The vision for the future of luxury retail according to our Chairman and CEO, Federico Marchetti

May 24, 2019


Last week YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP Chairman & CEO Federico Marchetti took the stage at the World Retail Congress in Amsterdam. Talking on The New Luxury Landscape: Balancing Human & Machine, Federico outlined his vision for the future of luxury retail and how success will depend on striking the right balance between Human & Machine, making an exciting announcement about a new partnership with Instagram in the process.

Marchetti’s speech covered the entire ecosystem, from technology and craftsmanship, to serving customers in the right way, personalisation, logistics, omnichannel and the human touch.

How can we break down the false barriers between tech and creativity to find the right balance between Human and Machine?

He noted that fundamental to solving this puzzle is a deep understanding of the luxury customer and strategies to serve them underpinned by five key points: luxury service, uniqueness, curation & inspiration through content, sustainability and mobile.

Marchetti then announced a new partnership with Instagram which will allow millions of the Group’s social followers to instantly buy their perfect piece from us without ever leaving the Instagram app – a compelling complement to the Group’s content-to-commerce strategy that enhances the mobile luxury experience.

We have a history of being first-movers in online luxury. Checkout is an opportunity that will enable our millions of followers to satisfy their instant shopping desires without leaving the Instagram app. It’s a compelling complement to our content-to-commerce strategy and we look forward to pioneering another innovation together with Instagram to deliver an unmatched mobile luxury retail experience.” 

Marchetti noted that personalisation is crucial to giving customers a luxurious experience. Sharing prototypes built for a visit by HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in 2018, he showed how insights such as weather, location, past purchases and other information that the customer wishes to share could be used to tailor each store to individual customers.

Today, the homepage teaches us that sometimes only technology can make the customer experience more personal, more customized. No more will you see one page for three million customers. Instead, you’ll see three million pages created instantaneously for each customer.

Marchetti also noted how we now have to create a consistent brand experience across every channel – physical and digital – to meet the customers expectations at every moment.

I believe the physical boutique and the human touch will always play a role in luxury. We are creating a totally seamless experience between online and offline that will revolutionise how we shop for luxury.

Concluding his speech, Marchetti made a prediction that underlined the need for the luxury industry to make difficult choices that stop us from replacing what we truly value:

I’d like to make a prediction. Today we see labels like “Made in Italy, ‘British made’ or ‘Swiss watches.’ I think that one day we will see another label: “Made by Humans.