As fashion companies are facing mounting inventory and decreased consumer spending, discounting remains a tempting solution for brands. Yoox is tackling the opportunity strategically.
From October 18-30, Yoox is hosting a secret sale concept called “Secret Room” in New York. It first launched “Secret Room” in Italy in May. Strategically timed to run in advance of the holiday season, “Secret Room” will be located on 34th Street and will feature discounts on Yoox items of up to 90% off. While secret sales are common in luxury, brands and retailers are taking more care to ensure they’re high-end shopping experiences featuring quality services that enforce brand equity — even while discounting. For its part, the Yoox store will feature reserved shopping appointments, pre-allocated products to ensure each appointment time has a robust offering, experienced luxury staff and quick checkouts.
“We’re keen to offer our consumers a different proposition that can bring them closer to our world — not only digitally, but also physically,” said Valentina Visconti Prasca, Yoox managing director. “We’ve already tested the format successfully, with increased sales and customer response in Italy, and we’re happy to export it to the United States, as well.”
Through a partnership with Italian secret sales service Say Wow, who has experience hosting secret sales in Europe, the two mark their expansion into the U.S. Say Wow is also in partnership with Kering, with whom they have hosted employee-only secret sales in Italy and have run sales for Kering, Bally, Bottega Veneta and The Row in the past. Discussions are happening now for 2023 potential secret sales including Kering and other past brands.
“Our model is to protect the brand. We prefer to call our events pop-up stores rather than sample sales because the feeling and experience for the customer is the same, even if we have the discounts typically associated with sample sales,” said Luca Bensaia, founder of Say Wow. Bensaia said the average sell-through for brand secret sales is 40-50%, but it can be as high as 80%, depending on the event.
“We want to offer a private room experience to our customers,” said Visconti Prasca. “We have the desire to approach a buyer who is looking for sought-after pieces, as well as style enthusiasts who are looking for a different shopping experience through competitive pricing.”
Yoox and Say Wow are marketing the pop-up through a dedicated social media campaign, targeting Yoox’s key 30- to 50-year-old demographic. The private sale is being promoted via social media ads and partnerships with key influencers like creative director Sarah Johnson (@sayjayjohnson).
Yoox is providing additional discounts available through their app that can be added to purchases at the Secret Room. The company declined to share brands included in the sale, considering the “secret” positioning.
“Thanks to the partnerships activated, the talents involved and the strong and recognizable brand identity, we are moving away from a sample sale experience that only offers an opportunity to buy at a low price,” said Visconti Prasca.
Farfetch acquired a 45% stake in YNAP in August this year. Yoox Net-a-Porter made a number of announcements last week, including appointing an interim CEO and making a number of general managers worldwide. It also expanded its resale offering to Italy and France.
According to Visconti Prasca, Yoox was inspired to launch Secret Rooms to offer the customer a new way to connect with the e-comm retailer. “We saw the success of some similar activities and thought of offering customers who prefer to touch the goods before buying them a new opportunity to interact and engage with the Yoox world,” she said. “It’s a way to open a new market segment and interact with a customer base that can return to our site to continue the shopping experience.”
Visconti Prasca said private sales are an opportunity Yoox wants to continue to explore. “Yoox’s offerings need to have more consumer touchpoints, at every point around the globe. The private sales will be an extension of that.”