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Italy|EC Expansion in Asia: LUISAVIAROMA Interview With Nicola Antonelli

Aug 31, 2018.Stephanie WuTokyo, JP
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LuisaViaRoma founded in Florence in the early 1930s is a privately owned family business that started with the company’s concept store on Via Roma. Since it’s EC opening in 1999, the Florentine store has become on of the most famous EC fashion mall made in Italy attributing to 90% of total revenue offering a wide selection in apparel, bags, accessories, luxury home interiors and beauty. LuisaViaRoma.com operates in 9 languages while pushing the boundaries in luxury retail landscape both on and offline with an array of exclusive services and trademark initiatives. To discuss how the store will initiate as a global fashion e-commerce player in Asia, we asked Web Project Manager with over 18 years of experience, Nicola Antonelli, in charge of the global marketing strategy and a participant in the creation of the site.


How do you position yourself amongst other EC platforms such as Ssense, net-a-porter, mytheresa, etc. and what is your identity as an Italian EC platform that has entered the Japanese Market?
LVR works to maintain the identity of a "small" virtual boutique where customers can easily and efficiently find the must-have items of the season. Our selection of products is one of the greatest strengths of the company. For the Japanese market, our goal is no different. We want to be able to fulfill the wishes and needs of customers who live and breathe fashion and aspire to be true trendsetters.


What PR campaigns had been successful? What worked and what didn’t?
In recent years, the most successful PR campaigns we’ve done were those for Firenze4ever from 2010 to 2016, which involved dozens of fashion influencers gathering in Florence. Thanks to the relationships we created with them over the years and the production of quality content, LVR managed to achieve incredible visibility at low cost. What didn’t work was finding a viable alternative to Firenze4Ever, which we suspended at the beginning of 2016 as bloggers and influences had become a mass phenomenon and we felt it was time for something new.


In the Asia market, how does LuisaViaRoma plan to leverage its opportunities using its visuals?
We often work with celebrities and influencers from the relevant market and utilize the content we create with them on our website through editorials and videos. We collaborate with them to attract a wider audience and reach new viewers.


This is the first time that LuisaViaRoma is hosting the upcoming UNICEF event 「Summer Gala」on August 10th. How did this idea come to? Had it always been in mind?
We’ve worked with UNICEF and other charity organizations in the past with the aim of helping the less fortunate and doing what we can to give back. The only difference is that this time it was done on a much larger scale. It was a process of evolution and growth out of something that had always been in our DNA.


What sort of input has LuisaViaRoma done to target its Japanese customer base? Are there particular shopping habits you find in Asia different to that of the Western side?
We’ve recently been working on adapting and modifying our site to be more detail-oriented to satisfy our Japanese customers’ need for information, similar to local sites they frequent. As far as Asian shopping habits, we’ve noticed that our Chinese clients are much more sensitive to price than the public believes. They put in the time and effort to visit different sites and compare prices and services before purchasing to ensure they’re getting the best offer.


Are your trend reports based on western trends or have you considered the circulation in Asia as well?
Our trend reports are based on global trends, analyzed by LVR buyers. The reports are made with all customers in mind, not just a particular market or region. We believe our trend reports satisfy all customers who have a penchant for fashion, including those in Asia.


How do you stay fresh and develop your E-Commerce?
Part of my job is to find new solutions to make our e-commerce platform more and more efficient and therefore improve our customers' e-commerce experience. To achieve this, I tend to travel a lot for industry events with the aim of forging relationships with companies that have the right tools to grow our company and allow us to provide more for our customers.

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