Q&A with Ulric Jerome, Chief Executive Officer, MATCHESFASHION.COM
1) Among many articles about your background and data-driven approach to growing MATCHESFASHION.COM, an analyst commented, “The opportunity to define digital leadership in luxury has yet to be realized.” What does that mean to you as it relates to your leadership role? And what does that mean to you as it relates to the company’s own opportunities in the space?
For us it is about how we define luxury commerce – we don’t talk about omni-channel, online, mobile, content etc – we talk about luxury commerce because we believe that it is the combination of all of this that makes the formula work, and that is commerce to us! We have a 360 approach which enables our customers to connect through multiple means globally, every day and at all times. The opportunity in the luxury space is one of a kind, our customers are very savvy, borderless and extremely excited to engage with us through our multiple touch points. Our ability to deal with the data enables us to serve them in the most customised and prestigious way so that we are always very relevant to them.
2). With so many online shopping options available, what is the mystery formula for a leading luxury e-comm site? What was MATCHESFASHION.COM missing? For example, you’ve talked about the importance of speed of new products posted to the site, … is it merely about making it available to customers first, before anywhere else? Is the game really about speed? … and then service, experience, etc?
There is no mystery. It is about how well we have to execute in all areas of the business. It starts by travelling the world to bring to our customers the most inspiring product selection and to work very closely with the designers. We want to keep it very personal, our customers love this about us, they see us as a source of discovery and they love to be swept off their feet. The speed of making the product available to the customer is of course essential. As important is the way we present our product offering to our customers, the functionalities, the look and feel of the website, of our stores, of our mobile navigation, our content and our events around the globe, right through to the level of care we put into our packaging. It needs to be highly luxury and a 100% seamless. So all the different teams need to work in harmony to make this work.
3). Do you see any upside to adding categories, for example a Matchesbeauty?
We currently work with more than 400 brands, we concentrate our efforts on menswear and womenswear across all ready to wear categories and accessories including fine jewellery. We have so many opportunities of growth in these areas that we want to make it our focus for the time being.
4). What’s been a highlight at MF so far, and why?
The incredibly positive response and level of engagement of our customers. We have been growing very fast while continuing to increase the level of engagement of our customers. That is by far the very best highlight.
5). Can we have a sneak peek of your keynote? In one sentence, a tease?
The future of luxury commerce, at least our vision of it!
6). Who do you turn to for advice?
To a lot of people actually. It is such a luxury to be part of a company with so many great minds so that is the first source of advice. The board with founders and co- chairmen Tom and Ruth who have started the company almost 30 years ago, we work everyday very closely together and we try to help each-other the best we can. I also have around me a network of entrepreneur friends, sharing experiences is so crucial and can help so much to be faster in the execution.
7). Do you have a favorite quote?
Growing old without growing up! I think it is from me
8). Any (personal or professional) plans for the summer?
Somewhere next to the sea, calm and relaxing that like always I will book 24h before. I am so bad in planing holidays!!
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