Hearst Luxury Collection is the umbrella group that publishes ELLE, Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. Country has announced The Tower’s upcoming launch. The Tower is an integrated, contextual ecommerce marketplace that consists of four stores, each with one cart and one platform. It also shares back-end technology from the above media brands. Ken Downing, a fashion and retail industry veteran, has been named the chief brand officer for Hearst Luxury Collection Commerce. He will oversee the creation, vision, and marketing strategy for the digital destination of editor-infused digital retail. Kristen O’Hara (Hearst Magazines chief of business) and Carol Smith (HLC senior vice president, publishing director) made the announcement.
“Digital will soon be the dominant channel for luxury purchase within a few years. This transformation in commerce will be led by companies that provide content, curation, customers, and services to luxury brands. The Hearst Luxury Collection is well-positioned to achieve this.” O’Hara stated that Ken’s leadership, deep understanding and ability to identify the trends and items most appealing to luxury consumers, will make our vision for The Tower a reality.
She stated in a statement that Smith is creating a unique shopping destination for his audience. “It will reflect the richness of our luxury brands.”
Downing has over 30 years of luxury retailing experience and will be working closely with the editorial team to create multi-floor virtual shopping experiences that bring each magazine’s unique DNA to life. Each brand store will have its own URL, with a unique point-of view and design. However, shoppers can navigate between brands using cross-pollinated content.
Downing stated that “I am thrilled to be joining Hearst’s talented team as the architect for this bold, innovative shopping platform. It is thrilling and energizing to bring together innovation and unrivaled creativity in a seamless digital retail experience. My passion for customer service and exceeding luxury shoppers’ expectations through rich storytelling and exceptional product selections has been the focus of my career. The Tower combines everything I’ve always considered the key to creating the ultimate shopping destination. I couldn’t be happier.”
Smith stated in a statement that “Ken will collaborate with our print and digital editors and that his extensive knowledge of the industry, along with his strong relationships and connections with those who run it, will bring together exclusive merchandise and niche brands to provide customers with the essential and cohesive shopping experience they are looking for.”
The first store will open in Spring 2022, with three additional stores opening before the end 2022.