It has been reported that Cartier among other the high-end providers of watches and jewelry are less than happy with walmart.com following the recent Black Friday campaign.
Headlines were made when it was reported they were selling a Cartier diamond watch online for their Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions for $18,000. Although this was slightly overshadowed by Wal-Mart selling $46,000 watches online.
WalMarts pointed out in their defense, they don’t take possession of items sold in its market place but provides an e-commerce platform in return for a charge.
Cartier has been quick to distance their products from the WalMart website, saying, they could not promise or guarantee the authenticity of the watches sold on this website.
“Wal-Mart is not a Cartier authorized retailer therefore Cartier has no knowledge or involvement in the selling or marketing of this watch nor can confirm the authenticity of the piece,”
They stopped short of asking the online retailer to remove the items from sale. The only statement was made by WalMart themselves.
“If we get complaints about the authenticity or source of a product, we will work with the customer and the seller, and may remove the product from our site.”
$18,000 Cartier Walmart
What Can We Learn From This
Cartier like many other high-end suppliers of expensive luxury products they try to maintain control over distribution to their authorized stores and retailers.
This is done to control quality and authenticity of their products and protect their brand as an aspirational luxury brand to be trusted. They, like so many other high-end providers, have to admit and ultimately accept, their products can end up in unauthorized stores, and can not be guaranteed as being genuine.
Cartier acknowledges that its products can be found in unauthorized stores, both online and brick-and-mortar, raising the risk that faulty or even fake Cartier items may be sold to unwitting customers.
In the past, Cartier have been more aggressive in pursuing the likes Amazon and HauteLook for offering their products, but it seems this time around they are being somewhat reticent, but why could this be?
Perhaps it’s something to do with Wal-Marts’ revamp in an attempt to complete with the likes of eBay and Amazon.com? It could also be the beginning of a new and open era’ where the big players believe the better part of valor is discretion, and allow a gray market to flourish side by side with their main market place. After all, money is money, right?