Net-a-Porter merger with Yoox: marriage of very different high-end fashion sellers

Marriage

When a customer spends £2,500 on a bag so tiny that it just about fits their keys, cards and lipstick, a certain kind of shopping experience is usually expected: plush cream carpets, deferential one-on-one service and a tissue-wrapped purchase handed over in a glossy store bag.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that when Net-a-Porter launched many were sceptical about whether the highest fashion labels could work online – not least because shoppers seemed unlikely to spend thousands on items they had never even touched.

Net-a-Porter confounded expectations, however, by making online shopping simple and elegant. It presented customers with a chic edit of designer pieces, allowing them to consider multiple brands in one place, with clothes shot and styled as beautifully as they would be in a glossy magazine. It also allowed shoppers to hone in on items quickly – selecting shoes or bags or clothing, then filtering the results by designer, colour and size – and to save items to their “wish list”, a dangerous feature that alerts clients when items they covet are close to selling out.

Yoox is a very different proposition. This is past- or end-of-season shopping – and the older clothes get, the cheaper they can be: items are often reduced even more the longer they are on the site. Those who know Yoox well adore it – the discounts are huge, the brands truly high end – but for the uninitiated its slightly chaotic design and presentation of clothes on plastic mannequins can be off-putting.

Yoox’s customers are fashion aware and prepared to work for their style : stalking a pair of Miu Miu sandals for two months until they fall in price by another £100 is the behaviour of a style devotee. But these are not the sort of customers who demand a perfect shopping experience and the latest, hottest offerings. This is a site for fashion fans, but not for the 1 per cent.

Net-a-Porter, on the other hand, and its menswear brand Mr Porter, has always worked hard on branding. The company’s founder, Natalie Massenet, is the perfect ambassador and a front row fixture thanks to her role as chairman of the British Fashion Council.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Hannah Marriott, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st March 2015 17.50 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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