Hearst Luxury Collection, the banner group for publications including ELLE, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and Town & Country, has announced the forthcoming launch of The Tower, an integrated, contextual e-commerce marketplace made up of four individual stores with one cart, one platform, and shared back-end technology from the aforementioned media brands. Fashion and retail industry veteran Ken Downing has been appointed the group’s chief brand officer of Hearst Luxury Collection Commerce to oversee the vision, creation, and marketing strategy of the editor-infused digital retail shopping destination. The announcement was made by Hearst Magazines chief business officer, Kristen O’Hara, and HLC senior vice president and publishing director, Carol Smith.
“Within a few years, digital will be the dominant channel for luxury purchases. Companies that deliver content, curation, and customers to luxury brands will lead this commerce transformation. The Hearst Luxury Collection is poised to do just that. With Ken’s leadership, deep understanding of the luxury consumer, and ability to identify trends and items that excite them most will turn our vision for The Tower into a reality,” said O’Hara in a statement.
“We are creating a truly bespoke shopping destination for our audience, one that authentically reflects our rich portfolio of luxury brands,” Smith said in a statement.
With over three decades of experience in luxury retailing, Downing will work closely with the editorial teams to create virtual, multi-floor shopping experiences to bring each magazine’s individual DNA to life. Each brand store will live on its brand URL with a distinct point-of-view and design, but shoppers will be able to navigate between brands with cross-pollinated content and navigation.
“I am excited to be joining the talented team at Hearst as the architect of this bold, revolutionary shopping platform,” said Downing in a statement. “Bringing together innovation and unrivaled creativity to a seamless digital retail experience is both thrilling and invigorating. My passion for the customer experience and exceeding the expectations of the luxury shopper through rich, lush storytelling and superlative product selections has defined my career. The Tower brings together everything I have always considered to be the key for creating the ultimate shopping destination. I couldn’t be more thrilled.“
“Our print and digital editors will be collaborating with Ken, and his deep knowledge of the industry—along with his strong relationships with the people who run it–will bring together the most exclusive merchandise and niche discovery brands to offer the vital and coherent shopping experience that customers are seeking,” Smith said in a statement.
The first store will debut in Spring 2022 with the remaining three stores launching before the end of 2022.