EXCLUSIVE: Jean-Claude Biver fears for future of retailers that underperform online

The President of LVMH Watch Division and TAG Heuer CEO, Jean-Claude Biver, says customers will shape the future of retail.The President of LVMH Watch Division and TAG Heuer CEO, Jean-Claude Biver, says customers will shape the future of retail.

Jean-Claude Biver says that the move towards online retail is irresistible for watch brands because that is the way customers want to shop.

The head of LVMH’s watch division, who is currently also CEO of TAG Heuer and Zenith, tells WatchPro: “Online retail is the future, and you will not be able to stop it. It is impossible to stop it. Online business is part of the future. Brands have to adapt to that fact, and retailers have to adapt to that fact. The adaptation is underway, and I leave it to each one to find the best way to find the cooperation between online and physical. They have to find a way so that they do not compete, but are complementary. If they want to compete, then one of the two will have a problem long-term, and online will win.”

In a wide-ranging interview that will be published in the May edition of WatchPro, Mr Biver praises retailers that are embracing omnichannel models, and rules nothing out in terms of LVMH brands selling direct to consumers in competition with their partners.

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However, he does maintain that retail partners of TAG Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari and Hublot are better equipped to succeed online.

“Brands are in the business of production and development. They have the business of doing brand strategies for the long term. The service, the details, the recommendations, the stock; that is part of the business is for the retailer. They must be the best at this. The only retailers I worry about are the ones that are not the best at this. They might feel the pressure. But I do not see a problem with the best retailers,” Mr Biver suggests.

“At the end, it is all for the profit of the end user because the winner will be the service. Who can serve the customer better, a brand or a retailer? I hope it is the retailer, because that is their business, to serve,” he concludes.

Read the full interview with Jean-Claude Biver in the May edition of Watchpro.

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