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Brief Published: 13 May 2015

Net-a-Porter’s Net Set: Social Commerce

The Net Set app

Marrying both the ultra-visual and sharing aspects of social media with e-commerce, UK multi-brand e-tailer Net-A-Porter has launched its own shoppable social network dubbed The Net Set, primed for use on mobile devices.

Mimicking the super-popular network Instagram (which now boasts more than 300 million users) in its layout, the invite-only platform allows users to create a profile, share visuals of the latest trends and shop items they like, all seamlessly in-app. They will also be able to follow other consumers as well as more than 350 brands currently on Net-A-Porter, style tribes such as 'Double Denim' or 'The Bohemians', and selected fashion influencers like W magazine's Italian contributing fashion editor, Giovanna Battaglia.

"The Net Set is a very different e-commerce experience [to shopping via a standard e-commerce site] in that you are shopping with other people and being inspired by the things that they're looking at as a whole community," said Alexandra Hoffnung, creative director, social commerce at Net-A-Porter.

The network is an extension of its wishlisting-focused app, The Netbook, launched in 2013 (for more, see our blog post and The Rise of the Social Wishlist), and is currently available on the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. It also echoes Instagram-style shopping app Spring, launched mid-summer 2014 – see Spring Mobile App: Swipe to Buy.

The Net Set also uses image-recognition technology that enables users to easily search for items by matching uploaded photos of clothing seen on the street, online or in fashion magazines to the brand's online inventory.

For more on how retailers are using visual search technology to up their e-commerce efforts, see The Streamlined Sell, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend, and Image-Recognition E-Tail Apps.

For more on the powerful influence of social media on e-commerce, see The Social Sell, Social Media Seduction and Social Commerce for the Luxury Sector. See also Shoppable Content and Instagram for Retail Brands.