Despite the fact that China is a crucial market for the luxury industry, more than half of global luxury brands still lack a local online shop. Kering-owned mega-label Gucci finally expanded its DTC offering to China this week, placing it among the ranks of early adopters.
E-commerce went live on the luxury brand’s China site on July 3, featuring its complete line of accessories, clothes, and jewelry. While it’s not the first brand to offer DTC in China, it’s still ahead of the curve. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China finds that although the percentage of Index brands with China DTC e-commerce in the Fashion category doubled from 2014 to 2017, the rate still remains at only 43% among those benchmarked since 2014.
For functionality, the brand will offer customer service via live chat—a feature which only 19% of all Fashion brands have on their China sites. Payment methods will include both Alipay and WeChat Pay, and shipping will come from a domestic warehouse to increase delivery speed.
While DTC adoption is still limited among Fashion brands in China, 91% have a China e-commerce presence when counting international e-tailers like Farfetch, Yoox, and Net-a-Porter as well as WeChat shops. Gucci has embraced these e-tailers internationally, partnering with Farfetch for a 90-minute delivery service in 10 cities across the world, including New York, Paris, and Tokyo. While this service has not been launched in China, Chinese e-tailer JD.com’s recently announced partnership with Farfetch means that items sold by Farfetch will go through JD.com’s delivery system, which features the newly launched white-glove delivery service, same-day delivery, and in-store pickup for participating brand partners.
Gucci’s online China shop launch comes after the brand already offered e-commerce in multiple markets across the world, including the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Nonetheless, China is one of the brand’s most important markets: the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan made up 38% of Gucci’s total revenue as of Q1 2017, while Gucci saw 51.4% global growth during this time period. This increase was attributed mainly to China’s domestic luxury market rebound and global online sales, making it clear that the time was ripe for the brand’s new online shop in the country.