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Zenith joins procession of brands opening ecommerce sites for the United States

Zenith Defy 31 boutique only (9)

Zenith has joined its LVMH stablemate Hublot in launching an ecommerce store for the American market.

Authorized dealers are becoming all-too familiar with the brands they have loyally worked with for years setting up in competition to them, so the strategy shift from Zenith will be frustrating, but far from surprising.

More maddening for ADs will be Zenith using the launch of its online store to announce that important limited editions will only be available from zenith-watches.com.

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“Today, July 8th, Zenith is launching its all-new online boutique in America, with the DEFY EL PRIMERO 21 Black Ceramic Boutique Edition featuring a Zenith Blue treated movement, limited to 250 pieces, will be exclusively available in the USA from the American Zenith e-commerce site,” the company declares.

It has been notable this year how many brands are launching more limited editions and fewer core collection watches, leaving authorized dealers trying to peddle the least remarkable watches from brands while their boutiques and ecommerce stores get the cream of what’s new and exciting.

Anticipating protests from retail partners, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare, says: “We are proud to offer a truly 21st century timepiece to mark the launch of a resolutely 21st century means of communication. By playing dual roles as a brand showcase and virtual retail boutique, e-commerce is an excellent means of directly engaging a wider range of customers through a digital brand experience. While we continue to be firm believers in the importance of our authorized retailers and support them on their own e-commerce websites, our shift to digital is part of a conscious drive by Zenith to be as present as possible for our clients at a particularly difficult time. We look forward to being closer to our U.S.-based customers and developing an ever-better understanding of their needs.”

1 Comment

  1. Zenith’s move to add D2C sales to their sales strategy is sound, in that it immediately accomplishes two things: 1) repatriates more margin to the brand, and 2) as per Tornare’s declaration, “We look forward to being closer to our U.S.-based customers and developing an ever-better understanding of their needs.”, this follows Yuval Harari’s broad observation that, “Those who own the data own the future.” Retailers may feel like that customer data is their intellectual property by precedent, but try arguing that in court. Today, George Minakakis, author of the compelling book, The Great Transition, published in LinkedIn the following comments: “How would I Reimagine Retail? Now everything will be aligned, one performance review, one measure, Customer Experience.” A final quote from Henry Ford, who said, “Anyone can complain. Find a solution.” There is no going back to the “good old days” people, so you may as well embrace the future. The same tools that brands are using to fortify their digital ecosystems and B2C selling are also available to retailers. They simply need to adopt the tools that make sense to their business, in its context, and invest in a future-facing sales strategy; one that will be challenged, but NOT replaced, by brands’ D2C sales.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder