Farfetch: Shop in peace with a digital ‘do not disturb’ sign

By Kitty Knowles 8 February 2018
Image: Getty/nicoletaionescu

Farfetch’s high-end fashion shops can tell assistants to leave you alone.

Fed up of overzealous store assistants hassling you while you get you shop?

Farfetch has the answer.

The London-based online fashion retailer is helping high-end shoppers put an end to unwanted chit-chat.  

All by displaying a kind of digital ‘do not disturb’ sign from your smartphone.

Farfetch founder Jose Neves with Natalie Massanet. Image: Farfetch.

Farfetch’s stores of the future

Farfetch already owns the luxury boutique Browns – which it acquired in 2015 – and has a team of nearing 100 engineers testing out other ‘future retail’ concepts.

Now the brand plans to roll out its technology – including the ability to flag a wish list of items via their phones when they stroll into a shop – to other high-end stores.

“The plan is to this year start rolling out very selectively to other partners,” said founder and CEO José Neves. “We think it’s a tremendous opportunity and it’s actually inevitable.”

“Retail shops still operate in the 80s.”

Big ambitions

Farfetch’s ‘private shopping’ experience is just one way the online marketplace (which works with 700 brands) is wielding its digital savvy over brick and mortar rivals.

It also plans to push into new Asian markets working with Dubai’s digital giant Chalhoub – a distributor for labels like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton.

A fundraising round in 2016 valued the firm at around $1.5 billion, it’s since received investment from China’s second-biggest e-commerce site, and its revenues appear to be skyrocketing, increasing by 74% in 2016 to $151.

That isn’t to say world domination will be an easy win – Cartier owner Richemont plans to bid for control of Farfetch’s online competition Yoox Net-A-Porter.

It’s all kicking off in the world of fashion, but at least you can shop for new kit in peace.