If you are in the watch sales space, I don’t need to remind you that the industry is experiencing lots of disruption. While the practice of producing beautiful luxury watches may be well-refined, the practice of selling them to end-consumers is hazier than ever these days. In short, consumers are faced with a number of seemingly overlapping retail options, both online and off-line. Consumers today want convenience and service, and they also want a safe, fair, and comfortable buying experience. These expectations have not always been adequately served with the traditional watch retail model that expects you as a customer to physically be in the right store at the right time. So one of the biggest areas of disruption and transition today involves how to marry the traditional world of brick and mortar watch retail with e-commerce.
One answer is a new e-commerce platform called Troverie. What makes Troverie different is that it isn’t a store, but more of a middle-agent who connects customers with authorized dealers for the watches they have just purchased. Troverie actually conducts the sales transaction, which is fulfilled by an authorized dealer for that watch who has it in stock. Consumers can also opt for an in-store pick if they prefer. For example, if I use Troverie.com to purchase an Omega watch, the actual sale and fulfillment happens at an Omega dealer within the region where I live – who then actually sends the watch over to me.
That same dealer doesn’t have the time, experience, or desire to engage in the complicated art of digital marketing. Some dealers surely will take it upon themselves to market directly to consumers, but those who want to primarily focus on their brick and mortar retail operations while feeling as though they can benefit from additional sales will likely enjoy what Troverie has to offer. Visit the Troverie.com website and their language is refreshingly clear and honest. It will likely take a while for the larger group of online watch buyers to fully understand how Troverie works and why it exists, but for a lot of consumers who want the most straightforward online purchasing experience for their new watch, Troverie can likely add value to their experience.
I’ve known some of the people behind Troverie for a number of years and what gives me assurance about their platform and strategy is specifically that they have not come directly from the watch retail side of the market. Instead, they come from a boutique industry which was there to service needs of watch brands and retailers. This puts the Troverie team in a unique position to adequately consider the needs of three relevant parties here, which are the watch brands, authorized watch dealers, and consumers.
To learn more about the new company I interviewed long-time colleague and manager at Troverie Mr. Fred Levin. Here is what he had to say about Troverie.com, the wristwatch market landscape online, and future outlooks.
Ariel Adams (AA): Tell us what Troverie is and what need it intends to satisfy in today’s watch industry.
Fred Levin (FL): Troverie is a new omni-channel luxury watch retailer, giving consumers a new destination to shop for watches that are fully guaranteed and protected by the manufacturer. Troverie is a nationwide, vertically-integrated, authorized shopping experience, supported by the leading luxury global watch manufacturers and the leading independent jewelers across the country. We have over a dozen Swiss brands involved. Launch partners include: Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Breguet, Breitling, Bvlgari, Girard-Perregaux, Hamilton, Longines, Movado, Nomos, Omega, Raymond Weil, Tag Heuer, Ulysse Nardin, and Zenith.
As you know, the watch industry at large has not significantly addressed, to this point, the online sales component of consumer shopping trends. In fact, as a result, a ‘grey market’ arose in the watch industry selling unauthorized watches. Troverie aims to fill this service gap with its integrated offering with fully-protected authorized watches from a collective, nationwide inventory.
AA: Speaking directly to a consumer, why is using a platform like Troverie wise and how does it make the process of buying a luxury timepiece online both more convenient and more rewarding in the long term?
FL: Troverie offers unparalleled brand assortment, online and offline expertise, the official manufacturer’s warranty, genuine product offering, and an elevated shopping experience. The purchase is on your terms, from the comfort of your home.
Unfortunately, consumers are often unaware of the risks of purchasing online – until after they consummate the purchase – from a ‘grey market’ dealer. Moreover, there isn’t a true omni-channel experience out there with the range of watches Troverie offers. Troverie offers the best of both worlds, in-store professionals to advise and cater to every need or our concierge service which can attend to every need by phone while the customer browses Troverie’s exquisite collection from the comfort of their home. Troverie experts are standing by to answer every question before, during and after your purchase – from personal shopping requests to shipping queries.
