LVMH to discuss online opportunities with Amazon
Ravi Thakran, group president of LVMH South & Southeast Asia and Middle East, revealed at the World Retail Congress today that he is meeting with Amazon to discuss opportunities to sell luxury brands online, despite strong resistance to digital within the corporation and the wider luxury sector.
Thakran believes a digital interface is a must for luxury brands. “E-commerce is not a fringe channel, it’s a mainstream channel and [luxury brands] can provide as good a service in the channel, we’ve just got to find the right way. If not, certainly we’re going to leave a lot of money on the table.”
He also told delegates that the Chinese market has changed dramatically in the last five years. “The market is changing very, very fast. I think the Chinese customer today at the same level of affluence in Europe or America is much more educated. They know everything about the latest products, you cannot launch in China later than others or with much [price] differential. You cannot, therefore, treat that customer differently; you’ve got to treat Chinese customers the same, if not better,” he said.
When quizzed on why luxury brands have so far failed to crack India, Thakran said brands need to ‘Indianise’ their products. He said: “LVMH brands are not luxury enough for India. If you want to show money, a women would rather wear an Indian sari that costs $20,000. But it was a very good market for luxury in the past. If you look at Cartier’s sales from the 1920s and ‘30s, almost 33% was to India because they had Indianised their products like the Tutti Frutti necklace.
“If you have a product that is focused on the middle classes, if it is good and the pricing is right, India can be a huge play for you. But again you can’t depend. on bricks and mortar – you’ve got to marry the e-commerce platform because in India it is going to be rising in a big way,” he added.