China’s largest B2C e-tailer Tmall has scored another win for its luxury business as Chanel Beauty is set to launch on the platform on July 5th.
According to data from Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty China 2019, Chanel was one of the last beauty holdouts not selling officially on the Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform. It will join the 86% of tracked premium beauty brands already operating a Tmall flagship, including other French fashion house-associated brands like YSL Beauty and Givenchy Beauty.
Tmall has ramped up its online luxury shopping experience over the years, adding its Luxury Pavilion section in 2017 and announcing a partnership with Net-a-Porter last fall. It has been adding updates to the Luxury Pavilion including multimedia content and its Maison section to spotlight brands. 32% of premium beauty brands are sold through Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion according to Gartner L2’s report on the topic.
Chanel’s fashion, however, is another story when it comes to e-commerce. Known for fiercely guarding its exclusivity, the brand’s president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky stated in April that Chanel does not have immediate plans to sell online, including via its own site. He stressed the importance for customers to have a physical store experience in order to “see and touch and talk about the product. Chanel is not just a click [where] you don’t see the product, you cannot touch.” Once common among luxury brands, this attitude is becoming increasingly rare. Even previously digitally averse Celine has now launched Asia e-commerce, for example.
Opening their own flagship on Tmall allows brands to create an official alternative to third-party sellers. Dior Beauty does not sell on the platform, but its lipstick sold by third-party sellers has high visibility on Tmall search results. Other benefits for brands joining Tmall include exposure to a wide consumer base, access to data, and digital marketing tools like multimedia and advertising.
Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China 2019 found that Chanel has already been active on Tmall to market an offline event: it advertised is Shanghai Mademoiselle Privé exhibition on the Tmall mobile app and offered a Tmall Club special session for visitors after Tmall sponsored the exhibition.