Are Flash Sales players fit for purpose to run Luxury Brands’ E-Commerce operations?

Would you delegate your online business to VENTE-PRIVEE? E-Commerce delegation is certainly ‘hot property’ at the moment, and there are good players around (YOOX, THE OTHER STORE…) who seem to make a difference. It is about retailing, and understanding Customers and Brands.. Is it an institutionalised and sustainable trend?

Back in 2010, I was intrigued when I heard that some major players in the Flash/Private sales arena were planning a move into offering E-Commerce services to Luxury Brands.
In essence, they would ‘rent’ their powerful logistics platform, content/media production capability and leverage their database and offer Luxury, Fashion and Lifestyle brands to run their entire E-Commerce Operations. But it did not make sense to me to be a brand and to delegate your direct channel.. wouldn’t it defy the purpose of ‘going direct’?

I understand that at certain stages of their evolution Brands may want to rely on a solid partner to place their online operation under intensive care and grow it sustainably. And, again, there are good players around, who understand retail and luxury.

But the Flash/Private sales players do not seem to tick the right boxes, or do they?

And now that it is official – at least for a leading player, VENTE-PRIVEE – I wonder if they come from the right background and if they have the right skills:
– Do they understand Luxury, and the Customer of Luxury Brands? Do they get exclusivity and Brand Content?

– Are they Retailers? Can they plan accordingly? Do they understand merchandising and the subtlety of selling on added value, in time and not on price?

– Are they real marketers?  I never noticed any kind of personalisation or segmentation in their communications so far.. can they engage in a conversation with customers? Where is their CRM and Customer Relations expertise beyond tracking deliveries?

– And Technically.. they are all about robustness and keeping the site ‘up’ – which is essential – but not about flexibility. They have not shown any experience in creating a real Branded Shopping Experience

Some brands have signed up, and I am impatient to look at the results and the numbers.

Many questions, many doubts.. I know. Retail requires skills and expertise, and I wonder.. Looking forward to your thoughts on this one!

Alexandre Meerson is an E-Commerce consultant expert in Cross-channel Retail for global Luxury & Lifestyle Brands. His consultancy – ‘La Boutique de Luxe’ – helps Brands deliver Commercial Innovation and Change through superb Customer Experience, Digital Marketing & International Distribution.
The founder and curator of the Digital Luxury Brands online networking group, Alexandre constantly researches ways to combine Brand Experience with Product Knowledge and Hard Working E-Commerce to generate sustainable revenue, profit and customer loyalty.
Alexandre heads up ‘La Boutique de Luxe’, a specialized multichannel marketing and sales consulting firm. His unique blend of experiences on behalf of prestigious Luxury & Lifestyle Brands and recognized B2B Businesses places him in a strong position to share his expertise in the fields that underpin successful online retail and business transformation.