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MILAN — The Armani Group and the Yoox Net-a-porter Group are bringing their 20-year relationship to the next level.

The two companies have partnered on the Next Era distribution model under a new agreement that stretches to 2025. This will redesign and, over the next two years, develop a digital and integrated shopping experience offering unprecedented online access to any product customers are looking for. It will integrate Armani’s digital stores with physical boutiques and, leveraging YNAPs global logistics network, it will create a seamless connection between the designer’s customers and products, online and offline.

“In the past few months, I have been redesigning the Armani Group’s business model based on a concept that is very dear to me: do less, but better,” said Armani, chairman and chief executive officer of his namesake group. “Mine is an invitation to consume more responsibly, focusing on authenticity and change. In Yoox Net-a-porter I’ve found a partner that allows me to transform this principle in a new multichannel shopping project where the relationship with the customer is increasingly personal and direct, while e-commerce and boutiques are integrated in a dynamic balance, which will have a positive effect, also on the environment.”

In April, the designer penned an open letter to WWD, in which he praised a slower fashion movement, revealing plans to realign collections with seasons in stores and expressing his belief in timeless elegance and authenticity — hence his refusal of itinerant “grandiose shows” around the world.

As reported, releasing 2019 results, which saw sales rise 2.3 percent to 2.16 billion euros, Armani noted that his “choices are in line with reducing inefficiencies and wastes and consistent with the widespread requests for sustainability across all sectors.”

The initiative with YNAP allows shoppers to consume in a more responsible way because waste will be avoided, said Armani, as this technology will permit the fashion house to have visibility over the entire seasonal collection, avoiding “false sold-outs” and eliminating stock surpluses that were not sold exclusively due to separate inventories.

The health emergency has accelerated the use of technology, which allows a more personal relationship with the customer and Armani believes this partnership marks a new chapter that will support more sustainability, transparency and circularity for customers.

“Armani has always been at the forefront of the world of fashion and luxury and one of the first to have adopted e-commerce with us in 2000,” said Federico Marchetti, chairman and ceo of YNAP. “After a partnership that has lasted for 20 years, we are still both driven by the desire to revolutionize the world of fashion with continuous innovations, as we have done since the first day we started working together.”

Armani is the second fashion house to endorse the Next Era model, which was designed by YNAP and first launched in a partnership with Valentino in 2017, allowing customers to manage their purchases in a flexible way and benefit from the full potential of all channels.

Orders will be processed through the YNAP distribution network, as well as from distribution centers and Armani boutiques. Using technology, customers will finally have full visibility of the season’s entire collections, enabling them to view a wider assortment and shop all available products, whether they are stocked in boutiques or online.

The new features of the Next Era model will be available on the web site from 2021, with full integration expected from 2022.

Armani customers will have access to the largest assortment of the brand’s products. The idea is customers will never go in a store and not find what they are looking for.  For example, if the customer goes to the boutique and does not find the item, the shopping assistant can order the item from the online store as there will be an integrated inventory. 

Armani customers will also be able to rely on in-store mobile features such as a smooth checkout flow, full product information and availability of online inventory, and faster deliveries.   

Through YNAP’s technology, combined with the Order Management System in partnership with IBM, Armani will have a single view of its inventory and a comprehensive profile of its customer base. 

Next Era’s new functions will allow integrated inventory, which can be managed more efficiently and customers will be able to see what is available on and off-line, from wherever they are browsing.  

Customers will receive their orders faster, too, as the platform will automatically select the best fulfillment option to satisfy the order.  

Earlier this month, further cementing their longtime collaboration, Marchetti joined the Armani group as an independent, non-executive director of the board, the first nonfamily member to be part of the board.

Armani was one of the first designers in Italy to embrace online retailing, launching an Emporio Armani online flagship with Yoox Group in 2007 in the U.S., followed in 2008 by the European Union and Japan in 2009. In 2011, the designer revealed he would also launch an store with Yoox, offering collections from Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Armani Jr., Armani Jeans, EA7 and Emporio Armani.

In 2010, an Emporio Armani online store was launched in China, becoming the first Western fashion brand to open an official e-commerce site in the country, also operated by
Yoox, and banking on the growing importance of the Chinese online market. In addition to Emporio collections for men and for women, the store carried the EA7 sports line, a selection of the Armani Jeans collections, accessories, watches, eyewear and jewelry.

With active customers today totaling more than 4.3 million, YNAP, a subsidiary of Compagnie Financiere Richemont, comprises the multibrand in-season online stores Net-a-porter and Mr Porter; the multibrand off-season Yoox and The Outnet, as well as the online flagships for designer brands ranging from Balmain, Maison Margiela and Missoni to Valentino.

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