MILAN, July 22(Reuters) - Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani has struck a deal with online retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) to better integrate the luxury group’s e-commerce site with its network of physical stores, the two companies said on Wednesday.
The two groups have cooperated for 20 years and Armani’s main online store, Armani.com, was designed and is already managed by YNAP, now owned by Cartier maker Richemont.
The new “Next Era” partnership, which runs until 2025, will offer Armani customers access to all available products on online and offline channels, and full integration is expected in 2022.
“An additional benefit is the reduction of waste...it helps avoid ‘false sold-outs’ and eliminates product being left unsold due to siloed stock inventories in separate locations,” YNAP President and CEO Federico Marchetti told Reuters.
Luxury brands have been late to embrace e-commerce, and the digital channel accounted for just 12% of sales last year but is expected to rise to 29-30% by 2025, according to consultancy Bain.
The coronavirus pandemic, which forced brands to shut shops and idle manufacturing sites, has accelerated efforts by high-end houses to increase and improve their online distribution channel alongside brick-and-mortar stores in a so-called “phygital” strategy.
Armani said physical shops would continue to play a vital role for luxury sales but that a majority of customers were now first looking at products online before trying them on and buying them in stores - so the two channels could strengthen each other. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi Editing by Alexandra Hudson)