What began as an adventure is now starting to look like a huge power of control. Italian fashion retailer Yoox.com runs online stores in Europe, North America and Japan, with a global average of 5.9 million monthly unique visitors. Of course it is not easy to reach this number of visitors, but should amount of visitors be the only barometer for increasing its online sales for Yoox?
As the formerly Turkish online editor, and brand manager for Vogue Turkey, Barış Cakmakçı mentioned on his personal Twitter account during last months a very interesting article about Yoox on New Yorker. The article explains the key elements how Federico Marchetti started their business first when Italy was not prepared to e-commerce and how they combine fashion and internet together with a great passion.
Federico Marchetti, the forty-three-year-old founder and C.E.O. of the Yoox Group, launched in June, 2000. When he founded Yoox.com, the online website of discounted high-end clothes and accessories, helping fashion labels navigate the Internet’s risky waters.
In 2006 Mr. Marchetti convinced Italian label Marni to create an independent online store, Marni.com. Many others soon followed. Recently Valentino, Marni and Dolce & Gabbana renewed their five-year contracts with the group.
The Yoox Group, had reached total revenues of more than 210 million dollars in 2009, and went public.
As a result, Yoox not only increases the amount of visitors but also the revenues and the amount of brands they have in their website. Truly, this is not something very easy to achieve. Because, these labels we see on the website are the most important luxury brands in the fashion world. Especially, in the begining of the website's foundation, it must have been so hard for Marchetti to gather all these Italian brands together. First of all in that period in 2000's, traditionally Milanese fashion industry, which was initially dismissive of the Internet, it was totally afraid of trying something new, especially online. It had so many risks. As Marchetti says “They were scared that their brand was going to be presented in a way that was worse than in a physical retail store. And it was less beautiful online; there was less focus on quality, it was much slower. You cannot have a brand that has a beautiful store on Fifth Avenue or Via Montenapoleone and has a terrible online store.”
Moreover, the French luxury group PPR run by François-Henri Pinault, recently offered a partnership with Yoox to power the online stores for most of its top brands. It’s the first time that a big luxury group has admitted they could benefit from outside help online.
The last time a luxury group made such a big investment in online was in 2010, when Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. bought Net-a-Porter in a deal with 350 million pounds.
But what is it so special about Yoox that is making it so appealing and different form its competitors like Net-a-Porter and Gilt? The first thing is it has an Italian DNA unlike the British “Net-a-Porter “ and the American website “Gilt” which brings the the advantage of flexibility with complexity and aesthetic calling. Other insight is going against the current, challenging the rules and being innovative, they are continously rennovating the website collaborating with the designers and their collections only for Yoox. For example recently, Delfina Delletrez has collaborated with the site with a capsule collection.
Unlike other online retailers the content of the website is amazing, you can find style tips, horoscopes, etc. In addition, Yoox Group is also the first of the sector to enter the Chinese market. Before the luxury multinationals, before the Americans, before everyone. Two years after entering the China market, Yoox is launching a Chinese version of the company’s flagship multi-brand online store Yoox.com. The Chinese site, features capsule collections as well as end-of-season clothing and accessories from top designers worldwide and in my opinion the site is so localized that brings the customers the best shopping experience.
Most importantly, they are now integrating their website with art and design including news. This is also a first from an online retailer but I am sure it won't be the last. Yoox recently started selling contemporary design pieces by the likes of Achille Castiglioni and Philippe Starck, proving Marchetti’s affection for art and design.
Admittedly, the company knows how to combine two elements that seemed contrasting: the web and fashion. On the one hand communication with no limit, on the other exclusivity. All I can say is that the Italians know their job the best!