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Net-a-Porter innovates with real time map of customer buys

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Visitors to upmarket fashion website can now see in real time what products fellow shoppers around the world are adding to their baskets and wishlists.

Net-a-Porter Live launches today, offering an interactive shopping experience that the company says is the first stage in its plans to develop its own social network.

Through the live feed, developed from a similar feed used in Net-a-Porter’s own offices, visitors can buy the items that others are choosing, recommend them by ‘liking’ them on Facebook or add them to their own wishlist. The company says this gives a global perspective on what products are popular and with whom. Shoppers remain anonymous with their purchases identified simply by the product and the country of the buyer.

Natalie Massenet, chairman and founder of Net-a-Porter, said: “Visitors to our offices have always been drawn to our screens showing real-time purchases and Net-a-Porter Live is essentially a modified version of this experience.

“Seeing which items are being selected by other customers creates an excitement around certain products and further to that we expect that offering the ability to share these choices with others will turn into a powerful selling tool that will be unleashed worldwide. This is an incredibly exciting step forward and we cannot wait to see what unfolds.”

The feed adds to Net-a-Porter’s customer engagement techniques that already include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and the Net-a-Porter social hub, Fashion Fix. The site also features interactive magazine-type spreads showcasing the clothes on offer. It is, the press release says: “the first stage in the brand’s progressive plans to engage and develop their own social network.

Our view: Of course we had to go and have a look – as no doubt many others will too – and we have to admit it is really rather mesmerising watching sales taking place in real time. As well as giving shoppers ideas for their own purchases and saving time on searching the site if the right item comes up, it also scores a win because it is very easy to click through and get the information. We can imagine shoppers will start spending more time on the site as a result – maybe too much time.

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