A wide-reaching multi-brand, where in-store shopping experience wins again online

[On the cover: the LLF Contemporary boutique]

Four duty free boutiques unite under the LLF (Lungolivigno Fashion) brand: ‘Woman Contemporary’, ‘Woman’, ‘Man’ (Da Giuseppina 1941, the group’s former brand and the first emporium in town), ‘Kids’ (opening June 2022), as well as an outlet. Together they became a widespread multi-brand to give yet another in-store shopping experience, to which attention has recently been added to e-commerce – as explained by the CEO of the Lungolivigno Group, Matteo Giacomelli. On the 26th of March, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the historic Concordia Lounge Bar & Restaurant, the LLF Woman Contemporary concept store (the former Renna Sport store, created in 1963) was reopened. The architectural restyling connected the boutique to the Concordia, thanks to a sliding screen, favouring an experiential continuum. It is from the Hotel Concordia that the Giacomelli family’s journey began, first in the world of hotelerie with other hotel structures and then with shops, which are part of ‘The Best Shops’ circuit. The clothing proposals of international brands and brands are complemented by accessories, of which footwear covers about 30% of the offer, even if from a visual point of view they occupy a central space in the stores.

What is the role of the ‘offline’ store today and how does it integrate with e-commerce?

Unlike many multi-brand stores, LLF is very focused on in-store sales, even if in the last two years – for obvious reasons – online sales have been our lifeline. The balance between the two channels guarantees good profitability. Times are changing and LLF is studying them with great attention, adapting its business model accordingly.

In the era of social media, how has the role of the buyer changed in selecting the products to offer in store, to entice customers?

What has changed profoundly is how we do our research and our timing. Social networks certainly gave us more room for tailoring the experience (the search can be oriented towards different markets), which itself can be done in a more immediate way even if visits to showrooms continue to be important. Brands themselves are evaluated through the amplified image of social channels. As for visuals and setups, they continue to be essential to drive an increasingly fragmented audience to the shops. For example, Millennials and Generation Z are respectively oriented towards the present and the future, towards words or images. The latter are the children of Generation X who still have different purchasing behaviours; it is therefore essential to get to know each target in depth in order to establish a continuous and fruitful dialogue with each one.

Footwear or clothing: which first captures the attention of customers who enter the store?

Both, we hope. In recent times we have tried to offer our customers total looks that fully reflect the LLF philosophy, a sort of “LLF lifestyle”. A mix of garments and accessories that fully express our taste.

How have the needs and, consequently, the demands of customers, both women and men, changed with regards to footwear?

Customers are increasingly attentive to trends and the search for the ‘right’ accessory that often detaches itself from brands themselves, but must always be good looking and sophisticated. Storytelling, relaunched through social networks, is also increasingly important.

What shopping experience does the store offer when purchasing an accessory?

Overall, we offer a selection of accessories that are fresh, cool, and competitive in terms of price and increasingly green (the group is also moving in this direction in terms of hospitality). Our boutiques maintain a varied and distinctive selection. In the men’s boutique, this is obvious because each of the three floors of the chalet that hosts it is characterised by a distinct layout and a mixture of different brands that relate well to lived experiences. The other two boutiques Woman Contemporary and Woman are housed in large, dedicated spaces, naturally maintaining this subdivision.

Is ‘Made in Italy’ still a strong point in footwear?

The “Made In” continues to be a strong point in footwear even if, in our opinion, it is no longer the most important value for consumers. ‘Made in Italy’ and ‘Made in France’ for the luxury segment continue to guide some customer segments, but today other values such as sustainability and above all coolness are decisive in purchasing decisions.

Do you think, then, that customers are truly attentive and sensitive to the sustainability of products?

For a certain type of customer, sustainability is certainly important, but sometimes there is a lack of consistency. New generations are very attentive to these issues because they have been educated in sustainability since childhood.

Do you scout for emerging footwear brands?

To be honest, we are not super pioneers in this. Our list of designers is constantly updated and our buyers do their research, but generally we prefer to include brands that are already at least a little well-established because we know our target audience very well, and it is currently very international. However, we hope that Livigno will open up more and more to Italian tourism.

Classic and evergreen or sneakers and urbanity: how have purchases changed?

Purchases have totally changed. Brands are offering more and more iconic and carryover models, the classics of each are revisited in a contemporary key. There is great attention to detail and evergreens are generally preferred; that is, all those pieces that enter your wardrobe and then never leave. The development of the second-hand market also confirms this trend.

What are the must-have models for women’s and men’s wardrobes?

Thinking of truly essential sets for men: English Derbies, sneakers, and boots (since we are in the mountains); for women – here the discussion becomes more complicated – but I would say black high-heeled pumps, jewelled sandals, sneakers, and boots.

Even in the mountains, the summer season is approaching. Which footwear models would you recommend your customers buy?

It depends on what they will be used for… But perhaps the most transversal choice would be a pair of nice sneakers.