Armani and YNAP unveil "distribution model for the future"
It builds on the relationship the two firms have had over the past 20 years with YNAP’s third-party unit having been the long-time operator and manager of Armani’s own webstore.
The companies said this is a “Next Era” deal that’s initially set to run until 2025 with full integration between the physical and the digital to complete in 2022, although benefits will start to be seen next year. It will mean Armani shoppers will be able to access products seamlessly through both online and offline channels.
It’s a major coup for YNAP as it goes against the widespread belief that larger companies would eventually bring their e-tail operations in-house, even if they started successfully with a specialist partner.
For Armani, the logic is clear as its relationship with YNAP appears to have been a fruitful one for many years.
Maximising the opportunities available through online and offline working closely together has been a key aim for labels at all price levels for some time. But it has been made even more important by the pandemic as consumers turned online for their shopping wants and needs and companies found that store stock and website stock often didn’t work as well together as they should have done.
Armani and YNAP said their new partnership has many benefits, including 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.
The new deal also comes as the luxury sector realises that it has been behind the curve regarding online shopping with the channel making up just 12% of sales in 2019, well behind the numbers quoted by many mass- and middle-market retailers.
YNAP said on Wednesday that “in the current context, and becoming even more apparent following Covid 19, the fashion system must be redesigned, with technology powering a more innovative approach. Technology can enable a direct and personal relationship with the customer, build an understanding of their expectations and provide the widest possibility of choice by integrating physical boutiques and virtual stores”.
The practical details are that orders will be processed through the YNAP distribution network, as well as from distribution centres and Armani boutiques. “Using technology, customers will have full visibility of the season’s entire collections, enabling them to view a wider assortment and shop all available products, whether they are stocked in boutiques or online,” the e-tailer said.
Giorgio Armani himself added: “In the past few months, I have been redesigning the Armani Group’s business model based on a concept that is very dear to me: do less, but better. Mine is an invitation to consume more responsibly, focusing on authenticity and change. In Yoox Net-A-Porter I’ve found a partner that allows me to transform this principle in a new multi-channel shopping project where the relationship with the customer is increasingly personal and direct, while e-commerce and boutiques are integrated in a dynamic balance, which will have a positive effect, also on the environment.”
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