Kering boosts group digital capabilities, ends alliance with YNAP
Kering is amping up its digital capabilities. The French luxury group led by François-Henri Pinault has announced a series of initiatives to “strengthen its omni-channel resources and push the development of its labels’ digital operations even further.” Kering’s new efforts follow in the wake of the appointment of Grégory Boutté as the group’s chief client and digital officer at the end of 2017.
E-tail is Kering’s fastest growing distribution channel - worth 6% of the group’s total sales from directly controlled channels in the first half of 2018 - and the luxury group has decided to internalise its labels’ e-commerce operations, which until now were run by a joint-venture company set up in 2012 with the Yoox Net-A-Porter group. Kering had a 51% stake in the company, the remaining 49% being held by Yoox, which in 2015 became YNAP after merging with Net-à-Porter, turning into a fashion/luxury e-tail giant now controlled by Richemont.
“After a rewarding seven-year partnership with YNAP, which fulfilled its objectives, e-commerce operations will be transferred to Kering in the first half of 2020,” wrote the group in a press release, further stating that it “will continue to develop partnerships with external e-commerce sites when they will prove to be relevant.”
“We will continue to work with YNAP after the transition, keeping up our fruitful relationship,” said Boutté. As for some of the Kering labels’ other e-tail partnerships, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga struck a deal this year with Toplife, JD.com’s luxury web marketplace, to launch their e-tail presence in China.
Kering has also struck a major deal with Apple to deploy various apps for the luxury group's labels’ retail staff, designed to improve the customers’ shopping experience. The first app enables the sales assistants to view inventory levels in real time, to check whether a specific size or colour is available in-store, or if it can be ordered at another store.
The app also enables the sales staff to make personalised style suggestions. It has been adopted by two thirds of the Kering group's fashion and leather goods brands, and it is currently used by 6,500 sales assistants worldwide every day. The group is also working with Apple on improving its customers’ in-store experience by using cutting-edge technology, for example for the payment phase.
Still with the goal of improving customer service by offering consumers a personalised experience, Kering has created ad hoc departments working with pooled digital resources in Europe and the USA for Gucci, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta, while a centralised customer service team has been set up for the group’s other labels, operated directly by Kering.
The luxury giant is about to test new CRM tools as part of various pilot projects focusing on digital data collection and analysis. Also, the group mentioned in its press release that “all the Kering labels have launched, or are about to launch, mini WeChat programmes, in order to build as close a relationship as possible with their Chinese customers, offering social commerce opportunities.” A Client & Digital team is being set up in China to adapt digital tools to the local market and to find interesting innovations there, in order to then export them worldwide.
Finally, a data science team has been created at the group level, “to use the available data in the best way possible and improve the service provided to our labels’ customers.” A Group Innovation team has also been set up, to accelerate the group’s innovation-oriented cultural revolution, while considering “potential future scenarios in the commercial and sustainable developments fields.”
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