Alibaba has taken a minority stake in a European fashion venture called Ordre. It’s a luxury wholesale platform that enables designers to show off their collections with 360° photography and Virtual Reality to attract buyers.
Ordre offer everything from runway & presentations shot in virtual reality viewable through headsets provided by Ordre to enabling buyers to view all aspects of a collection in 360° interact & view with super-zoom capabilities. Buyers can view collections & place remote wholesale orders confidently with the 360° assets or use the Ordre App in the physical showroom to make selections & place orders.
For Alibaba, the investment is a further push into the luxury sector, which is among its top strategic priorities, given the rising spending power and increasingly sophisticated tastes of Chinese consumers. However rather than looking to their B2B wholesale platform, Alibaba aim to leverage Ordre’s technologies for consumers, however, delivering a more-enhanced shopping experience on platforms such as B2C marketplace Tmall.
Simon Lock, founder and CEO of Ordre, said the company’s digital assets, including 360-degree images, 360 video and VR fashion shows and designer interviews, are in line with this strategy and could serve Tmall shoppers and brands.
“Our 360-view allows consumers to understand every aspect and every view of a garment,” he said. “When you’re purchasing online, as much detail as can be provided is going to make your purchasing decision much more confident,” which can help drive down the product return rates.”
– Simon Lock, founder and CEO, Ordre
The companies are currently discussing a number of potential initiatives that would expand on these technologies. One of which would create new direct-to-consumer channels for Ordre’s partner brands by leveraging content to communicate their brand story and provide more information about products. Other potential collaborations include “fit avatars,” which allow buyers to see collections on models in 360-view and technology that allows buyers to remotely feel fabrics on a touch pad.
Fashion is one of the key verticals online and anything that increases sales while at the same time reducing returns is an attractive proposition.