Two weeks after Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Tmall launched its Luxury Pavilion, it has scored a major accessible luxury name with the launch of Furla’s official Tmall flagship.
The Italian leather goods brand joined names like Burberry and LVMH’s Tag Heuer as it opened its official Tmall flagship store today, offering promotions including a presale of nine bags for the August 28 Qixi Festival. It will also be holding additional promotions for the holiday and will later release two Tmall-exclusive items on September 21.
Furla falls in the “challenged” category in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China report, but received substantial buzz for one digital move: partnering with duty-free retailers to let Chinese consumers buy a special-edition item for in-store pickup. Chinese media outlets referred to the brand as a “dark horse” in China’s luxury industry when it launched on Tmall ahead of accessible luxury rivals such as Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
Tmall is currently locked in a battle with B2C rival JD.com to win over luxury labels. According to a Wall Street Journal report today, JD.com plans to open its own luxury platform to compete with the Tmall Luxury Pavilion that opened on August 1. In June, JD.com bought a $397 million stake in Farfetch not long after unveiling a luxury white-glove delivery service. Tmall remains ahead of JD.com for official luxury brand flagship stores, with 24% of Index luxury brands on Tmall in 2017 and 10% on JD.com. As luxury conglomerate LVMH adds more brands to Tmall, its leather goods brands Loewe recently announced that it will also be selling on Tmall for the Qixi Festival by hosting a pop-up shop on the Luxury Pavilion.
The new Furla shop is a win for Alibaba as it has faced challenges in its effort to attract luxury brands, grappling with controversies over counterfeits on its platforms last year. Last year, Furla’s accessible competitor Coach closed its Tmall shop, causing the number of fashion labels on Tmall to drop to 20% in 2017 from 23% in 2016 (among brands indexed in the past four years). The announcement of the Luxury Pavilion was followed by the launch of its new counterfeit-fighting task force with conglomerate Kering on August 3. The e-tailer has typically had more luck with premium beauty brands than with luxury labels, but accessible fashion appears to be warming to the site: Polo Ralph Lauren is also currently in soft launch on the platform and will officially launch on August 21.