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Fashion from far and wide

Independents needn’t miss out on online sales thanks to Farfetch.com, which gathers them into one website

Independent retailers often don’t have the finance or the specialist expertise to take their businesses online - but Farfetch.com believes it has the answer.

Launched in 2008, Farfetch allows brands and independents to sell stock online and provides businesses with back-end software to allow them to control their stock on the Farfetch site in a simple and manageable way.

The Boutiques channel lists every store that is live on the site and links through to the product available from that store. Farfetch handles every part of the process, including photography of product, and is also willing to build specialist sites for retailers.

Farfetch chief executive José Neves, who also owns directional London boutique B Store and a footwear supply company, says: “I asked myself why these amazing stores were not selling online. That led to the idea for Farfetch to build the partner boutiques’ websites for them, as well as bringing their stock together under one roof to provide a global shopping experience.”

Farfetch already has a mix of international boutiques, but its UK sellers are very London-centric. The site is split into three sections - Luxe, for luxury labels; Lab, for directional brands; and Cult, for premium collections - and Farfetch selects retailers it believes will fit into one of these areas.

Neves says: “We’re looking for partners across the world that provide directional fashion and offer something different. We don’t want large numbers of boutiques which sell the same items. [We want] a unique and large range.”

Retailers pay Farfetch on a sales commission basis, rather than upfront, and the site boosts brand awareness as well as offering the opportunity to increase sales. Neves says: “We aim to take as much of the pain of managing an online operation away while letting the partner boutique focus on what they do brilliantly - sourcing stock and providing boutique service.”

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