e see the future of our business as running on a fair-trade marketplace model, because the next generations are more socially aware, more globally connected, more individualistic, more entrepreneurial, more digitally at ease with purchasing online (as many luxury consumer studies show). More shoppers question authenticity and provenance.
The independents are a good fit for this growing profile, when we match/connect them online. Trust is there, exclusivity is there, provenance is there. When more independents come together on Skolorr, creating a bigger voice, we have a chance to gain more awareness and interest collectively, and more importantly, to inspire change. Buyers will benefit by having more knowledge of the true value derived from a timepiece, vs the perceived value from celebrity endorsements and five layers of intermediaries, and then getting a 30–40% discount. The shift to a more direct distribution (fewer middlemen) structure needs to happen, slowly but surely – it needs to start somewhere, however small. The digital realm will enable that. We employ pioneering marketplace technologies to serve this purpose, and closely follow the emerging technologies such as blockchain, for when it’s more market ready in the future.
I believe business is a force for good, and it’s about people. Skolorr as a business advocates win-win along the value chain, to power the primary market where innovation occurs (hence, no pre-owned, no vintage, no buying and selling grey market stock, only direct from the makers to buyers). Also, to instil strong values in the process, to educate the next generations to be conscious of whom they are empowering by the purchases they make. We are hopeful for the future, and that’s why we exist. But changes will be harder to push through the mainstream market. Brands and distribution have been in a power struggle; whoever wins is down to who gets the customer.
A paradigm shift is necessary. Good traditional retailers who add value are still important, but they need to remain relevant to the digital age. Brands need to be more in touch with the market, and consumer demand. I hear this is happening, but I hope they work together rather than against one another.
Also, consumer/market demand can drive change. Meaning, education for the consumers is also key. Sourcing information from recognised bodies and media such as Europa Star can play a part. I hope fewer buyers get their ‘intel’ from dealers, grey market traders, or their collector friends who claim to know a lot about watches and the industry. The watch media can exercise more influence, beyond the reluctant industry folks...
But people will always love going into shops when the experience is modern, interactive, enriching, eye-opening, problem-solving, welcoming and gratifying. When shoppers buy into the experience, they buy the products. The questions are, ‘what are the new ideas?’ and ‘do they have the budgets?’
I’ve heard about the gallery concept, which is not new – Marcus and William & Son in London have been doing that for a long time. And a lot of retailers need to shift stock, without sell-out, which funds ‘the gallery’. Perhaps a multi-experiential space, adding a drinks lounge / cigar den / augmented reality play room etc. is the type of experience that will help cross-sell watches...?
We don’t agree with ‘uberisation’– Uber is not a good company. If you refer to the democratisation of service/product provision, the peer-to-peer distribution model through a platform – we believe in AirBnB, and Farfetch, which maximise use and consumption of under-utilised and under-exploited assets/capacities to provide better value for customers, while connecting people/communities in the process; and this is what Skolorr is offering.
Customers are hyper-connected and increasingly mobile. Instead of asking them to visit a fixed physical location, we should bring those services to them where they are. That is the future of retail. It has already been shifting in high fashion, furniture, food, and other industries. Consumers will expect it as a matter of course sooner or later.”
Launch date: 2017
Category: High-end independents
Brands represented: AkriviA, Antoine Tavan, ArtyA, Brellum, Claude Meylan, Clerc, Czapek, DeWitt, duManège, Fiona Krüger, GoS, Hautlence, Jaeger-Benzinger, Ludovic Ballouard, Manufacture Royale, Olivier Jonquet, Pierre DeRoche, Struthers London, Zeitwinkel