INNOVATION DRIVES FASHION FORWARD

|

From “Purveyor to the Court” to Chinese E-commerce: Belgian Fine Leather Luxury Brand Delvaux's Innovation Path

March 30,2020

As a classic European luxury brand with a history of over 190 years and the title of “Purveyor to the Court” since 1883, Delvaux, however, has recently completed its first shocking action in e-commerce in China.

But why chose China to do such an attempt? In an exclusive interview with Luxe.co, Mr. Marco Probst, the Global CEO of Delvaux, said frankly that "After seven years of digging the Chinese market, the team now needs to clean up their ideas in this digital 'frontier position' and consolidate the existing operating foundation. Looking forward to 2020, instead of blindly pursuing store openings, we hope to focus on controlling the omnichannel operations. "

In recent years, Delvaux has actively expanded the global market and settled its first physical store in mainland China in 2013 in Beijing. Today, seven years later, Marco Probst led the team to start a new exploration of brand digitalization.

Delvaux’s Lot with China

According to the report data released recently by Bain & Company, about 90% of the global luxury goods sales increase in 2019 is contributed by Chinese consumers. Chinese luxury consumers are truly "quick learners", full of curiosity, keen to discover luxury brands like Delvaux which relatively niche while having historical charm.

Probst recalled that when the brand first entered the Chinese market, he never expected that young consumers under 30 would buy this 190-year-old handbag brand. Besides surprise, he clearly realized that "Chinese consumers are moving very quickly, technology-driven, and value our passion for the brand."

Probst revealed to Luxe.co that 87% of Delvaux sales were made in overseas markets, and the growth rate in the Chinese market was particularly prominent. He also mentioned that "We are still a very small brand and we don’t want to grow quickly but as respectably as possible

Marco Probst firmly stated in the interview, "I certainly want to contribute to creating a sound foundation for another 190 years and the Chinese market is one of the key points."

 

Where Does the Brand Potential Come from and How to “Explode” It?

The Kingdom of Belgium declared independence in 1830, while the Delvaux was founded one year before that. Such a long history is undoubtedly the biggest intangible wealth of the brand.

In addition, Delvaux is one of the most innovative brands in the global premium leather goods industry. In 1875, Belgium became one of the countries with the highest railway network density in the world. In order to meet the needs of independent women for light travel at that time, Delvaux invented a leather handbag and applied for a design patent for its "La Princesse" handbag in 1908. The luggage manufacturer quickly transformed into the world's first brand to patent a handbag.

In 1933, Franz Schwennicke took over Delvaux, and since then Delvaux has become a high-end luxury brand. With reference to the operation model of high-end fashion, it introduced the concept of seasons for the high-end leather industry for the first time.

In 2019, in order to celebrate the 190th anniversary of the brand, Delvaux established the Musée Delvaux brand museum in its headquarters in Brussels and set up an online tour function for the museum on the official website. At the opening of the museum, the brand also teamed up with the WeChat mini program to launch an online museum viewing event, so that Chinese audiences can also get a live interactive experience.

As brand stories are told and spread in more diverse ways, Delvaux's business potential is constantly being dig and released. China is an important target that cannot be underestimated in the brand's overseas markets. After seven years of deep exploration in the Chinese market, Delvaux has opened 11 independent boutiques in China and has accumulated a group of die-hard fans who view Delvaux as one of Belgium's "national treasures”.

However, Marco Probst is thinking about how to make the brand achieve a greater “explosion” in China. He frankly stated, "One of the major challenges for overseas luxury brands in expanding the Chinese market is how to connect the online and offline channel and present the brand’s DNA to more consumers. Undoubtedly, one obvious flaw of holding offline physical stores only is insufficient coverage. "

On March 5, Delvaux officially corporate with JD.com and opened its first official online flagship store in brand history and took an important step in implementing the multi-channel core strategy in the Chinese market. This move has also caused widespread concern in the luxury industry.

JD.com is China's leading supply chain-based technology and service company as well as the largest online retailer and the biggest Internet company by revenue. Its cutting-edge retail infrastructure enables consumers to buy whatever they want, whenever and wherever they need it. Aa a member of the NASDAQ-100 and a Fortune Global 500 company, JD.com provides technology and infrastructure support for its partners and brands in multiple fields and promotes the improvement and innovation of production efficiency in various industries.

