Tourneau’s Ira Melnitsky

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“My professional background is somewhat diverse, but much of it is in luxury retail. I spent many years at Salvatore Ferragamo USA. I spent a number of years at Tumi. In both cases, I was heavily involved in e-commerce. At Ferragamo USA I launched their first U.S. e-commerce website. At Tumi, in about 2005, I was also responsible for the e-commerce business globally. While I would consider myself a luxury retailer, the last 10 years has been involved in e-commerce.

I always had an inclination and an interest in watches. I had a personal favorite that I wore a lot. When I found out about the Tourneau opportunity it felt perfect because in all my travels to malls and shopping centers around the country, I always visited the Tourneau stores. It was one of those magnets that drew me in, so I was very familiar with many of the stores before the opportunity was even presented to me. It felt like a very natural, comfortable fit.

We are and want to be the industry leader. We want our stores to be the industry leaders, we want our sales professionals to be the industry leaders and we’ve put a lot of initiatives in place since I joined the company. We’ve renovated a number of stores, we’ve launched a number of new training programs in support for our people, and when it comes to digital, we don’t want that to fall behind—we want to lead in that as well. They work very well together. Moving somewhat in the omni-channel direction, we can enable all those parts and have them fit well together, like a puzzle.

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The new website is a project that we’ve dedicated a lot of resources to, and it was very much about keeping Tourneau in its leadership position and recognizing the fact that both consumers and brands today communicate differently, research differently and shop differently. The industry is evolving and will evolve and we want to be at the forefront of that.

The website does three things for us. It helps us partner with the brands to really tell their story in a much more interactive and rich way and enables the customer to have a thoroughly enjoyable research experience. It also enables us to connect with our customers in an omni-channel way by enabling our people in our stores to leverage the web for the customer’s benefit.

The concept of doing it the customer’s way is much more real today than it was before, and clients have responded accordingly. In the first month, we’ve set records with the most expensive watches that we’ve sold online.

There are some advantages to buying from Tourneau. One is that we extend all manufacturers’ warranties to five years. We go beyond what many of the watch brands offer. For our certified pre-owned business, we service every watch and provide a two-year warranty, so you’re buying what you think you’re buying and we will stand behind it. Not everyone does out there.”

as told to Hyla Bauer