Seven & I has authorised large budgets for any group retailer that comes up with projects to help in its efforts to become Japan’s first true omnichannel retailer. The latest is a luxury online store from Sogo Seibu with its own branding.
Seven & I’s generous budgets for any group project promoting omnichannel retailing is paying dividends. In November department store subsidiary Sogo Seibu will open a new luxury online store called e.Castel to coincide with the group level launch of the main Omni7 online sales portal (see page 1). e.Castel will offer the same click-and-collect delivery service to neighbourhood Seven Eleven stores that the entire omnichannel strategy is based on.
At the start, e.Castel will offer 40 brands, rising to 60 in 2016, and 80 the year after. Sogo Seibu is hoping for sales of ¥3 billion in the first full year rising to ¥10 billion in year three. Brands at the launch will include Giorgio Armani, Tiffany and Bulgari, and some pages will include links to official brand sites.
Although there are a plethora of online stores selling international luxury brands, quite a few are selling parallel imports – the practice of arranging supply of product through suppliers in a country where prices are lower, rather than sourcing from the brand in Japan. Sogo Seibu’s e.Castel will guarantee that merchandise is from official sources only. To emphasise the luxury positioning, Sogo Seibu has recruited leading designers to build the store and create a a high end experience.
Sogo Seibu’s current online brand store is limited to VIP customers. e.Castel will be open to anyone, and Sogo Seibu is hoping it will be able to reach customers in regions where it does not have a store.
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