Net-A-Porter recently announced that it will launch its own mobile (and Apple watch) based social network called The Net Set. The platform combines user images with products and leverages image recognition software to recommend the closest product match from Net-A-Porter’s range, then offer that item for purchase. It’s an interesting play by Net-A-Porter and continues their push into content and publishing where they are already leaders in this field via their shoppable print Magazine Porter. Both of these initiatives see them building and managing a platform themselves, therefore minimising reliance on existing media channels and deepening customer engagement.
Another notable recent social commerce launch is LikeToKnow.it which was launched by RewardStyle in 2014 and is used by brands such as Matches, UrbanOutfitters and Vogue. LikeToKnow.it makes brand and user Instagram feeds shoppable by sending an email with the product featured in any Instagram posts that have been captioned with the LikeToKnow.it URL. The functionality requires registration and is very similar to Like2Buy, another shopping work around that bypasses Instagram’s current commerce and external linking limitations.
If The Net Set app gains traction, Net-A-Porter is uniquely positioned since it will provide a more consistent user experience, minimising the impact of customers bouncing from social network to the site and back, as well as potentially mitigating issues around cart abandonment and inventory availability. Net-A-Porter’s recent merger with Yoox should also enable them to scale and fund required growth in technical infrastructure, user acquisition and inventory range.