Today was a very busy day, firstly starting with a meeting with a luxury company and finishing of the day with a visit to the Association of European Businesses.
We have been introduced to Cartier activities in Russia by Sébastien Vilmot, Retail Director of Cartier Russia.
As many people know, the Russian market offers a lot of opportunities in the luxury sector, especially in Moscow. Cartier opened four stores in the Russian capital up to now. Nevertheless, not everybody knows that the Russian market can be tricky… sometimes. Therefore, the company has managed to apply a slightly different approach in order to fulfill its interests in Russia. One of the ways consists of developing retail operations through independent entities. These operators, even though difficult to manage, represent a very appealing opportunity for Cartier as it allows the company to reach markets that would not have been reached by the French brand on its own. This kind of collaborator is usually well known and has influence in the area where Cartier wants to set up this new store. This way, the company limits the risk and the investment costs, but gain a certain visibility and the ability to target new markets. This independent operator brings in a localized and specialized CRM (Customer Relationship Management) approach; a key asset in the luxury sector.
In the afternoon, we met the CEO of the Association of European Businesses. The meeting was very insightful as it gave us an overview of the opportunities of doing business in the former Soviet Union. The association works with 650 partners and offers lobbying services to promote a friendly political environment for European Businesses. Many of the members are foreign automotive manufacturers willing to direct their investment in Russia. We learned that all industries (except Agriculture) are growing and offer great opportunities for FDI. But we guess that we will hear more on this on our meeting with Michelin tomorrow morning.