Italian Fashion Brand Tod’s Joins Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion

Italian fashion brand Tod’s has joined Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion, adding to the growing number of international fashion names that are using the exclusive online marketplace to reach China’s high-end shoppers.

The premium leather-goods maker, known for its Gommino loafers, launched its namesake brand both on Tmall, Alibaba’s C2B shopping platform, and the Pavillion, an invite-only shopping section on the site that delivers the same brand exclusivity and tailored shopping experience online that consumers would get in a brick-and-mortar store. Already global fashion houses such as Burberry, Hugo Boss, La Mer, Maserati, Guerlain (LVMH) and Zenith are among the brands engaging Chinese consumers through the platform since its launch in August this year.

“Tod’s is recognized the world over as having amazing craftsmanship in building leather and suede shoes, so it’s great that Chinese consumers can have access to this craftsmanship,” said Sébastien Badault, Alibaba Group’s director of internatonal fashion and luxury and general manager for France.

The Luxury Pavilion, as an e-commerce solution for luxury brands, was created to show traditional luxury players that e-commerce does not necessarily devalue their brick-and-mortar shopping experiences, said Badault. Instead, it can “enhance [in-store experiences] in line with what customers want,” he said, while generating valuable information from sales and online engagement that helps companies position their brand in China’s rapidly evolving luxury market and grow their customer bases.

“The idea is to make it so that the consumer, regardless of what channel they engage with, the brand is able to adapt and be liquid,” he said.

Marking the brand’s introduction to the Pavilion, Tmall held a “Pavilion Day” for a select group of the platform’s top shoppers between Dec. 1-3. Pavilion Day is a new shopping festival dedicated to strengthening engagement between luxury goods makers and their target consumers both online and offline. However, while many Alibaba sales comprise multiple brands and platforms, this event features just one brand at a time and only through the Luxury Pavillion. LVMH-owned French perfume house Guerlain held its own Pavilion Day in September.

Throughout the duration of Tod’s Pavilion Day, which in fact lasted three days, select shoppers got access to newly launched products from its “Tod’s for Ferrari” collection on the same day the new line went on sale at their 20-plus physical boutiques across China. Pavilion users also received exclusive membership benefits. Followers of Tod’s Tmall flagship store won a chance to receive a RMB1,000 gift card if they spent more than RMB3,000 during the event. Within three days of opening, Tod’s said the number of people following its new flagship store jumped from several hundred to 15,000.

In addition to its namesake brand, Tod’s brought another one of the Italian group’s fashion labels, Hogan, to Tmall as well. The two brands are the latest Italian luxury labels to join the Chinese shopping platform after La Perla’s entrance in 2014, Emporio Armani in 2015 and the nearly dozens of brands that joined this year, including car maker Alfa Romeo, fashion brand Chiara Ferragni and accessories brand Furla.

The next steps for the platform will be focused on more deeply integrating it into the global luxury market, said Badault.

“We were able to design the space very much in line with what the luxury world wants,” he said. “We need to keep talking to them, to understand their needs.”