‘We’re a mar­ket­place, we’re in­ven­tory-light’

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE - Far­fetch.com

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en­hanced edi­to­rial plat­form for its watch of­fer­ing, “The Lux­ury Watch Guide”, in­volv­ing ed­u­ca­tional fea­tures, cu­rated content and style ad­vice.

Far­fetch, a “uni­corn” busi­ness – a start-up worth more than US$1 bil­lion – dif­fers from YNAP in that it doesn’t hold stock it­self. In­stead, it acts as an ag­gre­ga­tor of in­ven­tory held across hun­dreds of bou­tiques and brands, and works with lo­cal ful­fil­ment net­works to de­liver goods to more than 190 coun­tries – a po­ten­tially sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage when deal­ing in very high-value items.

“We’re a mar­ket­place, we’re in­ven­tory-light, and that’s per­fect for the hard lux­ury in­dus­try,” says Bel­loli. Net-a-Porter’s new Fine Jewelry & Watch Suite em­pha­sises high-value items such as JaegerLeCoul­tre’s Ren­dez-Vous Tour­bil­lon (£86,000) “We also of­fer up new ge­ogra­phies that they can’t reach with their own mono-brand e-com­merce web­sites.”

The sheer lo­gis­tics of mov­ing high-value in­ven­tory around the world in ac­cept­able e-com­merce time frames have been a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier to moves on­line for high-end watch and jew­ellery brands thus far. So too have as­sump­tions on how will­ing a client will be to spend large sums on prod­ucts they haven’t first picked up or seen in the flesh.

The watch in­dus­try’s in­vest­ment in ver­ti­calised re­tail mod­els over the past decade has also fu­elled a some­what dys­func­tional re­la­tion­ship with the on­line mar­ket­place.

How­ever, Pa­trick Pru­ni­aux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, which is list­ing watches on Far­fetch priced be­tween £5,900 and £43,600, be­lieves that new think­ing is re­quired. Mr Porter’s list­ing of a £355,000 watch by Bell & Ross sug­gests that, price-wise, any­thing is now pos­si­ble. Last year, Net-a-Porter even sold a £65,000 Cartier watch via What­sApp.

“That old be­lief you couldn’t sell ex­pen­sive things on­line has been proven wrong, and I think the price ceil­ing is higher than ev­ery­one thought,” says Pru­ni­aux. “It’s a dif­fer­ent busi­ness model com­pared to tra­di­tional bricks and mor­tar, but it’s a dif­fer­ent kind of client too, and we want to reach them.”

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