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Fashion is not downloadable, which makes it very different from movies or music.
So, three key facts: number one, digital is completely influencing consumer behaviour and the creation of desire; number two, online is growing much faster than offline; but three, offline is still — and will be — where the vast majority of transactions take place. It’s really about creating the luxury experience of the future. From the very start, we essentially connected physical inventory to a digital platform. Then we launched more omnichannel propositions, like same-day delivery in 10 cities, click and collect in store.
LONDON, United Kingdom — In a brick-walled basement in Hackney, amidst rails hung with Balenciaga and clusters of technology developers, “The Store of the Future” was almost ready.
Here, billion-dollar fashion “unicorn” has been staging a test run of the tech-powered retail experience the company is set to unveil later today at the debut Farfetch OS conference at London’s new Design Museum in a move that further extends the platform into physical stores.
And though Farfetch is not yet profitable (market reports suggest it lost around million last year), it surpassed gross sales of 0 million in 2016, up 60 percent from 2015, with estimated annual revenues in the region of 0 million.
Although digital is already influencing most consumption behaviour — and that’s where the eyeballs are; it’s the new TV, it’s the new print, it’s the new everything — when it comes to actually purchasing fashion, there will be a plateau in online sales.
The disconnected store — as opposed to the connected store — won’t be around. And the biggest evidence of this is actually Farfetch itself, because once we connect a boutique to the platform, we account for about 45 percent of sales.
We’re like Open Table for boutiques — they know every empty table, we know every shoe that is sitting on every shelf unsold.
The Store of the Future is the next step, using the physical store as a service point.
It’s post-omnichannel, or what we call “augmented retail.” The physical store is going to survive and is going to remain the centre-stage of shopping, but it’s not going to be a physical store as it exists today.