Whilst the online fashion retail space is continuing to grow apace, it is equally notable that buying the highest of high fashion is still very much a brick-and-mortar experience. This is entirely understandable given the inherent value of touching and feeling the quality before purchase, as well as the ability to provide luxury experiences in-store. Nevertheless, with the rise of affluence around the world, there are increasing numbers of would-be consumers of high fashion who are unable to buy due to their distance from a retail outlet.
Enter stage right Italist.
Run by Raffaele Giovine and incubated by 500 Startups in Silicon Valley, Italist is a global marketplace for high end Italian boutiques and emerging Italian brands. From beautiful product photos and descriptions through to an online magazine featuring the latest in fashion trends, Italist is able to provide a luxury retail experience to fashion lovers around the world.
We caught up with Raffaele ahead to ask him a few questions about what is top of mind for him early in 2016:
Which big e-commerce challenge/opportunity is front of mind for you going into 2016 and why?
China. The Chinese market is changing fast and due to the new regulatory environment it should be easier to sell in china for international players. China is going to continue to be the largest market for luxury items and it will be the field of the game to get a share of that market, despite its economic slowdown
How will this challenge/opportunity impact your work in the coming year?
The Chinese market remains very specific regarding its advertising channels and the customer interfaces, thus, that market seems to require a local presence and a local partner. I believe a lot of resources and focus are required in order to address it properly.
Who is your e-commerce industry hero and why?
Federico Marchetti the founder of Yoox, the largest reseller of Italian fashion “OLD stocks” from Italian retailers (PAST season items). He started in 1999 an amazing trip when nobody believed that it was possible to sell fashion on line. he grew the company to a market value of ($2,6bn) by maintaining a “no-frills” approach. He was also able to merge with net-a-porter, another large digital player in the fashion world.
Raffaele will be joining us to speak at the E-Commerce Show Asia, running 20th-21st April at Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore.