American Luxury Brands Embrace Emerging Technologies to Grow Sales in China

China is one of the leading global markets for luxury consumers. By 2030, Chinese shoppers will comprise 40% of all luxury consumers, according to a new report by Bain & Co. American brands, such as Coach, DVF, and Mark Jacobs, are partnering with Alibaba to reach millions of luxury consumers in China. At last month’s National Retail Federation conference, Renee Klein, vice president of global digital experience and customer marketing at Coach, joined a panel session. to discuss how the brand leverages Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion to grow international sales.

The panel highlighted how luxury brands, including many in the U.S., utilize Alibaba’s digital tools like 3D shopping, livestreaming, and virtual reality to create immersive experiences for Chinese consumers. This panel gave a glimpse into the future of online luxury retail and how digital innovations are unfolding in China.

“I’ve always looked at China as a looking glass into the future. I think it’s always the behaviors that are being initiated there that will at some point come into your market or come into North America. And for me it’s always understanding how behavior is happening in China that I can apply globally to local markets. It has been a driver of innovation and understanding how consumers are going to ingest content and information and combining that with shopping,” said Klein.

Coach launched its flagship store on the Tmall Luxury Pavilion in 2019, which boasts a digital shopping experience for consumers powered by virtual reality and 3D technology that blends retail with entertainment. Klein shared that Coach’s experience with Alibaba has provided an opportunity to test new digital sales strategies quickly and iteratively.

Coach is among the thousands of American brands, beyond the luxury market, that sells on Alibaba’s ecommerce platforms, which reach over one billion consumers in China. In 2021, U.S. businesses made sales of over $61B on Alibaba.

“(Alibaba) has been a huge force in China for so long, and it has evolved and changed the landscape. For Coach, it was very clear for us that the way that we were going to reach our target audience was to be on the largest and biggest platform there,” Klein reported.