Alibaba becomes strategic investor in luxury tech wholesale firm Ordre
today May 21, 2018
Alibaba Group has invested in luxury online wholesale fashion tech firm Ordre as the three-year-old company positions itself for major growth. Ordre said Alibaba is now “a strategic investor,” although the terms and amount of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Founded in 2015, Ordre specialises in online wholesale showrooms and said that Stella McCartney, Proenza Schouler, Thom Browne, Vivienne Westwood, Joseph, No. 21 and Paule Ka are among the most recent of 156 designers to launch on the platform.
On announcing the Alibaba investment, it also said that its growth has doubled year-on-year.
The company's business model is certainly an interesting one and highlights the growth of digital, not just for direct-to-consumer sales but also for wholesale. It offers innovative online showrooms that can be used to support designers’ own wholesale channels via its unique 360° image capture and virtual reality content.
What that means in practice is that retailers around the world can view high-end designer collections online “and feel confident about placing substantial wholesale orders.” And what's also particularly interesting is that the company said “the assets developed in a B2B environment are increasingly being deployed by Ordre designers in their B2C businesses.”
Ordre also said that it has particular relevance during fashion weeks with buyers not always able to travel but able to do business with brands online.
And of course, the appeal for those buyers isn't just about saving them time, it's also about cutting costs and reducing their carbon footprint – the latter feature being something that is increasingly important to those retailers’ customers too.
Ordre founder Simon P Lock said the Alibaba investment “will enable the company to accelerate the development of our leading-edge technologies [and] add value for the designers we work with and create pathways to the lucrative luxury fashion market in China.”
Meanwhile Jessica Liu, President of Alibaba’s Tmall Fashion and Luxury unit, said the move “represents a further step in expanding our presence in the fashion industry globally, reinforcing our positioning as partner of choice for brands engaging with high-net-worth Chinese consumers with an appetite for international luxury.”
It plans to match Ordre’s technology with its own data insights and capabilities, such as its recently launched Luxury Pavilion, an invitation-only, exclusive luxury platform for Chinese consumers.