LONDON — As the e-commerce landscape gets more competitive, Net-a-porter has looked — once again — to the media world for solutions. It has just launched Porter Digital, a multilingual editorial platform designed to bring the company’s current content offer under one roof, including a new daily content site called porter.com.
Fusing content and commerce has been at the company’s core since its inception as a shoppable magazine. It already has a weekly digital magazine, The Edit, and Porter, its bimonthly print title. With the new Porter Digital platform it is looking to create a more integrated approach, bring all of its media outlets together and respond to customers’ demands for more content.
“We saw the incredibly positive effects that our content has on our audience from loyalty, engagement, customer acquisition through to commercial sales,” said Lucy Yeomans, Porter editor in chief and global content director at Net-a-porter, Yoox Net-a-porter Group. “We found that 90 percent of our audience was reading fashion content more than once a week and 65 percent was reading it more than once a day. Also, by talking to our readers both from Porter and The Edit, we realized that they were just desperate for more.”
As part of the new development, digital content will sit on its own dedicated web site, porter.com, as well as being integrated on Net’s landing page. Parts of The Edit — which has been renamed Porter Edit — will continue to feature across the platforms in the form of weekly cover stories featuring models and celebrities, whom Porter shoots in-house.
“Having original content shot is a massive USP and we want to continue building on it because I don’t think anyone else is doing that. The public relations that we gain from all of our celebrity profiles is incredibly important in terms of driving traffic and new customer acquisition,” she added, pointing to the two latest covers with model Andreea Diaconu and Penelope Cruz.
The new platform was specifically designed for mobile to answer to the shift in consumer behavior, with 50 percent of Net’s total orders being placed via mobile devices. The content is also translated into four languages — English, French, German and Mandarin — in line with the company’s global outlook.
The introduction of daily content will offer the opportunity for more reporting and coverage of key social and red carpet events, said Yeomans. Outside of fashion and beauty, the editorial team plans to cover interiors, culture and work on an “incredible women” section with profiles of accomplished women across different fields.
“Instead of having a ‘celebrity’ or a ‘people’ section, we have the ‘incredible women’ category. It’s something that we have developed a lot in print and through our series of incredible women talks with everyone from Sophia Coppola to the conservationist Jane Goodall. We want to make sure that this spirit, which I think is a little unique in the magazine marketplace, continues through the digital,” said Yeomans.
Last year, Yeomans also recruited Sarah Bailey, former editor in chief at Hearst’s Red magazine, to further develop the publication’s event strategy and build it as a stand-alone brand.
Alongside the “incredible women” talk series, a new “incredible fashion” program is in the works for later this year, as well as a new project that will revolve around a charitable cause, building on last year’s Save the Elephants initiative spearheaded by Porter and model Doutzen Kroes through a series of events, print and digital stories.
“We love the idea of fashion as a force,” added Yeomans, also highlighting the importance of establishing a dialogue with the reader rather than a one-way conversation. “I do believe, being in that retail environment, the customer is always right. There has been a tendency in the past for [editorial] to be a one-way conversation. These publishing brands are preaching to you whereas we are absolutely in a dialogue. All it is, is a service to her.”
Enabling sales through content is another key part of the service, which Yeomans wants to continue to focus on through the new daily content: “We found in all our research that the content commerce experience for her is not something that she has a problem with. It’s just useful. It’s not such a hard route to purchase.”
Net-a-porter’s private clients — dubbed EIPs, or extremely important people — make up some of the most engaged Porter audience, using editorial as a reference to inspire their purchases. Yeomans also pointed to an opportunity to attract “the next generation” through the new platform by using more varied content to tap into different elements of the online audience and speak to readers in different ways.