Net-a-Porter Creates Social Network for Mobile Luxury Shopping

Net-a-Porter, the online fashion retailer merging with Yoox SpA, unveiled what it says is the first social network for consumers to flaunt their style and buy luxury goods via mobile devices.

Dubbed The Net Set, the app allows consumers to check out the latest trends, recommend products to friends, upload images and shop for more than 350 of the most-sought-after fashion collections, Net-a-Porter said Wednesday in a statement. The brands will gain direct access to communicate with Net-a-Porter’s customers for the first time, according to the London-based company.

“The rise of social media and style blogs has shown that women around the world are inspired by each other’s styles and their closets,” said Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet. “The Net Set is to mobile in 2015 what was to desktop in 2000.”

Consumers are increasingly buying things on smartphones and tablets. The application shows how Net-a-Porter is seeking to widen its influence and extract more value out of its more than 6 million unique monthly visitors. The retailer has more than 4 million fans and followers on social media such as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc.’s Instagram.

The Net Set will first be available for Apple Inc. devices from May 13, the company said.

Yoox agreed in March to buy Cie. Financiere Richemont SA’s Net-a-Porter in an all-stock transaction that will create the world’s biggest online luxury-goods retailer. Massenet will be executive chairman of the new company, to be renamed Yoox Net-a-Porter Group. Richemont will own a 50 percent stake.

by Andrew Roberts