The Asian fashion market has been featured quite a bit in our local news of late. To start, China’s largest eCommerce company, Alibaba, which backs the country’s Ebay and Amazon equivalents, has released a product to simplify international shopping for the Chinese. Launched through Alibaba’s version of Paypal, Alipay, the all-new ePass will enable Chinese customers to shop on North American websites and checkout with greater ease. Alibaba claims it will lighten any shipment, tax, and customs issues that currently discourage Chinese fashionistas from ordering goods from the U.S as well as provide international tracking information and delivery confirmation, too. Customers browsing American sites that are integrated with the product will have the option to choose ‘ePass’ as their method of payment to check out securely and pay in Yuan. Additionally, and perhaps most notably, the ePass infrastructure will assist American retailers in reaching targeted Chinese audiences. China’s eCommerce network continues to grow exponentially and it’s a lucrative market for American brands to tap into. Allegedly, H&M, The Gap, and Gilt.com have already signed up to implement the ePass on their existing websites. Let’s hope more of our retailers follow suit to further connect global fashion-lovers.
With our eye for style still on Asia, new sales reports compiled by the Milan-based consulting and strategy firm Bain & Company maintain that the growth of luxury brands now depends on companies better serving their globe-trotting clientele. Almost every major fashion market relies heavily on sales made from visiting tourists, and Bain claims designers should cater even more to demographics of shoppers in town from abroad. In fact, Bain’s research goes so far as to indicate that luxury collections no longer demand their traditional, seasonal dividers. The focus of a shop’s product line should shift from what’s selling based on location and timing to who exactly is buying and where that customer originates from. Largely, this pertains to the robust Chinese market, which reportedly buys more than three times the luxury goods it purchases domestically, abroad. Worldwide, Europe capitalizes the most on those touristic sales, and America’s luxury flagships could learn a thing or two from the profit. Could this mark the end of high-brow retail as we know it? That’s doubtful, but it does sound like the doors of fashion houses will soon be opened wider to welcome more out-of-town guests.