As part of its new partnership with the luxury marketplace Farfetch, Burberry is picking up the pace of its see-now-buy-now business model.
Technology developed by Burberry has been integrated to the Farfetch operating system, allowing the brand’s entire global inventory to be available through an e-commerce platform. This means Burberry will be able to ship and deliver orders as they’re placed during Saturday’s in-season runway show to shoppers in the London area. The “Show to Door” program promises that any orders purchased from the runway within the first 24 hours will be delivered in 90 minutes or less. Available to order is a capsule collection from the runway, including the rainbow-check trench designed in support of LGBTQ rights and a selection of bags exclusive to Farfetch customers.
It’s a logistical upgrade for a model that’s failed to change the way people see and shop runway collections at scale. By giving customers incentive to buy immediately after seeing the show, Burberry, one of the few brands that has implemented a see-now-buy-now model since 2016 (others include Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren), is driving a sense of urgency around the runway show — one that was thought to have existed already.
“It’s a smart strategy, but, isn’t the see-now-buy-now proposition based on the idea that runway shows inherently drive urgency?” said Exane BNP Paribas’ head of luxury goods, Luca Solca, in an email.
Burberry is also looking to push forward the success it’s seen so far with the in-season model by pushing the purchase of a capsule collection of accessible products, rather than the core runway collection itself.
“Driving fashion revenue is a collection of commercial, non-runway products that carry the show’s theme and arrive online and in store at the same time,” Bailey told investors during an earnings call in 2017, after the brand had hosted four in-season runway shows. “This enables more customers to buy into the show at a wider range of price points and styles.”
It’s an approach similar to Tommy Hilfiger’s — building a see-now-buy-now strategy around its lower-priced Gigi Hadid collections — and further demonstrates that true luxury items aren’t meant to be picked off the runway as soon as they’re seen, said Solca.
In addition to the “Show to Door” initiative, Burberry has incorporated its own inventory management technology into the Farfetch API, a first for the marketplace. Burberry announced that, by working with Farfetch, it can now ship to 150 countries and offer customers a new level of “inventory transparency and flexibility.”
Details on what that means for Burberry customers are still unclear, and neither companies would provide further comment on the operation. But the decision to partner with Farfetch is the latest move in an ongoing brand restructuring that was launched in 2016. Part of that plan to right ship included separating out the accessible Burberry goods from the luxury-priced ones, which meant raising prices for its higher-end items like leather handbags and adding capsule collections throughout the year. The “Show to Door” program, then, is part of the plan to drive the more immediate purchase of a runway-adjacent capsule collection.
“We’re changing the velocity and the continuous engagement with customers because they don’t expect to see two collections a year. They want to find novelty very often,” said CEO Marco Gobetti, on a November call with investors. “Our aim is to increase frequency with delivery: We will look to collections that are more edited, but more frequent, as well as more capsules and product initiatives, almost always with a direct-to-consumer approach, because this is fundamental.”