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Chanel Bags Might Be Available Via E-commerce in Five Years, Or They Might Not

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Chanel's haute couture, via Getty

Although more and more luxury brands are launching e-commerce shops, Chanel's CEO Bruno Pavlovsky has essentially said "thanks, but no thanks" to the concept of selling online. Though you can buy Chanel's beauty products and some accessories online, the company has zero plans to sell their clothes or bags on the internet anytime soon. Pavlovsky told Business of Fashion:
"Our clothes are quite sophisticated and one of our strengths is alterations. To be able to wear Chanel clothes, you need to try them on. You need to be in the fitting room. You need to have a tailor who alters the clothes to fit exactly to your body. I think it's part of Chanel. It's more than just our service. It's part of our differentiation to have ready-to-wear that is perfect for our customers."

Looks like BoF had the same question we did, which was "well, why not sell bags online then? It's not like you have to tailor them to fit." Pavlovsky replied:

"It's a strategic choice. It's a choice to say, 'Guys, you can see whatever you want on the internet, but we want you to come to the boutique, because we feel that in the boutique we can give you the right understanding of the brand.' So, yes we could sell handbags on the internet. But my feeling is that it's not qualitative enough and it's not the kind of service that we want to give to our customers — at the moment."

Ah, but there's the catch: at the moment. Pavlovsky admits that the crushing tide of the internet may be too much for them, and that Chanel clothes could become available online within 2-5 years. So why all the insistence about going into a store and seeing the products in person?

A couple of things: one, Chanel still wants to stay exclusive, and limiting the number of people who can buy your stuff is one really good way to do that. Net-a-porter may have made high fashion available to anyone with a mailing address, but Chanel still wants you to have to go to Paris, New York, or another major world city. Two, with all their obsessive focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail, Chanel is able to convince people that the insane prices are worth it once they can see and touch the goods in person.

In the meantime, wannabe Chanel shoppers will just have to hit eBay like everyone else.
· CEO Talk: Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Fashion, Chanel [BoF]
· Brad Pitt and His Searching Eyes Fail to Solve the Universe's Mysteries for Chanel No. 5 [Racked]
· So, Exactly Where Can You Take That Chanel Hula Hoop Bag (Besides a Runway)? [Racked]