PrinceOliver: Harnessing the potential of ecommerce
Being a fashion trendsetter for the wealthy and famous is no small feat. But that’s the position LuisaViaRoma now enjoys after humble beginnings in 1929 as a hat shop in Florence, Italy. Known for its “total look experience” and ability to curate iconic designer pieces, LuisaViaRoma (LVR for short) is a luxury retailer unlike any other.
Initially a milliner, and then a merchant of its own collection, LVR saw early on the potential of offering other fashion brands in its store.
“We started putting the name of the brands on the windows,” says Nicola Antonelli, CMO at LuisaViaRoma. “Now, it seems like something quite standard, but at that time we were the first that started giving this kind of exposure to the brand.”
Today, the retailer sells the most prestigious brands to fashionistas across the globe. Beyond that, LVR has created a brand name for itself, as a trusted and sought out source of “must-have” fashion.
LVR is a privately held company in online luxury fashion, which is not always an enviable position. Their competitors have big investors and big wallets that allow them to spend heavily on marketing and be very aggressive with their pricing strategies.
Despite this competition, LVR has succeeded, thanks to a unique brand story, unparalleled service, and a keen eye for the “next big thing”, both in fashion and in business.
In 1999, LuisaViaRoma was one of the early adopters of the internet, and one of the first companies in Italy to sell online. In 2008, long before ecommerce became the juggernaut it is today, LVR switched its business model to focus on digital first.
Antonelli explains, “In 2008, we started moving the investments to digital. We started with 10, 12 people at that time, and last year we had two hundred people and 130 million in revenue, 90% from the online store.”
One of the key differentiators for LVR is the high-level curated experience they offer, that can’t be found anywhere else.
“A lot of customers call us or write to us, telling us, okay guys, I have a special dinner, I have a ceremony, I have a wedding, can you help me in building my total look? And that’s our main goal, not just selling products. Our main goal is to select the right things and to mix them together, offering a really cool total look to our customers.”
LuisaViaRoma customers want to be the first to wear an item, or discover a new trend or new designer. And LVR’s team of buyers makes that possible.
“We are not just a retailer of stuff. We are selling dreams to our customers,” says Antonelli. “You have to consider us as a fashion consultant, not a fashion store. If you see something in our store, you can be sure that this piece or these pieces will be worn by someone that counts in the fashion field, or in the music field, etc.”
The “total look experience” of LuisaViaRoma doesn’t end online or at the store, either. They’ve shipped items to a yacht in Iceland, or to a lodge in the Alps. No request is too out there.
Finding new customers in the highly competitive world of fashion is a cost-intensive process. And acquisition costs have been growing steeply thanks to competition from large, publicly-traded competitors with big budgets.
To make their acquisition costs worth it, LVR needed a strategy to ensure that visitors ultimately became customers. To help with this, they partnered with Criteo to launch retargeting campaigns in their top markets around the world.
“Keeping the relationship with the user and trying to transform a user into a customer is really, really important. And with Criteo, we are doing a good job in terms of this transforming process.”
–Nicola Antonelli, CMO, LuisaViaRoma
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