When it comes to the luxury fashion marketplace space, Farfetch is the name that comes to mind. The company has disrupted the industry and become a leading multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace platform for luxury fashion brands and consumers. How did they do it? Let's take a look at their history and growth, as well as their business model, user experience, and the technology behind it.
How Farfetch pioneered the fashion marketplace space
Farfetch was founded in 2008 by Portuguese entrepreneur José Neves. The company started as an eCommerce marketplace for luxury fashion boutiques around the world. Consumers could browse and purchase items from a variety of different brands in one place. This was a new concept at the time, and it quickly caught on with luxury fashion brands and consumers alike.
Nowadays, Farfetch features over 100K products from over 3000 designer brands offered by 700 boutique partners worldwide. The product categories offered on the website are women's and men's fashion, accessories (including jewelry), and beauty. Recently, Farfetch acquired Violet Grey, a luxury beauty marketplace with products curated by Hollywood makeup artists.
How Farfetch marketplace has disrupted the luxury fashion industry
The luxury goods industry was late to the eCommerce game. The main reason being that it is exceptionally difficult to recreate an online experience that mimics the level of service their customers receive when they visit physical stores and boutiques.
The Farfetch marketplace connects physical store locations through its Digital Platform to worldwide consumers, making luxurious brands offer seamless experiences across multiple channels.
Boutiques on Farfetch undergo a rigorous verification process to ensure that the products they sell are legitimate and of high quality. Farfetch is available in over 190 countries across the world. Users can shop items on its website as well as via its mobile phone app (available on Android and iOS devices).
What is the Farfetch marketplace business model
The company has a marketplace business model, which means that it connects buyers and sellers but does not hold inventory itself. This allows Farfetch to offer a wide variety of items from different luxury fashion brands while maintaining a low overhead cost. When a user makes a purchase on the site, Farfetch takes a commission from the seller.
This business model has been successful for the company, and it is now one of the leading eCommerce platforms for luxury fashion.
The User Experience and features of Farfetch multi-brand eCommerce website
The user experience on the Farfetch marketplace is simple and streamlined. The website is easy to navigate, and users can search for specific items or browse by category. Farfetch also offers a number of features that set it apart from other eCommerce platforms. For example, users can save items to their Wishlist to purchase later, or they can schedule an appointment to view an item in person at a nearby boutique.
The exquisite user experience on the Farfetch website starts with navigation. The mage menu enables potential customers to browse by the main product categories, brands, or by specially curated collections like wardrobe essentials, the modern wedding, or the resort collection.
The brands featured on Farfetch don't need much introduction. Who doesn't know Prada or Alexander McQueen? The brand page is minimalistic yet elegant and the filtering options make it easy to browse through each designer's collection.
When looking for a particular outfit, not a designer, the category page comes in handy with sophisticated filtering options like, for example, neckline and sleeve length for dresses as well as the occasion for which it is suited (e.g., bridal, evening, etc.).
The product page offers a lot of details such as composition, size guide, and other available colors, together with several pictures of the item. It also includes information on the whole style the model is wearing as well as the Complete the Look section. Each product can also be added to the Wishlist; if your size is unavailable, you can be notified about it.
Complete the Look
This is a great cross-selling feature. Offering customers matching products that can easily be bought together as one bundle increases the average order value and the overall revenue of the eCommerce business.
The cart offers many useful features, such as changing the size or moving the item to the Wishlist. It also includes the information on where it will be shipped from and whether any import duties apply.
How to create a successful marketplace eCommerce business like Farfetch
Farfetch eCommerce solution is custom-made in-house and sustained with a total funding amount of $1.6B over the past decade. That’s over a billion in external investment, not their company valuation. There are very few companies that will ever be capable of a similar effort at a comparable cost.
If you’re thinking about replicating in-house what Farfetch has built, stop dreaming. It’s not going to happen.
Instead, consider using a turn-key and proven solution such as Vendo to launch your own multi-brand eCommerce business at a fraction of the cost of custom development or enterprise SaaS and within days instead of months. No developers are needed.
Once live, Vendo automates everything from vendor onboarding (eg. from Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, using API or CSV files), integrating with 3rd party services (eg. Stripe, Algolia, Shippo, TaxJar), accepting buyer payments in over 135 currencies, pushing orders for fulfillment to your sellers’ stores, to seller payouts in 50 countries.
Vendo works well with a number of separate storefronts or sales channels. Either with multiple warehouses and your own fulfillment or with absolutely no inventory of your own. One platform to manage all your products, customers, orders under one roof.
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