Italian upmarket retailer Rinascente, one of the major department store chains in the country, made its e-commerce debut with a dedicated website. The online store features 15,000 products from 650 brands in all product categories, spanning fashion, accessories (including Italian and international footwear and eyewear brands), beauty, food and design. It complements the retailer’s nine brick-and-mortar stores across the country and is part of the omnichannel strategy of its parent company, Central Group.

Rinascente’s e-commerce website is not a response to the coronavirus crisis, but the result of three years of planning and implementation with the Milan flagship store on Piazza Duomo, which serves as a logistics hub.

The website aims, in fact, to recreate the atmosphere of the physical stores – with Rinascente’s iconic arches sprawling at the top of the homepage – and includes gamification features to keep visitors engaged. It can be accessed through both desktop and mobile devices, with the latter expected to generate 70 percent of total views.

“For Italy, we wanted a website that replicated, as far as possible, the experience and pleasure we give our visitors in physical stores. So, here is a website in complete Rinascente style – coordinated, complementary and endowed with the same DNA as physical stores,” said Rinascente’s chief executive, Pierluigi Cocchini.

Rinascente.it offers free shipping in Italy for purchases over €30, as well as a click & collect in-store pick-up service. Shipments are currently available only in Italy, but in the future deliveries will also be possible abroad, to reach potential customers who may not have been familiar with Rinascente.

Plans are also in the works to expand the website with a marketplace section for the Milan store’s 120 luxury retail concessions.

Rinascente has invested €20 million in the digital platform, which, according to the fashion-industry trade journal WWD, is expected to generate revenues of €80 to €100 million in two years. The company did not elaborate on the forecast.

The 155-year-old retailer was acquired in 2011 for €205 million by Central Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the Thai retail group Central Group, which also operates such department and retail stores as KaDeWe, Oberpollinger and Alsterhaus in Germany.