Alibaba Group has taken a minority interest in Ordre, an European online luxury wholesale platform, the companies announced.
Ordre, launched in 2015, allows fashion designers to show off their collections via 360-degree photography and virtual reality to interested wholesale buyers. The technologies make it more convenient for buyers, who aren’t always able to travel due to time and distance constraints, to build inventory each season. The reduced travel will result in lower carbon emissions at a time when sustainability is increasingly important to the industry, said Ordre.
Dianne Von Furstenberg, Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu are among the world’s leading designers who have established digital showrooms on Ordre, the company said. They also work with fashion brands such as Joseph.
For Alibaba, the investment is a further push into the luxury sector, which is among its top strategic priorities, given the rising spending power and increasingly sophisticated tastes of Chinese consumers. The Hangzhou, China-based company plans to leverage Ordre’s technologies for consumers, however, delivering a more-enhanced shopping experience on platforms such as B2C marketplace Tmall.
“Matching Ordre’s technology with Alibaba’s unique data insights and capabilities—of which our recently launched Luxury Pavilion is a great illustration—we can provide our consumers with a personalized and differentiated experience, helping brands develop a deeper engagement with them,” said Jessica Liu, president of Tmall Fashion and Luxury.
The Luxury Pavilion, which lives within Tmall, was launched last August to deliver to China’s high-end consumers the same kind of brand exclusivity and tailored shopping experience online that they would expect at a brick-and-mortar store. About 50 brands, including Burberry, Givenchy, Hugo Boss, La Mer, Maserati, LVMH-owned Guerlain and Zenith, offer products ranging from apparel and cosmetics to watches and luxury cars.