Alibaba's Luxury Soho Platform To Draw Younger Consumers

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Alibaba Group has piloted Luxury Soho, a new platform named after New York’s Soho district and aimed at young, value-conscious luxury shoppers. It is aimed at helping luxury brands efficiently manage inventory and stock and attract younger consumers and those who may be new to luxury, said Christina Fontana, head of Tmall Fashion and Luxury in Europe.

Restricted movements led to reduced foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores – including from Chinese tourists who were not able to travel to brands’ boutiques and outlets in Western countries like they used to, Fontana said in a company press release.

So brands are now sitting on a worldwide abundance of stock and need to find ways to reach new consumers, she said.

With Luxury Soho, brands can now move select products and collections onto an online outlet store and bring them in front of a specific audience that is waiting to discover new products and brands.

“We designed Tmall Luxury Pavilion to serve almost as a second website for brands in China. Luxury Pavilion stores bring the exclusive experience of shopping in a brick-and-mortar environment online. It is more focused on branding and aimed at a more affluent class of consumers. Luxury Soho, on the other hand, targets younger, newer luxury consumers, such as those from China’s lower-tier cities or Gen Z shoppers who are just entering the world of luxury,” she said.

Luxury Soho is much more than an outlet; it is a full-chain solution that helps brands effectively manage their inventories. The platform provides brands with an opportunity to uncover new consumer insights and improve their engagement with different consumer segments across the product life cycle.

Luxury Soho also plays into brands’ existing outlet strategies. It can empower them to diversify their strategies in China to handle excessive inventories with more flexibility. As a platform, it offers the tools for brands to run their own stores with full control over their pricing, product selection, strategy and look and feel.

They can engage consumers in new ways using innovative features, from livestreaming, augmented reality and 3D interactive technologies to virtual icons and flexible payment solutions. Brands can even tap their offline store associates to engage with consumers online to showcase certain products and answer questions.