Audemars Piguet will start selling direct to customers by the end of this year, the company’s CEO Francois Henry Bennahmias said at this week’s SIHH.
“2018 will be the test. 2019 will be the explosion,” he described.
The move will bring Audemars Piguet into direct competition with retailers like Westime, Govberg and Swiss Fine Timing which already sell the brand’s watches online in the US.
AP will not leap with both feet into the ecommerce world and may not be fully transactional this year. “We we will do real online, but you not going to be able to put a watch into a basket and check out,” says Mr Bennahmias. “We are going to use online as a tool to talk to more people and to deliver a better experience,” he adds.
The sales process is already moving in an omnichannel direction for Audemars Piguet. In New York, for example, Mr Bennahmias says that 50% of sales are made over the phone. “These customers never set foot in our store. They call, they order, they wire the money,” he reveals.