NEWS

Sarment launches AI-driven digital luxury platform
Solving the scalability issue in the luxury industry
Sarment is fastest growing luxury company in Asia: FT
Leading luxury into the digital world

Solving the scalability issue in the luxury industry

March 14, 2018

It takes a lot of investment when dealing with high-net-worth individuals. If you want to cater to this demanding demographic, you need to spend a lot of time and resources to peak their interest and cultivate their loyalty.

This is one of the main issues faced by the luxury industry. Companies trying to engage people with high disposable income end up struggling with organic growth because the B2C business is simply too cost-driven.

Sarment, ranked Asia’s fastest growing luxury company by a recent Financial Times ranking, has managed to overcome this issue of scale by adopting a B2B2C model – an approach that is unique in the luxury industry.

The luxury service provider offers gated communities of consumers a digital platform that
provides access to expert content, a luxury marketplace as well as a well-curated array of personal services.

But instead of inviting these high-net-worth consumers individually into this ecosystem,
Sarment has created a technology solution for enterprises that want to offer their customers entry to the luxury world. By working with these businesses – private banks, members clubs, luxury brands etc – Sarment is able to grow its luxury ecosystem by thousands of members at a go.

Sarment’s chief executive Quentin Chiarugi explains that focusing on a network of carefully-selected partners and providing an artificial intelligence-driven platform allows Sarment to solve the scalability issue successfully with its enterprise clients.

“The B2B2C model allows us to leverage off the existing vetting process carried out by our enterprise clients. Consumers are pre-approved by our enterprise clients which ensures that the very specific high-net-worth segment is introduced to our ecosystem,” he says.
 
“Since we position ourselves as a provider of products and services for these high-net-worth individuals, it makes sense to work with enterprises which have already acquired these consumers. This model allows us to reach a broader base of high-net-worth individuals at a much faster pace without the heavy weight of client acquisition costs.”

Sarment’s digital ecosystem, meanwhile, is a major advantage for enterprise clients by giving them an effective customer engagement and retention tool.

In addition to enabling enterprises to offer their high-net-worth customers access to its luxury portal, Sarment goes one step further: it also gives these businesses a back-end customer management system that collects precious permission-based consumer behaviour data.

Says Mr Chiarugi: “With our platform, we knew we had an incredible opportunity to collect dynamic data never collected before to this extent in the luxury industry. We have linked our mobile app to a proprietary back-end software to capture behavioural and contextual consumer data that is frequently updated.”

Mr Chiarugi says that while big data today is essential to the global digital transformation, Sarment provides its enterprise clients with data that is even more valuable.
 
“We provide enterprises with insights and smart suggestions which will help them fine-tune their own marketing and branding efforts, as well as avoid negative interaction with customers who are not interested. Personalisation is the key to better engagement and retention. Our proprietary artificial intelligence-enhanced system developed by Sarment is the first in the luxury world allowing for the collection of dynamic and contextual data from the elusive high-net-worth individual segment.”

The entire package has already proved to be an early success with enterprise clients.

Since starting development on its digital platform last year, Sarment has already partnered with one of Southeast Asia’s largest banks. While giving the bank’s gated
community access to Sarment’s ecosystem of premium products and luxury experiences, the bank will also use the system’s smart technology to understand its clientele better and provide a more personal approach for each individual.

Mr Chiarugi says: “Our B2B2C model allows us to extend our technology to address the need for frequent but complex interactions with enterprises’ high-net-worth consumers. The enterprises’ gated communities provide exactly the right segment of clientele for our luxury ecosystem as high-net-worth individuals are often early adopters of disruptive technologies with the means to use these to the fullest.”

Sarment is fastest-growing luxury company in Asia: FT

February 26th, 2018

Sarment has been ranked Asia’s fastest-growing luxury company in the Financial Times’ inaugural FT 1000 High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific list published this month.

Coming in at number 54 out of 1,000 companies, Sarment was the first to be listed in the luxury goods sector.

The FT ranking is based on compound annual growth in revenues between 2013 and 2016. It includes companies from Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Source: Financial Times

Leading luxury into the digital world

February 8th, 2018
 
Have you ever walked into a luxury boutique and seen someone glued to the phone or taking multiple photos of the merchandise?

That was what made Sarment, a luxury lifestyle service provider, decide it was time to change the luxury game.
 
Chief executive Quentin Chiarugi says, “Everywhere you go in Asia, people are constantly on their mobile phones – even while they are in the most luxurious boutiques. Asians clearly want a different shopping experience and, four years ago, there was no single model that gave them digital access across all the luxury genres. Something new had to be created to cater to this need.”

The time was ripe for a digital disruption. 

As CEO of what was then a luxury company active in providing premium products and exclusive services in a traditional business model, Mr Chiarugi and the company’s founder, Bertrand Faure Beaulieu, immediately took steps to migrate Sarment’s physical marketplace onto a digital platform.

The challenge: how to become the ultimate intermediary between luxury brands and high-end consumers.

“We were already the link between luxury brands and very high-profile individual clients. We just needed to translate this interaction into a protected online environment that was trusted by both sides,” he explains.

Since its inception in 2012, Sarment had built-up a large network of high-net-worth customers who want more than just another new luxury product.

“It wasn’t just about buying something new anymore. We saw that our clients wanted a whole experience around their purchase. This is where our concept of total and constant service around a product emerged. It meant a whole new definition of service.”

Sarment’s new digital platform combines a luxury marketplace together with exclusive personal services on a mobile app.

Mr Chiarugi points out that, in the current luxury landscape, online e-tailers do not offer personal services; and while there are many hundreds of so-called “concierge services” out there, none of them offers access to e-commerce marketplaces.

While Sarment had always offered its clientele both fine products and personal services, it had reached a point where the company could only handle so many in-person interactions given the very high service standards it wanted to maintain.

“The demand for personal services, in particular, has grown so dramatically in the last two years and technology was the only way forward. Going digital and automating as much of the interaction process as possible would enable Sarment to scale our business model to meet this booming demand, as well as give our clients a sustainable solution for on-demand access.

“We already had the service talent and all the necessary operations were in place. The trick was to circumvent all the industry barriers by creating a platform that could be flexible enough to adapt itself and evolve with both our clients and industry trends.”

Sarment works with luxury partners such as top-drawer fashion brands, five-star hotels, luxury carmakers, fine dining restaurants, art galleries and more. “Ambassadors” are constantly curating the platform’s offerings, providing specialist advice in all the consumer categories, and giving clients privileged access to luxury partners. Built over decades of relationships, this modus operandi is what makes Sarment’s proposition unique.

How has this been migrated onto a digital platform?
 
“Because of our closeness to the luxury brand partners, we identified their universal need to reach customers in a highly-controlled environment. These are companies that are very protective of their branding and reputation. The customers, meanwhile, wanted better service and are willing to share personal data with the right service provider in order to get an elevated experience.”

Sarment’s mobile app was, therefore, designed as a secure, personal gateway to the luxury world. It started investing seriously into artificial intelligence technology in 2016 and will roll out its digital offerings across the major Asian markets this year.

Says Mr Chiarugi: “If you are going to evolve your business model to meet the challenges of the new era, you cannot afford to skimp on tech investment. We are investing heavily but prudently to ensure our transformation stays relevant in the long term. Technology has raised very deep questions in our industry and, unless we tackle these with our best resources, we will not be able to sustain our existence.

“The luxury industry is extremely complex because it is heavily dependent on human interactions and the personal touch. Technological advancements, such as AI or blockchain, will pull the luxury industry into the new era and take security and personalisation to whole new levels.”