanks to the editing of the collections of the brands we sell. Our customers have strong personality and in Luisa Via Roma they look for specific fashion proposals".
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The recently signed partnership will go live in mid-June. Luisa Via Roma has selected 600 luxury and fashion brands and very specific items from them, meaning that customers will have a specifically curated selection of luxury products to choose from. Moreover, they will enjoy excellence in terms of services from Italy and Secoo’s technologies in mobile payment and order tracking. Their logistics-advanced platform will support and favor the growth of the business providing all the state-of-the-art tools Chinese customers are accustomed to adopting for online purchases.
Secoo is second to none in terms of technical platform and services to the final client. Federica Marchionni focuses her attention especially on these technical issues. In a curated environment, app customers can choose among more than 3,000 brands and 300,000 SKUs. The 27 million registered users continue to grow organically year after year. And with the brand’s loyalty program, customers continue to increase spending consistently.
“We are creating by constantly engaging with our consumers and offering new and distinctive services; our partnerships, which are growing in China and internationally. Luisa Via Roma is a great example,” Marchionni adds. “It's a win-win situation. While Luisa Via Roma will enhance its brand awareness in China, Secoo will strengthen its luxury brand connection. They are both focused on giving Chinese consumers the best products and services. We are both authentic and committed to building the trust of the consumers and to the brands. While Luisa Via Roma will get through Secoo the trust with Chinese consumers through us, we will establish more ground with the brands expanding their business in China."
Andrea Panconesi, the “innovation driver”, clearly never stops and he is convinced that collaboration is key in the fashion and luxury industry at all levels. The concept of collaboration is, according to Panconesi, made even clearer if we consider the concept of "sharing." From co-branding projects to e-business partnership with Secoo with other areas of interest such as the Firenze4ever project that enabled Luisa Via Roma to become the leader (in terms of meaningful involvement) of influencers in the interpretation of products selected by the online retailer, the concept of working together comes up as one of the key success factors of the story of Luisa Via Roma.
And this will open the way to upcoming projects such as the fashion show with a collection of items (90 looks) edited by Carine Roitfeld for Luisa Via Roma that will take place on June 13th in one of the most breath-taking sites in Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo, alongside a Lenny Kravitz concert.
"The most creative energy is produced by exchange of views," says Andrea Panconesi. "Partnering with Secoo is the best opportunity to work by sharing the same values of quality and selection of the products offered. Our customers don't want to find the widest selection ever, but the best choice of fashion and luxury of the moment. Luisa Via Roma is a specialty multi-brand store-- the average visiting time on our site is three minutes. And to conquer the customer in such a very short time, one needs to offer the best, selected products".
This partnership also guarantees the authenticity of the products offered and purchased to the end customer, and this is an added value that not many competitors of both companies can guarantee. "The fact of being an Italian brand is enhanced by the appreciation of the Made in Italy trademark that is widely spread at a global level" says Andrea Panconesi.
Italy is the common ground of this agreement. Marchionni adds that Italy is loved by the Chinese as they also truly appreciate the value of quality craftmanship.
"I couldn't be prouder to connect SECOO with an example of Italian excellence as Luisa Via Roma was able to create so many years ago,” she says.
When China meets Italy on a global stage with such visionary brands and key players, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit.
Image courtesy: Secoo/Facebook.