170. retail-world


Brand Boutiques - PROS AND CONS: Ace Jewelers Group

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September 2013




Watch brands of all sizes continue to open up monobrand boutiques around the world. Europa Star investigates this trend and talks to opinion leaders on both sides of the issue.

Alon Ben Joseph, CEO, Ace Jewelers Group (Amsterdam, the Netherlands):

“Manufacturers started taking over wholesalers and now they are taking over retail distribution. The obvious next step (which is actually happening as we speak) is setting up mono-brand eBoutiques.
“It is a rhetorical question in my humble opinion to ask if one believes that brand boutiques take sales away from independent retailers who carry the same brand. We notice that this happens, but we always see the glass half full. Not only is competition healthy and good in business, but there is a spill effect in the marketing power of the presence of a mono-brand boutique in the area of the independent retailers.

Alon Ben Joseph
Alon Ben Joseph

“There are many benefits for brands to open a mono-brand boutique. The most obvious one is that their profit margin and ROI goes up by ‘a lot’. Another important factor is that brands (that often live in an ivory tower) gain market knowledge. They (finally) interact with end consumers on a realistic level. And, there is the added value in marketing and PR.
“When this trend of brands opening their own boutiques started about 15 years ago, we were worried and upset. But now we have learned that although consumers do visit mono-brand boutiques to experience a collection, they are not always very happy to be served there. They do not only like to compare brand X with brand Y and/or brand Z, but they feel more at home at an independent retailer that has legacy and personality. On top of that, consumers are worried that all high streets in major cities in the world will look identical and impersonal, so they favour independent retailers too! On top of that, consumers often find mono-brand boutiques boring, impersonal and even arrogant. This automatically makes independent retailers even more fun, personal and friendly, which is a positive side-effect.

Ace & Spyer, Amsterdam
Ace & Spyer, Amsterdam

“The future for brand boutiques is very positive for brands. But very negative for independent retailers and consumers. For independent retailers I see things very negative, as I truly believe that within 10 years the high-end/premium brands will obtain approximately 80 per cent of the retail distribution (bricks AND clicks). For consumers it is very negative, as variety will diminish, there is no room for variations (read: out-of-the-box thinking) and the business becomes very impersonal and cold.”

Brand Boutiques - Pros and Cons

Introduction

Patrik Hoffmann, president, Ulysse Nardin

Larry Pettinelli, president, Patek Philippe North America

Ehren Bragg, Managing Director, Devon

Marc Gläser, president, Maurice Lacroix

Thomas Morf

Greg Simonian, president of Westime (Los Angeles, USA)

Ayman Nassif, president, BTC (Egypt)

Jeremy Oster, co-owner, Oster Jewelers (Colorado, USA)

Source: Europa Star August - September 2013 Magazine Issue