Despite our comparatively small population, Australia forms Net-A-Porter’s third biggest market globally. Such success, explains Net-A-Porter’s global director of sales and marketing, Lisa Bridgett, lies in the brand’s ability to continually satisfy the Australian woman’s desire for unique product. Indeed, the site’s expert fashion curation is underpinned by the highest level of customer service. This, coupled with the recent launch of the regionally dedicated website and distribution centre in Hong Kong, means that this ranking is unlikely to change anytime soon.
That said, a foreign retailer’s success in other international markets does not always translate to success in Australia. Simply rolling out a generic marketing strategy often won’t cut it, especially in the tumultuous, post-GFC retail climate. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, it is important to localise your brand by making it culturally relevant, accessible and desirable. As Bridgett – who was in Sydney recently for the annual NIDA Fundraiser Gala, for which Net-A-Porter was the digital sponsor – puts it: “This means working with the nuances of the Australian market and the unique opportunities that this brings.”
And the sponsorship of the NIDA event is a case in point. When the opportunity arose to come on board as digital sponsor, Net-A-Porter saw it as the ideal brand alignment. “Our customer is as fanatical about the arts as she is about fashion. Australian women have risen to the top in the film industry globally and have become style icons in their own right. It makes sense for us to support Australian creative talent at its foundations by working with NIDA,” says Bridgett.
This desire to support creative talent in Australia extends to site’s burgeoning stable of antipodean designers. Net-A-Porter’s investment in Australian labels over the years has paid off – established brands such as Lover, Sass & Bide, Zimmermann and Dion Lee frequently top their list of best sellers. “Lover’s custom lace designs are always popular with our customers across the globe. Dion Lee always impresses with his architectural approach to tailoring and luxurious fabrics,” says Bridgett. “We love working with the iconic Australian swimwear label Zimmerman and recently launched an exclusive board short collection with them. Sass & Bide have been with Net-A-Porter for 10 years and continue to design striking collections that our customers love.”
So who is the Australian Net-A-Porter customer? Well, according to Bridgett, she is “stylish, sophisticated and buys into the most fashionable brands”. What is worth noting however – and what sets her apart from her global peers – is her predilection for fashionable casual wear and willingness to embrace colour. When compared to the buying trends of other regions, “Australian customers have mastered the art of relaxed luxury. Australian customers are not afraid to have fun with colour.” It is not surprising then, that labels such as Isabel Marant, Saint Laurent, Chloé and Stella McCartney are among her most coveted and also the best-selling.
As to what they have planned next, we’re told to keep a look out for the site’s entrée into beauty, which will soon be available to Australian customers for the first time, as well as more exclusive collaborations and strategic brand partnerships. Exciting times ahead.