LONDON, United Kingdom — After much speculation, pure play fashion e-tailer Net-a-Porter is, finally, set to add beauty to its offering with the launch, on March 20, of a highly curated selection of makeup, hair, fragrance, nail polish and skin care products from a range of brands, including Chantecaille, Natura Bissé, Aesop, Le Metier de Beaute, 3 LAB, Beauty Works West, Philip B, Joya, Ilia, Sarah Chapman and James Read. The retailer plans to add additional brands every week, as part of a phased launch.
Unlike Net-a-Porter’s previous expansion into menswear, with Mr. Porter, and off-price womenswear, with The Outnet, beauty will not be treated as a standalone business or have its own web destination. Instead, the beauty offering, headed by David Olsen, will be tightly integrated into the retailer’s core womenswear offering on Net-a-Porter.com, under the tagline “Beauty — The Quintessential Edit.”
“The move is a natural evolution of our business,” said Alison Loehnis, Net-a-Porter’s managing director, in a statement. "We have long featured beauty in our online magazine and have ramped it up recently with more dedicated features and the appointment of regular video columnists."
Net-a-Porter is entering a highly competitive market populated with a large number of existing players, including beauty behemoth Sephora, which have built successful online businesses. But Loehnis stressed that the retailer's plan to integrate fashion and beauty was a key point of difference. “We consider it a unique differentiator to be able to merchandise beauty and fashion together and educate our visitors not only on which bag or shoe to buy to get the look, but the nail polish and lipstick as well. The impulse to shop from the page applies to beauty as it does to fashion and now our customers can do both at one destination,” she said.
The company has a research panel of thousands of existing customers, many of whom had asked the retailer about beauty, said Loehnis, listing menswear and childrenswear, as the other top categories.
In other developments, Net-a-Porter has also launched a dedicated website and distribution center in Hong Kong, improving delivery times to customers across the Asia-Pacific region. Next week, the retailer plans to unveil new versions of its website, localised for Mandarin, French and German speakers, as part of a plan to support global growth.