Last week, luxury fashion retailer Net-A-Porter launched its eagerly anticipated new social shopping network called ‘The Net Set’ labelled ‘the social shopping network we have all been waiting for.’
As a luxury brand that never devalues its products by offering discounts and offers (apart from their end of season sales), Net-A-Porter’s strategy has always been to focus on creating the very best customer experience and creating loyal customer advocates. This is evident from their launch of Porter magazine last year which blurred the boundaries between content and commerce. In some ways, The Net Set is an extension of this and seeks to create an interactive and inspirational experience for its customers.
In a nutshell, The Net Set allows you to virtually shop with the most stylish women on the planet, including the likes of Poppy Delevigne and Laura Bailey, as well as a community of like-minded fashion fans, sorted into ‘style tribes.’ Features include being able to shop any item directly from the app, and if you upload your own style or outfit, their image recognition tool will find similar styles for you to shop.
Here at Leapfrogg, we obviously love shopping and all things social, so our Social Media and Content Consultant, Hannah and I wasted no time in downloading the app and giving it a whirl.
Currently, the app is ‘invite only’ and after signing up their website, we received a code to register. By not being publically available, Net-A-Porter is perhaps creating an air of exclusivity and buzz around the app and slowly building up its user numbers, whilst refining and tweaking the app. For now, the social network remains invite only, with Net-A-Porter shoppers allowed to sign up with the ability to invite five friends. Pinterest started out in a similar way and now is open to all with over 78.8 million users.
The app itself reflects the look and feel of shopping on Net-a-Porter which is minimal and stylish with their signature black and white branding. The only pops of the colour come from the products themselves which enables them to really take the spotlight.
Signing up was simple and we were given the options of personalising the app in six short steps which included which designers to ‘admire’, style tribes to join, and the option to add products to your wish list called a ‘Love List’ .
There are 13 high-profile designers featured on the app at the moment, and seeing as they stock hundreds I would expect them to be adding more as time goes on. A key feature of the app is that you can discover products and then purchase them within the app itself. The checkout process was very straight forward and the purchase journey is clear, but it could perhaps be made more user-friendly. Apparently, Natalie Massenet created the app as she believes digital shopping is quickly moving to mobile devices with 40% of Net-a-Porter’s transactions taking place on mobile. “The Net Set was essentially us entirely rethinking Net-a-Porter, as if we were building it from scratch today,” she says. “We created it with the expectations of the new socially connected consumer and the latest technology in mind.”
We couldn’t see any video content, which is a shame as their website features videos of their products in use, so it would have been a nice touch to see this integrated into the app and would convey a lot of information easily.
The feature I liked most about the app was the image recognition technology which allows you to upload an image of any kind to the app – whether it be a person, print or an inspiring image which is then matched to their product inventory providing further areas for exploration. For example, uploading an image of our office dog, Nora, brings up a selection of products which match her colouring if you’ve ever fancied emulating her glossy black coat (who wouldn’t!). I imagine this would be a useful feature if you have a colour or pattern you’ve spotted and want to find something similar. However, I couldn’t see a way to filter these products down or find complementary items that don’t necessarily colour match.
All in all, we really enjoyed using The Net Set and imagine we will be checking in frequently. It’s a great way to enhance the experience of shopping with Net-A-Porter and discovering new products. It will be interesting to see how people use the app. Given the price point of Net-a-Porter products, it’s certainly not a place for impulse purchases. I imagine people will use it more for discovery, saving items they like and purchasing later on or using the app for inspiration to find similar items elsewhere.