Troverie provides the ease of online shopping with the added in-person support of hand-selected expert jewelers, and all of our watches are guaranteed authentic watches, authorized by every brand we carry and always backed by the manufacturer’s warranty. Troverie only offers the best of the best – an unparalleled selection of luxury brands with a best-in-class assortment – and everything we feature on our site is in stock and ready for immediate shipment (which is free) or pickup. As an added bonus to our concierge service, we also include a complimentary watch polishing with every purchase.
Finally, Troverie provides access to the luxury watch market not found in most places around the US. Due to the structure and restrictions of the watch industry, many customers don’t have access to a luxury watch shopping experience unless they are on business or holiday in a major market. Today’s distribution is clustered in the top 25 geographic markets in the country, but the US is a huge country with over 200 serious markets. We provide an extraordinary experience in those markets that do not have other alternatives.
AA: Step back for a moment and tell us about some of the Troverie team’s experience in the watch industry. What types of professional backgrounds does the team have and in what areas do they have the most relevant experience when it comes to producing an effective and satisfying platform to buy watches online?
FL: Our executive team is filled with watch industry experts with more than 100 years of combined experience – across e-commerce, data and customer analytics, brand and business development – with companies such as Cartier, Chanel, Breguet, The Movado Group, LGI Network and The NPD Group.
AA: If a consumer pays careful attention to Troverie, they will notice that it is a matchmaker of sorts between a consumer and a retailer who will fulfill their watch purchase. Tell us why Troverie feels this strategy is a winning formula for both the people who purchase and the people who sell watches.
FL: It is a winning formula because the structure and restrictions of the watch industry leave many customers without access to a luxury watch shopping experience unless they are on business or holiday in a major market. Today’s distribution is clustered in the top 25 geographic markets in the country, but the US is a huge country with over 200 serious markets. We are the bridge between the jeweler with the stock and the customer with the desire, allowing both sellers and customers to access each other for a mutually beneficial exchange – all while providing an easy and elegant shopping experience no matter where you are.
AA: What role will Troverie play if there is a customer service issue? Because Troverie is acting as an intermediary, what are its obligations and responsibility to help resolve or mediate any problems or concerns?
FL: Troverie is there for you for the life of the watch. We always put the consumer first. We don’t have a bias for one brand or shop over another, allowing us to give you objective, authentic guidance, education, and support every step of the way.
We offer a sizing guide online to help customers understand the case size and their wrist size. We can size the watch before it is shipped for free, directly to the consumer. Should a customer pick up their watch in-store, it will be expertly sized on site. And, once your purchase has been made, Troverie experts are there to help with product questions, education and maintenance/care. This support is available both through the Troverie Ambassador, a staff member at each jeweler who has been trained by our client care team, and through Troverie’s central client care team.
If a customer needs a repair, our concierge service is standing by to help initiate a fully brand-authorized repair, under the manufacturer’s warranty, at an approved service center.
If a return is necessary, we allow for free shipping on all returns within two weeks of delivery as long as the watch is unworn, the security tag is still attached, and all original packaging and documents are included. For customers that picked up their watch at a jeweler, it can be returned in-person within the same period.
AA: Looking forward, what role do you hope Troverie will play in the larger online market place for luxury watches that is literally getting “more authorized” each year?
FL: We’ve created a beautiful online experience, partnered with the very best jewelers across the country and some of the most respected watch manufacturers in the world, and curated our collection to please everyone from the casual buyer to the most discerning enthusiasts – all to position Troverie as the main omni-channel destination for all luxury watch needs. And, given we only offer authorized watches, we hope to curb the growth of the grey market and ensure all consumers searching for a timepiece receive the authorized, fully-guaranteed watch of their dreams. troverie.com