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Going Live with Net-a-Porter

The website’s new digital TV station promises a win-win combination of shopping and social interaction

Net-a-Porter has long been at the forefront of the luxury fashion ecommerce market, but a number of new launches will widen its lead even more over the next six months.

This week’s launch of its menswear site Mr Porter, and the recent announcement that Net-a-Porter will soon air its own digital TV station on its website, are both evidence of the business’s aggressive growth plans. The launch of Net-a-Porter Live also confirms the etailer’s innovative approach, in terms of both technology and customer engagement.

According to reports, the Live element was born out of an observation by founder Natalie Massenet that visitors to head office were fascinated by Live Shopping Wall, which shows purchases on the site as they happen.

Net-a-Porter Live combines shopping and social interaction in a real-time sharing tool. The site allows customers to see how many users are online and what they are buying. It also lets them build wish lists or share product with friends via Twitter and Facebook.

The fact the site is live means shoppers will be instantly influenced by other shoppers. If an item is in a lot of customers’ baskets, for example, curiosity will prompt other customers to take look.

The appeal to customers is obvious. However, the launch will also be a great asset to Net-a-Porter in terms of analytics. The extra information gained from customers will allow Net-a-Porter to build comprehensive shopper profiles from around the globe. It will also allow it to explore how customers shop and how easily they are influenced by others when choosing what to buy.

It will be interesting to see if shoppers will be able to segment the data - for example to just UK shoppers. Net-a-Porter declined to comment, but it looks set to lead the way in etail during 2011.

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