For quite some time, global designer eComm powerhouse Net-a-Porter has been the guiding light of digital innovation in the high-end world of stylish shopping. So DECO awaits with eager anticipation their brand new socially-charged shopping app, The Net Set.
It’s always tricky to write a story on project yet-to-be-revealed, but the first signs of Net-a-Porter’s The Net Set are just too exciting not to include in this week’s DECO news digest. From sneaky little previews on Instagram, to a charming intro film on YouTube (above), those Net-a-P’s are keeping us all guessing whilst dropping enough stylish hints to build the buzz. In Natalie Massanet’s own words ‘The Net Set is to mobile in 2015 what Net-a-Porter.com was to desktop in 2000’. Oh my.
Whilst eComm remains a burgeoning though fast-growing channel in South Africa, even globally social media’s integration with online shopping is still very much in its infancy. From the ill-fated Facebook stores becoming a bit of a damp squib onwards, no retailer has yet found a way to seemlessly integrate the social media experience with eComm trade in a standalone platform that they own outright. The challenge mostly being that we are all far too busy updating our Facebook status, ‘gramming away our lives through a filtered lens and Meerkat-ing as we walk down the street to keep up with yet another social network – albeit it powered by our favourite stylish store.
One of the most engaging integrated platforms seen to date has been liketoknow.it, the Instagram-powered service that allows some of social media’s most influential taste-makers to create shoppable links of their featured products, which followers can use to shop directly from Instagram by merely liking the image. It’s a handy revenue stream for bloggers and a useful service for style hunters but is not a social network in and of itself.
The Net Set may well be the game-changer for socially-savvy style hunters.
Enter: The Net Set. If anyone is going to be Queen Bee of the social media retail game, it’s likely to be Net-a-Porter. Those lucky folks at Vogue have already had a preview of how the app works: create a profile, fill it with gloriously stylish designer wares by ‘liking’ Net-a-Porter products and follow influencers – much like an über-stylish Instagram.
But where the platform is likely to win big is in its bespoke image-matching tools. Product ‘style matches’ can be generated by uploading your own photos – be it of you in your favourite outfit at Africa Burn, the print of your favourite Hertex fabric or the most outlandish Met Gala monstrosity you can find – and voilà, the app finds you a whole new wardrobe inspired by your picture. Featured brands have their own pages and, naturally, you can purchase directly from within the app, with delivery to 170 countries around the globe.
The Net Set is to mobile in 2015 what Net-a-Porter.com was to desktop in 2000.
~ Natalie Massanet
From the launch campaign’s social hashtag – #youCANsitwithus – to the varsity-style logo, The Net Set is a knowing nod to the Mean Girls exclusivity that fuels its aspirational quality and must-know buzz. It follows that any virtual connections made on the service are not likes, fans or friends but ‘admirers’ and in true high school clique fashion you can even follow style ‘tribes’ – carefully curated groups aligned for their particular brand of sartorial taste.
And yet, as a (soon to be) freely accessible app, the whole concept is designed to be inclusive (i.e. #youCANsitwithus). Of course, only a fraction of those using the service are likely to be weekly shoppers, but with its cutting edge design and plethora of beautiful things, to the average consumer it is more valuable in its function as style inspiration than a practical eComm channel. In other words, just because you can’t afford it, doesn’t mean you can’t window-shop.
And DECO will be window-shopping plenty.
The Net Set app will be available for download from the iTunes store on 13 May, with an Android version following soon. For more information, you can register your email address for early release at thenetset.com.