Regarding why Delvaux chose JD.com to make its first try in e-commerce, Marco Probst said, "As digitalization has become the irreversible trend, we are always looking for opportunities to create extraordinary shopping experiences for our customers and strive to provide unique and high-quality services. JD.com is unique because it can guarantee the authenticity of the products and high-end services. We look forward to consolidating this high-quality cooperative relationship while exploring the Chinese e-commerce market. "

Jiang Ke, the President of the International Business Department of JD.com, told Luxe.co that there are large differences among the luxury consumer groups in Europe, America, and China: The luxury consumer groups in Europe and the United States are relatively concentrated in high-income cities, and the brand's official website e-commerce business can basically cover these customers. However, in China, younger luxury consumers particularly dominate the market, the audience is wider, the geographical layout is also relatively scattered, and the low- and mid-tier cities also have many potential luxury customers. In such a market environment, an e-commerce business can better compensate for the lack of offline user contacts for luxury, especially high-end niche, brands.

Jiang Ke introduced that luggage is a relatively standard low-risk product when shopping online and many consumers are first involved in luxury goods by purchasing luggage. As the frequency of consumers buying luxury goods in JD.com increases, their trust in luxury goods purchased through e-commerce will gradually increase, and they will gradually step into higher-priced luxury brands and more diversified luxury goods categories. Even in the unfavorable environment of the current epidemic, the performance of luxury goods as a holiday gift on the platform in February was still remarkable.

At the same time, Jiang Ke pointed out that a copious amount of contacts and users are not what high-end luxury brands pursue. Instead, the focus is on how to use marketing tools to precisely match customers to brands, and "users" is the second advantage JD.com provides to Delvaux.

Taking Delvaux's user portraits as an example, most of its customers are millennials. JD.com uses “JD Shufang”, a buyer asset management platform, to accurately screen users’ characteristics and rely on the 4A model (Aware, Appeal, Act, and Advocate) to build brand awareness step by step, attract users to click web pages and ultimately purchase.

The platform can even assist the brand to “drain” customers to the offline and form a transformation. On the one hand, users can purchase many value-added services in offline stores, such as exclusive ironing services, for products purchased at JD.com. On the other hand, the platform takes VIP users’ shopping “Jingshang value”, a comprehensively calculated score based on the user's behavior in the consumption, active interaction, credit, and reputation in the past 12 months, as an important indicator to analyzes their purchase scale and frequency, and conducts an overall evaluation. Finally, it sends out physical store invitations to selected users to encourage them to experience products and offline services and make users have a deeper understanding of the brand.

In addition, the JD.com platform's authentic licensed concept has also removed the doubts of luxury brands about e-commerce business. The two parties have been in contact since the end of last year and reached a very efficient cooperation agreement. It is also worth noting that all the products in the official flagship store of Delvaux will be in line with the pace in the physical store. The Delvaux Memorable Anniversary collection series, the new spring and summer series of 2020, the Valentine's Day series, and even the limited edition for the Year of the Rat are all currently available on JD.com.

WondeRings, a bag accessories collection launched this year, also breaks the traditional look of classic products. The ring-shaped metal accessories are randomly adorned on the bag handle, which makes the bag full of personality.

"Fluorescent", "Graffiti", etc. The new spring and summer series of 2020 let us see a Delvaux with a little street style. Ms. Christina Zeller, the creative director of the brand, cleverly blends European classic elements such as three-dimensional embroidery with the popular neon fluorescent colors and graffiti patterns and refreshingly reinterprets the classic bags.

Regardless of channels or products, Delvaux's pace of innovation has not slowed down due to its heavy history. Instead, it actively seeks changes and breakthroughs with an open mind.

Marco Probst concludes the interview by saying:

"For the past seven years, Delvaux is like my second home. This is a very strong sense of belonging, but the challenge facing us now is how to pass this emotion to Delvaux's growing 'family members’." Also, “Understanding the local culture is a crucial part of our development and we value the longevity with our customers and with cooperating countries.”

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

*

code