On Tuesday, French fashion house Céline kicked off e-commerce with the relaunch of Celine.com in France. The move is one of many this year aiding Céline’s clear mission to make up for lost time. In February, it joined Instagram, and it opened a WeChat account last month.
Here’s how the new site stacks up.
Ever since Céline started to warm up to digital, with the hire of CEO Séverine Merle in April, it has been reported that the luxury brand will launch e-commerce by the end of 2017. Mission: somewhat accomplished. This week, it flipped the switch on its French site, allowing shoppers “in France, Corsica and Monaco” (the available shipping destinations, as stated on Celine.com) to shop pieces from its latest ready-to-wear and accessories collections through the now-standard process of adding to cart. Shoppers in Europe and the U.S., however, will have to wait until 2018 to take advantage, and Japanese shoppers will need to hold tight until 2019.
To note: Céline’s extreme tardiness to the digital landscape — even compared to fellow, slow-to-evolve luxury brands (it was the last LVMH brand to go there) — also factored into this grade.
A screen shot of the new Celine.com
In February, when Céline launched its now-popular Instagram account (it boasts more than 640,000 followers), many were surprised by the look and feel of its posts, which together have been described as “lo-fi” and “tongue-in-cheek.” Céline’s e-commerce site, on the other hand, reflects the sleek, minimalist aesthetic for which the brand is known. No surprises here — in a good way.
Shopping experience: B
Yes, it’s likely an intentional play to retain some level of exclusivity, but the site was not equipped to fulfill even Day 1’s orders. Multiple sizes of several styles are already sold out, and the only way to shop a number of pieces is to opt to “Be warned” (as translated from French) when the item is again made available. Ease of navigation and checkout, check. Available “it” items, fail.
Customer service: B
Considering Céline is owned by LVMH, which is behind the recently launched, bells-and-whistles-heavy 24 Sèvres (think: personal shoppers and style bots), luxury shoppers likely expected more — but the services offered to Celine.com shoppers are, at minimum, on par with that of other luxury sites: Shoppers can buy online and pick-up in store, and return online orders in store. What’s more, they can request in-store shopping appointments through the site and schedule a carrier to pick up returns from their home.
And, as a just-in-case service — that is, just in case Céline’s customers are as late to e-commerce as Céline — the site provides detailed instructions on “how to order on the internet,” including how to use the search menu and choose your preferred color and size of featured styles.