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Net-A-Porter creates global community through real-time shopping map

August 2, 2011

Net-A-Porter Live's network


Online retailer Net-A-Porter is driving sales and creating a sense of community through an interactive global map that highlights consumer purchases in real-time.

The microsite is a large globe on which shopping bags pop-up where a consumer is purchasing a product or adding an item to her shopping bag. The new Web feature is an expansion of the brand’s live-purchasing screens in its London offices.

“[Net-A-Porter] is one of the leaders in the high-end, luxury designer market and this creates a nice visual map of their influence,” said Mary Elise Chavez, director of creative strategy at Blue Fountain Media, New York.

“[The map] shows their worldwide reach and global footprint,” she said.

Ms. Chavez is not affiliated with Net-A-Porter, but agreed to comment as a third-party expert on digital marketing.

All over the map

Net-A-Porter Live is a full-screen global map on which Web site users can see where and what other consumers are buying at that moment.

Each time a consumer adds an item to her shopping bag or purchases an item, a black shopping bag pops up on the map on the shopper’s hometown.

Some items are also highlighted on the map, above the bag that marks the buyer’s location.

The live, interactive Net-A-Porter globe

A running sidebar of the items is listed on the right-hand side of the map along with the town in which they were purchased.

When the side bar products are clicked, a mini window opens up revealing the product information, additional views and the option to buy.

Each bag on the map is also clickable, revealing which products are in each bag.

Fellow shoppers can buy, “like” the item on Facebook or add the product to their own wish lists.

Net-A-Porter is hoping this interactive map inspires consumers and allows them to discover new products and form a dialogue through recommendations and advice, per the retailer.

The global live site also tells viewers how many people are on at any given time.

The product page pops up instantly to allow for easy shopping

On the dot

The Web feature was inspired by the real-time purchase plasma screens that are located in Net-A-Porter’s London offices.

Having always been a focal point for employees and office guests, the retailer wanted to share this feature with its fans.

Net-A-Porter is no amateur when it comes to social shopping or video features.

The online retailer uses its YouTube channel and a specified Facebook tab to host “Net-A-Porter TV” which features behind-the-scenes runway footage, designer interviews and staffer top-picks.

Net-A-Porter is also dedicated to content and publishes its own weekly magazine on its Web site.

The Global Live feature is the brand’s next step in its plans to engage and develop its own social network, per Net-A-Porter.

Ms. Chavez does have a few tips for the online retailer to make the real-time shopping feature even more engaging and effective. 

“It would be interesting to see this broken down further to provide a type of trending analysis of the most popular designers and products in different areas of the world,” Ms. Chavez said.

“They could use Facebook Connect to pull in activity from Facebook users and their friend circles to make it even more dynamic,” she said.

As for additional brands looking to embark on an interactive, real-time site, they need to consider the brand’s resources and make the site practical for data-gathering as well as consumer engagement.

“When considering this direction, brands should think impact and reach,” Ms. Chavez said.

“Most importantly, interactive features should focus on conversions and creating a sense of urgency to buy,” she said.

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York