What’s to dislike about online shopping? There are the amazing discounts, the convenience of shopping whenever you want and the pleasure of leisurely going through the latest collections. But we all know that there’s more to shopping than just that. Sometimes it’s about the validation from a friend on how something looks or the joy of sharing shopping trivia while lazily browsing through the aisles of your favorite store.
Those are the nuances of true shopping behaviour that Natalie Massanet tried to target with the launch of the Net Set App that Net-A-Porter launched earlier this month.
Think of it as a social destination that combines the conversational ease of Facebook with the visual charms of Pinterest or Instagram but with the additional ease of a direct purchase option. So, you can view, admire, get feedback or opinions and shop without having to leave the page. The App, that was launched on May 13th 2015 combines the ease of online shopping with the pleasures of offline shopping. Natalie Massanet, the founder and executive chairman of the Net-A-Porter group rightly describes it as “a social shopping platform that allows women to create public shopping profiles so that they can go shopping together.”
A social network of shoppers
What the app does for a shopper is that it virtually brings together all the shopping influences that would guide a purchase decision in the ‘real world’ but in a virtual sense. Natalie says, “A lot of people are trying to create social shopping destinations, but they’re missing some of the ingredients. Either they don’t have the scale and reach and audience already, they don’t have the relationship with the brands, or they don’t have the logistics or in-house tech team we have.”
Shoppers on the app can browse through images of latest collections, comment and share it with their friends and have a virtual conversation on what they like and dislike. Inspiration can come from anywhere. The app takes this into account and gives you suggestions for products based on the images you upload. Feeling floral? Upload an image of a flower and find your feed filled with dresses and products with the latest floral prints. Want something similar to Elizabeth Hurley’s iconic Black Versace safety-pin dress? Upload the picture and get numerous suggestions of similar dresses you can find on the site. It’s that simple!
The power of the ‘fashion influencer’
You’ve just found the most gorgeous sundress from Stella McCartney’s latest collection and added it to your list of ‘loved’ products. Not quite a purchase just yet. But chances are once you see that Poppy Delevingne agrees, you might just go for it, despite the slightly steep price tag. That’s the power of the ‘fashion influencer’. And that’s just what Net Set tries to harness with the ‘Style Council’.
The Style council refer to the profiles of 15 globetrotting fashionistas, including Natalie Massanet herself. Users can get a peek into their favorite looks, see what they recommend and almost feel like they’ve gone shopping with their favorite stylistas.
Bridge between brands and customers
The App also allows brands to directly communicate with their customers and understand what’s working and what isn’t. Each designer or brand has its own page where they can comment or post content making it a portal of dialogue between the customers and brands. Users can create their profile and fill it with Net-A-Porter products that they like and get suggestions or ‘style matches’ of similar products that are available. Image recognition to bring you the dress you’ve always been looking for? That sounds pretty amazing.
A goldmine of data
But over and beyond the obvious benefit of enhancing the shopping experience of the online shopper, what the app does is it captures valuable data from its vast customer base. ‘Style Tribes’ are groups that users can either join or create, and contribute images of popular looks that they like. This allows Net-A-Porter to get a glimpse into what could be trending or popular among their customer base, and is nothing short of ‘treasure’ in terms of data.
Back in 2000, when Natalie Massanet launched Net-A-Porter, it was one of the first of its kind. It grew on to become one of the biggest online retailers, taking on giants that were way bigger than itself. With the launch of Net Set, they’re set to do the same for shopping on mobile. Quoting Natalie, “The Net Set is to mobile in 2015 what Net-A-Porter.com was to desktop in 2000.”
She goes on to say, “There’s a new generation of mobile-only, mobile-native shoppers. This is part of future-proofing Net-a-Porter.”
And , we couldn’t agree more.
Net Set is currently available only on IOS, though an Android version is expected to be launched soon.