Yoox Net-a-Porter will become one of the first companies to use WhatsApp to sell directly to its customers, as it seeks a leg up on competitors like Farfetch and luxury brands’ own e-commerce platforms.
Yoox Net-a-Porter says that it’s currently developing new technology that will allow its highest paying consumers to buy merchandise directly through Whatsapp, which comes just in time as the e-commerce market for luxury brands including Prada and Versace becomes more competitive.
The e-commerce platform already communicates with its top clients via the messaging app, with chief executive Federico Marchetti confirming plans to extend the use of the mobile app.
The new announcement from Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNP)comes soon after Net-a-Porter’s founder Nathalie Massanet publicised last week that she’s joining competitor Farfetch’s board, highlighting her rivalry with Yoox founder Federico Marchetti, who also orchestrated the merge between Yoox and Net-a-Porter in 2015.
So far, the fashion industry has been slow to capitalise on the opportunity of using messaging to sell to customers. In China, WeChat has over 700 million users, many of whom have their bank accounts linked to the messaging app. According to digital researcher L2, while the majority of global luxury brands use messaging for marketing (92%), only a very small proportion actually use it to sell directly to consumers.
Around 40 percent of Net-a-Porter’s revenue is generated from around two percent of its client base, aka EIPs, or “Extremely Important People.” YNP which sells $7,000 Dolce and Gabanna handbags and $12,000 Oscar de la Renta gowns via e-commerce platforms like Net-a-Porter and Outnet is trying to get in closer with the EIPs.
Yoox Net-a-Porter says its focusing on Whatsapp opportunity because Net-a-Porter’s mobile consumer base places more than twice the number of orders than its desktop customers, and on average, those purchases are more than twice in value. The company says that most of its biggest sales to its EIPs have already been made by chatting to those customers via Whatsapp.
Net-a-Porter says its still testing out the technology and no release date has been scheduled so far. No details have been given on how the payment feature of the texting app would work either.