BEIJING, China — JD.com, China's largest e-commerce company, has launched Toplife, a luxury-focused online platform that aims to bring the personalised shopping experience of luxury brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce.
Launching Tuesday, Toplife offers products across a range of categories, from clothes and beauty to watches, jewellery and home furnishing, from brands like Trussardi, Rimowa, Emporio Armani and La Perla. Additional brands will be revealed in the coming weeks — for some it will be their first ever online presence in China.
“Luxury brands understand that the entire retail game in China is online, but they've been late to enter," Xia Ding, president of JD.com’s fashion division, tells BoF. "They’ve been waiting for a luxury-branded site that can give the full experience of going into their offline stores — and that’s what we’ve built."
Chinese shoppers buy more luxury products than those in any other country, accounting for about one-third of global sales, according to London-based consultancy firm Bain & Company. However, the challenge for global retailers lies in the final leg of delivery, known in logistics circles as “the last mile,” when poor infrastructure makes shipping and delivery slow and expensive.
Through Toplife, brands not only control and customise all aspects of their store on the platform, but also have access to JD.com’s sophisticated local logistics network — manned by more than 70,000 employees operating out of 250 warehouses — and can leverage the retailer’s premium white-glove delivery service, currently available in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.
“Working with Toplife, luxury brands are able to directly provide customers throughout China with a true luxury shopping experience previously only associated with high-end offline stores,” says Richard Liu, chairman and chief executive officer of JD.com. “[Toplife] is a luxury e-commerce ecosystem that provides a truly premium shopping experience, and helps [our] partners tell their brand story to local consumers.”
This isn’t JD.com’s first move into luxury. Earlier in June, the e-commerce giant invested $350 million in billion-dollar fashion "unicorn" Farfetch. “[JD.com] really provides us with a last-mile service, which is unrivalled. No Western company has, so far, had access to that,” Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves told BoF.
“We understand what brands want, from protecting their IP to offering a truly luxury service, including specialised delivery and expert consultants. This is not simply carving out a corner of our existing platform — it’s building out an entirely new online luxury experience,” says Ding.