Aurum Holdings believes that every luxury watch brand will be sold online in the “near future”.
Brian Duffy, chief executive for the group, which operates Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland and Watch Shop in the UK, told WatchPro that online sales were up 50% towards the end of 2016, a performance boosted by a number of major luxury brands going transactional.
“We have brought Cartier, IWC, Hublot online. This year we have had great success online. Towards the end of the year, we were trading up +50% online,” Mr Duffy discloses.
“I have no doubt that it is going to be a big part of the future — no doubt at all. At some point in the future, and I mean the near future, I think that everything will go online,” he adds.
When asked whether that would include Rolex, Mr Duffy replies: “Yes, that would be my prediction. That is something that will be inevitable at some point.”
He later stresses that this is his personal opinion, not based on anything he has been told by Rolex.
Rolex already made a significant change to the way it presents itself online earlier this year, with prices being published on the websites of Aurum Holdings retailers and luxury independents including Prestons.
Aurum Holdings sells Rolex from 46 stores across the UK including Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland and around 30 of its Goldsmiths stores.
The multichannel approach mixing physical stores with online is crucial, according to Mr Duffy.
“I totally respect that he most important relationship is the one between the customer and the salesperson, and that is much better done face-to-face. We very much see online and digital communication as just supporting the fundamental of stores and personal interaction,” he explains.
“The main point is that we want to respond to whatever the customer needs; their lifestyle, their wishes. If they want to be communicated to digitally, we will be there. If they want to shop in an airport, we will be there. We want to be in position wherever they are and however they want to interact and hopefully shop,” he adds.