At a Glance

What they wanted to do:

  • Improve engagement with customers
  • Create a public purchasing trends visualization applications

What they did:

  • Created NET-A-PORTER Live using Google Maps API

What they accomplished:

  • Enhanced visitor experience through social shopping discovery
  • Increased customer engagement and drove new visitors to the site
  • Attracted fashion media buzz

"The fact that the vast majority of our customers are already familiar with Google Maps has really helped spur interest in the feature and the site and the feedback we have received has been really positive."

—James Christian, Head of Labs,NET-A-PORTER

About Google Maps API

Google Maps API makes it easy for companies to include fully interactive Google Maps on their public and internal websites. The Maps API helps your customers and employees make the right business and purchasing decisions by visualizing important information on a familiar map.

For more information, visit https://enterprise.google.com/maps

"Google Maps API was easily integrated into our system and up running in no time at all."

"—James Christian, Head of Labs,NET-A-PORTER

NET-A-PORTER showcases shopping trends with Google Maps API

Business

NET-A-PORTER has established itself as the world's premier online luxury fashion retailer,offering express worldwide shipping to 170 countries( with same day delivery to London and New York). With an acclaimed editoria format NET-A-PORTER features collections from over 350 of the world's most sought-after designers, including Chloe,Marc Jacobs,Stella Mc Cartney and many more. The group also manages THE OUTNET, its fashionable outlet. The two sites reach more than 4 million unique users monthly. In 2011 the company launched MR PORTER, a global retail destination for men's style, combining editorial content and the best in international menswear.

Challenge

Innovation and technology are the foundation of NET-A-;PORTER's success. The company's 120-member IT team delivers and maintains the group's fast, responsive and reliable websites,while also hunting for new ways to bebefit the business. In 2008,one team member decided to look at how NET-A-PORTER could make a better use of its wealth of data on the buying habits of its global consumers. The team-member realized that this information could be used not only by the company's business insights team in the form of spreadsheets,graphs and pie charts, but that it also could be visualized in real-time to benefit the organisation more widely.

The NET-A-PORTER engineer created a Google Earth mash-up displaying global sales as they happened by tapping into information about customer locations and purchases. As transactions were processed, shopping bag icons popped up on the Google Earth map identifying purchases and pinpointing buyer locations. The initial application was such a hit with the team that it was introduced into the organisation's open plan office. Displayed on plasma screens across the office, the idea was to generate buzz amongst staff every time a sale happened anywhere in the world.

" There is something highly compulsive about being able to view purchases as they are made and as soon as we put these screens up we noticed visitors to our office would stop and stare at them. "explains James Christian, Head of the Labs team. "We started to wonder if there were further ways in which we could exploit it within the business. "

With a global customer base,NET-A-PORTER Founder& Executive Chairman Natalie Massenet saw an opportunity to extend this idea to the company's broader community. She wanted to capitalize on the fascination that these screens had generated amongst staff and guests and provide a window into customer purchasing habits worldwide.

Solution

After looking at different mapping options for visualizing this sales data,NET-A-PORTER chose Google Maps API to expand on the original concept. The web-based application lets users build and integrate fully interactive Google maps on public and internal website;the framework.

could therefore be easily customized to fit with NET-A-PORTER's site design. "Google Maps API was easily integrated into our system and up running in no time at all. There was a wealth of information available to the developer community advising how to adopt Google Maps, so we found the set-up process very straightforward," explains Christian.

Results

NET-A-PORTER Live,the publicversion of the internal sales visualization application, lets customers discover items they like by watching other users' activities; they can then purchase, share or add those items to their own wish lists. It's a social shopping innovation on that NET-A-PORTER hopes will revolutionize online shopping.NET-A-PORTER Live has also achieved recognition amongst the influential fashion press. Featured highlighting its global customer insights have appeared in both print and online media, including The Daily Telegraph,The New York Post,Grazia UK, Grazia Germany,marieclaire.co.uk and Le Figaro.

"The fact that the vast majority of our customers are already familiar with Google Maps has really helped spark interest in the feature and the site and the feedback we have received has been really positive, " notes Christian. "NET-A-PORTER prides itself on its relationship with its customers, and by sharing real-time information via Google Maps and adding elements of social networking we are helping to encourage engagement with our brand.

"The extra reliability provided by Google Maps API, which includes access to 24-hour support, has meant that NET-A-PORTER Live has experienced no maintenance or downtime issues since launching.

NET-A-PORTER Live has proved an exciting way to get people talkingvabout us and created an innovative way for our customers to discover the latest trends abd styles. With constant innovation at both Google and NET-A-PORTER, we're already looking at new and exciting ways to extend the use of NET-A-PORTER Live within the business," Christian concludes.