DFS Chairman and CEO, Benjamin Vuchot has told TRBusiness that the ‘opportunities are endless’ for the retailer’s newly launched ‘DFS World’ metaverse and that fashion is due to play a more important role soon, in addition to the company’s other product categories which will feature in the future.
“We will continue to update DFS World, with fashion playing an especially large role as we continue to explore digital collectibles, and to fulfill our aim of housing the entirety of our offering across all categories, bridging the physical and digital worlds,” Vuchot shared with TRBusiness in some exclusive comments. “The opportunities are endless,” he added.
Vuchot says he is ‘enormously proud’ to be the first luxury travel retailer to offer its customers a metaverse shopping environment more than 60 years after its bricks-and-mortar retail empire was created.
“It is incredibly exciting and satisfying for me to know that, more than 60 years after our company was created, our pioneering spirit is as strong as ever. We are still taking our customers and our brand partners to new destinations – and this latest destination is the metaverse.
“It has been calling to us for a while and we are enormously proud to be the first luxury travel retailer to enter this space.
“We have seen some incredible applications of the metaverse and virtual worlds – for instance, early adopters within fashion are using the space to enhance their brand positioning and engagement with younger consumers.”
Vuchot believes that there is huge potential to fully leverage the metaverse in travel retail. “We are in a great position to quickly adapt as it evolves, particularly since ‘DFS World’ is fully accessible in both mainland China and the rest of the world.”
As reported, DFS’ first foray into the metaverse coincided with the launch of the company’s biggest-ever Annual Beauty Campaign, for which the company partnered with Guerlain, Estée Lauder, YSL Beauty and Giorgio Armani to create experiential multi-brand and premium brand zones.
On the topic of other disruptive technology and digital platforms, TRBusiness asked Vuchot how NFTs (non-fungible tokens) might be used by DFS in the future.
“NFTs are poised to disrupt almost every aspect of the luxury experience due to their unique characteristics and we’ve already seen many of our brand partners begin exploring this space.
“At DFS, we always strive to provide our customers with a memorable shopping experience from online to offline. New advancements such as NFTs offer us yet another opportunity to elevate our own innovation and excitement to meet their demands.”
Developments in technology and ecommerce platforms clearly accelerated during the pandemic, as did contactless services, with the implementation of social distancing measures in travel retail environments.
In what is being defined as an ‘untact’ era (promoting contactless services) TRBusiness asked DFS how it is continuing to adapt its business.
“I think that customers have been wanting more seamless and effortless service for many years – the pandemic has accelerated that, and I see this as yet another of the silver linings I mentioned earlier,” added Vuchot.
“Increasing our focus on hygiene and personal space has led to some wonderful innovations in the ways customers not only buy products but are able to try them out in stores with AR/VR technology, or immerse themselves in the metaverse and have a completely contactless experience.
“We have also introduced our Guided Shopping application to empower our Sales Associates and enable them to connect with customers remotely with the ability to complete transactions.”
The full-length interview with Benjamin Vuchot will appear in the Top 10 Operators Report e-zine to be published in early October and will be available to pick up at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.
*NFTs are a record on a blockchain which is associated with a particular digital or physical asset.