Asia luxury distributor Bluebell Group has partnered with French-based pre-owned luxury products e-commerce player Collector Square to bring the successful online portal to Asia, capitalising on the lucrative and rapidly growing luxury resale economy.
“We see great potential in vintage and pre-owned luxury goods in our markets and there’s a growing demand for curated luxury bags and watches in the market. Traditional retailers have started to set up a vintage section in their stores, selling vintage Hermes, Chanel, Rolex, Patek Philippe products. However, the idea of bringing a trusted and price-transparent digital player is relatively new in Asia, and we believe the timing is right. That’s why we decided to partner with Collector Square France and launch the website initially in Hong Kong and Japan,” said Samy Redjeb, Group Development Director of the Bluebell Group.
The changing consumer attitudes have spurred the emergence of second-hand luxury websites and market places. As e-commerce is experiencing an unprecedented boom in Asia, consumers are having more trust to online shopping and getting more inclined to spend on high value luxury products online.
According to Redjeb, there are many advantages of being a pure digital player. “The prices of the products which are curated at this stage in France are attractive and competitive as we do not need to inflate them with high prime rental distribution cost. We also provide real-time access to a wider offer compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores with a current selection of 5000 pieces” he added.
When it comes to assessing the value of pre-owned or vintage luxury products, consumers are often left in the dark. To be a trusted leader in this market, Collector Square has created a benchmark assessment of the price of second-hand luxury goods – the LuxPrice-index. It’s the first international database to collect the multiple results of sales of second-hand luxury goods sold through major auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Artcurial, Bonhams during the past ten years. With the index, consumers can have a clear idea of how much iconic products like Hermes Kelly or Rolex Daytona are worth today, based on the latest auctions’ average results. Those vintage products are considered today as investment products like art or real-estate, and their estimated values have been climbing over the past decade.
One big concern for consumers wanting to purchase second-hand luxury products online is the authenticity of the items. To answer this concern, Collector Square gathered a team of luxury experts, who were or still are prestigious auction houses and major luxury brands collaborators, to select and evaluate the items listed on the platform. With professional appraisal of each product, Collector Square is able to guarantee the authenticity and condition of all Hermes, Chanel, Rolex, Cartier products and other prestigious houses it offers.
Launched in France in 2013, the e-commerce website aims to connect buyers and sellers of luxury goods on its platform. There are three categories of luxury products sold on the portal: luxury handbags, watches and jewellery. For customers wanting to purchase products on the platform, Collector Square guarantees genuine products at good prices, as well as an expert’s certified authentication. For clients wanting to sell products, the team takes care of the whole procedure, from authenticating to valuing the product, posting on the platform, as well as managing shipping and payment. Collector Square takes a transparent 25 percent commission on each sale, and the rest is paid to the original reseller.
“There is a large market and long history for pre-owned luxury goods in Europe. The purpose of launching Collector Square two years ago was to bring this market to the digital world and provide a luxury and professional shopping experience to consumers,” said Loic Bocher, Co-founder and CEO of Collector Square.
A destination physical showroom opened in Paris in parallel to the digital launch of Collector Square, extending the shopping experience offline as part of Bocher’s Omni-channel strategies and adding initial trust with a non-virtual window to the concept.
“With the showroom, we are able to increase brand awareness among consumers, build their trust on our website, and collect products,” he explained.
During its two years of operations, Collector Square has experienced significant growth in Europe. Over 20,000 luxury products were sold on the platform since its launch. Now there are more than 5,000 products available on the website, which can be delivered to the shoppers within 48 hours.
“The second-hand luxury market is huge. I think that in five years, there will be three to four key players in this market. We aim to be one of them, and we target to achieve EUR 100 million turnover a year by then,” said Bocher.
Collector Square’s showroom in Paris
There are two key challenges facing all retailers today: globalization and digitalization, and the Collector Square model is designed to tackle both.
“There is a big opportunity in the market for second-hand online luxury goods in Asia. We know we won’t be able to be successful in the region without a trusted partner who understands the local needs and has a strong retail and customer experience,” said Bocher.
“If we are going to have a partner, we have to get the best in the region. That’s why we chose Bluebell. Bluebell has a strong expertise in marketing and promoting luxury & lifestyle brands in Asia. Combining our digital speciality and Bluebell’s local expertise, we will be able to better develop in the Asian market. Our target is to generate 30 percent of our revenue in Asia within two to three years,” he added.
Under the partnership, Collector Square will take care of the website’s back-end and provide a curated selection of high quality products, while Bluebell will provide digital marketing, local customer service and adapt the website to local specificities.
Bluebell launched the platform in Hong Kong first, soon followed by a launch in Japan. The e-commerce platform will be rolled out in more Asian countries within the next months.
“The pre-owned luxury market has become relatively mature in Hong Kong and Japan, and there’s a growing demand in these markets for vintage luxury goods. On the other hand, those are also big markets for us to source vintage products. For the moment, all the products sold on Collector Square are sourced in France but in a near future, we are going to source products in Asia which will make it easier for Asian customers to sell their high-end goods and create a strong community of buyers and sellers” said Redjeb.
Bluebell is the owner of retailinAsia