Can Net-a-Porter Really Do This?      

netaporter-socialmediaWe’ve been somewhat skeptical of Net-a-Porter’s online moves previously, when they launched their “shoppable pages” concept early last year. While we loved loved loved (and still do) the idea of the print magazine Porter, the digital tie-in for instant shopping was less than ideal at release time. As they’ve worked out these bugs and gained momentum, Porter’s print to purchase concept is coming to fruition.

So what’s next for Net-a-Porter? How about taking over the social realm?

“The brand this week launched The Net Set, an app that brings together social media, fashion and shopping communities, in an effort to also close the loop between browsing and buying,” writes Shareen Pathak in Digiday. “Available on Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad, The Net Set wants to link the retailer’s consumers socially — and to their wallets.”

This idea of an engaged community is the foundation of life on the Web. Long before Facebook became ubiquitous this was the goal of many a brand. Net-a-Porter is envisioning an environment in which their customers and the brands that the company carries have unfettered access to each other.

“Each designer will receive its own brand portal on the network, which will let it carry on its own communication with its customers,” Pathak notes. “Like Facebook Groups, The Net Set features ‘tribes,’ sets of user-curated clubs around certain style themes, like monochrome, double denim or rock chic.”

Add in direct, one-click access to purchase, and this could be a hit.

“Retailers have long lamented that there is no direct way to get people to leave Twitter or Facebook and get people to come and shop — on Instagram, retailers use third-party fixes like Like2Buy to make that happen. The app essentially replaces Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest — at least, that’s what its creators hope,” Pathak continues.

A couple of years ago this might have been crazy talk. But with more brands abandoning their FB feeds  and young consumers leaving Facebook by the millions, now just might be the time for this to take off.