Farfetch has opened its ecommerce platform to allow luxury fashion brands to trade directly on its website or through their own full-price transactional sites.
It has launched a new unit, Farfetch Black & White, which will operate independently of the main business. It will offer brand partners operational services such as payments, fraud protection and customer support, alongside access to its logistics network.
“We recently started to partner with mono-brand boutiques including Roksanda Ilincic, AMI, Derek Lam, La Perla, and Jason Wu to sell directly through the Farfetch platform,” explained José Neves, chief executive and founder of Farfetch.
“This new proposition gives more brands the option of another full-price channel to sell through. We recently signed our first boutique partners in Australia, and both multi-brand and mono-brand boutiques joined.”
He added: “Technology is our expertise: we have built an unrivalled API [the software infrastructure behind the site], which allows full flexibility and innovation. To offer this service to brands independently of our core business felt like a natural next step as we continue to grow.”
The main Farfetch business allows 300 global independent boutiques to sell online in 190 countries. It has localised sites in nine languages and offers click-and-collect and return-to-store options across its network.
Giulio Cinque, owner of premium independent Giulio in Cambridge, said: “I think it is a brilliant idea. It’s what the likes of the new Style.com, Lyst are doing, so I don’t see why Farfetch should limit themselves.
“It is best to be among it all rather than isolated from it, and to sit among these luxury brands is always a good thing for an independent retailer like us.”
Winnie McGee, founder of Vintage Heirloom, which has been selling vintage Chanel, Céline and Louis Vuitton through the Farfetch site for two years, added: “It doesn’t affect me directly as I’m a vintage seller but I think that adding brands to the platform will be fantastic as long as it is something exclusive to Farfetch that the existing boutiques don’t sell because then that would be a conflict of interest. As long as that doesn’t happen, I think it’s a shrewd move and if they choose up and coming brands to promote it could work really well.
“There is a lot of competition in terms of platform sellers from the likes of Lyst but Farfetch do excel in terms of logistics with things like their click-and-collect service.”