Chanel set to launch e-commerce in 2016

Wednesday, 01 April 2015
The day that no one thought would arrive has arrived, and some fashionistas might have had heart attacks because of it. Chanel, yes, the Chanel, arguably the most iconic luxury brand in the world, has announced that they will be launching e-commerce in 2016. The move is expected to come sometime  around fourth quarter 2016, according to Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s President of Fashion. Three of the Métiers d’Art companies, owned by Chanel under the Paraffection subsidiary, will be launching e-commerce as well.

Unfortunately, Pavlovsky has declined to offer any specifics to Chanel’s approach to e-commerce, as of yet. When asked if the house will start with single-category or tight-product offerings he merely said it was “much too early” to discuss specifics. He has said that the move needs to be linked with some of the brick-and-mortar boutiques. With New York City home to two of Chanel’s most iconic boutiques, namely the Madison Avenue and Soho boutiques, the American market should have no problem.

While everyone is excited at the prospect that they just might be able to get that 2.55 mm bag online, the primary reason for Chanel’s launch into e-commerce is to grow their Métiers d’Art companies. Due to this, separate e-commerce sites are in the works for glove-maker Cause, milliner Maison Michel, and cashmere house Barrie Knitwear. Michel and Barrie currently have boutiques in London and Paris, while Causse has one shop in Paris.

With e-commerce, these brands will have the power to reach shoppers globally. Pavlovsky has argued that this is nothing really new for Chanel though, but, rather, just a next step in Chanel’s growth. “It’s not so much a shift. It’s an evolution to better serve our customers. Some of the customers are able to come into the boutique. Sometimes they don’t want to because they want to go faster and they know exactly what they want, so it should be able to better respond to the customers’ requests. So it’s more e-service than a pure e-commerce approach,” Pavlovsky said to Women’s Wear Daily. Whatever the reason, fashion lovers can now rejoice at the possibility of having Chanel delivered by your friendly postman, a dream that long seemed like it would never be a reality due to the exclusive culture of luxury brands.

Where Chanel is set to welcome e-commerce, other brands like Céline have said it diminishes the exclusive culture of their brand. With all due respect, a 3,000 dollar plus price tag for a brand is still pretty exclusive. Hopefully Chanel will pave the way for more Parisian luxury fashion houses to follow suit with e-commerce.

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