LONDON — Net-a-porter.com is opening up access to its social shopping network, The Net Set, to all.
Since its launch in May, access to the free app has been by invitation only, and it was in beta mode. But as of Thursday, The Net Set app will be available to download directly from Apple’s App Store, to either an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch.
The shopping and social media app allows Net-a-porter and the labels it carries to interact with consumers, and lets consumers create their own profile on the app. They can upload their own images; search for items on Net-a-porter using a visual search function; join one of Net-a-porter’s “style tribes,” or have virtual conversations with other customers on the site.
Sarah Watson, vice president of social commerce at Net-a-porter, said since the launch in invitation-only mode, more than 70,000 customers have been engaging with the app, bringing with it a wealth of data. “We are using [the data] to improve the app’s functionality…to inform other internal [Net-a-porter] departments and to help our brand partners get even closer to their current and future customers,” said Watson. “With the public launch will come more users and more insightful data that we can use across the wider business.”
One way the firm has been using the data is to allow Net-a-porter’s buyers to see which products are proving popular on the app — by analyzing customers’ comments and discussions — enabling them to buy more heavily into a piece that’s generating buzz. “It gives us an added insight into trends and what our customers want more stock of or greater variety [in],” said Watson.
Among other insights to come from the app so far, noted Alexandra Hoffnung, creative director of social commerce at Net-a-porter, is the rapid cycle of “micro trends.” “There will be a single item that dominates the live feed for an entire week, from New York to Hong Kong to everywhere in between, then the next week it’s something else,” she said, noting that in recent weeks, Kiini’s crochet-trimmed Tuesday bikini and Aquazzura’s Wild Thing 105 red tasseled sandals are among the pieces that have trended on the app and then sold out.
To mark the app’s public launch, the online retailer has gathered five members of its “style council” – Poppy Delevingne, Laura Bailey, Nicole Warne, Julia Restoin Roitfeld and Chloe Norgaard – to discuss their shopping and social media habits, along with their style inspirations. The interview appears in this week’s edition of Net-a-porter’s online magazine The Edit, which lands on the Web site Thursday.