Net-a-Porter and ecomm: what can we learn?

i.LEVEL was invited to the celebration of Porter Digital at London’s Southbank last week. We don’t attend too many events like these, our time is valuable and we tend to focus on the leading trade shows such as Pure, Moda, etc.

But we were intrigued to see what we could learn from Net-a-Porter, one of the UK’s most successful online fashion retailers, in terms of tech, ecommerce and overall trends. We weren’t disappointed.

Here are the chief takeaways we gleaned:

1. It’s all going mobile: Fashion and luxury, and health and beauty retailers have seen the most dramatic rise in UK mobile sales, witnessing a 56% increase year-on-year according to research by Criteo.

Over half of Net-a-Porter’s traffic is now from mobile devices. Busy women aren’t sitting at home on their laptops when they get home from work, they’re reading and purchasing on their mobiles during their morning commute or lunch break. Or they’re ordering from their iPad late at night. That’s how it is.

Since adopting ‘mobile-first’ technology and ‘one click’ to purchase, Porter Digital’s mobile traffic has doubled. They now offer an instant transition from inspiration to purchase, driving online sales.

In short, it’s crucial that fashion brands ensure their ecommerce operations are optimised for mobile.

2. Video is also where it’s moving: Porter Digital and Net-a-Porter have seen significant success with video. The group is now doubling its video output with two original segments going live every week.

This video content is seamlessly integrated with the mobile tech allowing readers to watch videos and purchase items with one click, even from their phone. It’s working.

One of our client stock control brands, Just Trade, are a great example of how small fashion brands can produce compelling and engaging video content on a very limited budget. You can view an example of their content here.

3. Good content helps: In a press release following the Southbank event, Net-a-Porter mentions the word ‘content’ seventeen times. Yes, we counted! Porter Digital releases new content every day and, more importantly, it’s all entirely shoppable. All of it, except some of the cover shoots with celebrities.

Most fashion brands aren’t of the size to produce this level of content. Neither do they have the resources. But what was clear at the Southbank is that brands need a way of getting customers to return. One is obvious – in-season variety and constantly updated collections – but it’s also clear that creating good fashion editorial (even if it’s on limited resources) is another way of getting customers to return.

As for ourselves, we’re constantly updating, improving and developing our fashion stock control platform to assist our fashion brands with managing their stock. As an example, our software team in Bedford is currently working on an integration with a major grocery multiple, adding to our 35 integrations with high street retailers and ecom platforms.

We’ll leave the final comment for Porter Digital: “omni-channel perhaps presents the greatest opportunity of all”. And i.LEVEL can help with that – we are the UK’s leading fashion stock control solution that helps brands manage their stock across multi-sales channels. Get in touch!

 

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