Farfetch, the UK based e-commerce fashion retailer, as part of its far-fetched ambition in increasing its footprint is contemplating on launching new technology to revolutionize shopping in stores in the next few months, Jose Naves, Portuguese CEO told Reuters in London recently. The online luxury cloth and accessories store has in excess of 700 brands and boutiques worldwide. Back in 2015, Farfetch acquired Browns, the boutique based out of London. The firm now is working on technology that allows customers to flag a wish list of items via their phones when they stroll into a store or even tell assistants that they are not feeling chatty.
Neves who has earlier commenced his business with a shoe brand said Farfetch is trying out such services and will start adapting them for other brands or boutiques. “The plan is to this year start rolling out very selectively to other partners. We think it’s a tremendous opportunity and it’s actually inevitable. Retail shops still operate in the 80s.”
Luxury goods brands including industry leaders such as Louis Vuitton owner LVMH or Gucci parent Kering have recently made increased initiatives to sell their wares online, launching and revamping e-commerce sites for various labels. Cartier owner Richemont last week said it would bid for full control of Farfetch’s larger rival, luxury retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter, as it tries to do more on the web. Unlike Yoox, Farfetch does not have to stock inventory, the report pointed out.
Online business boom
Online sales of high-end products such as shoes, clothing, jewelry, perfumes, and handbags should increase to at least a fifth of the luxury goods market by 2025 from 8% in 2016, quoting consultants McKinsey, the report said.
Expansion of Human Resources
Farfetch doubled its pool of engineers to just under 1,000 between 2016 and 2017 — out of a total staff of 2,000 — and expects that figure to reach around 1,600 this year, with some 90 engineers working on the “store of the future”, up from 60 now, Neves was quoted as saying by the report.
According to the latest available UK filings, Farfetch revenues showed an upward tick of 74% in 2016 to £151.3 million, at the same time the net losses widened to £34 million.
Listing on Cards?
In late 2016 that a flotation could be on the cards in two or three years, while investment banks have recently been pitching to work on a possible US listing, two sources familiar with the matter told the news agency recently. A fundraising round in 2016 valued Farfetch at around $1.5 billion. China’s second-biggest e-commerce site, JD.com, has since invested in and partnered with Farfetch. China is one of Farfetch’s fastest growing markets, Neves added.