What The Monster Net-A-Porter & Yoox Merger Means For Your Shopping Cart

Photo: Courtesy of Net-a-Porter.
Well, that was quick: Less than 24 hours after Yoox and Net-a-Porter confirmed that the two companies were discussing a possible merger, the partnership is now official. Net-a-Porter’s Swiss parent company, Richemont, made the announcement this morning, stating that both companies had agreed on an all-shares deal — meaning Richemont will own half of the soon-to-be combined company, which Forbes reports will be worth a whopping $2.5 billion. The deal is pending shareholder approval this summer, but if it goes through, the two companies will become the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group by September. So, what does this mean for those of us on the other side of the cart?  Judging from what we already know, and love, about the two companies, we're preparing for a whole new world in the future online megastore. Yoox and Net-a-Porter boast completely opposite business models, but these differences have the potential to play off of each other perfectly. Yoox sells end-of-season designer merchandise at a discount on Yoox.com (and maintains e-commerce sites for The Corner and Shoe Scribe). Then, there's the London-based Net-a-Porter, which has grown from founder Natalie Massenet's small e-store into a high-fashion hub for new luxury items from designers all over the world. When the two combine, the merchandise could potentially cover the shopping spectrum from end to end — that is, from discounted last-season pieces to new high-end creations. As Massenet stated in the announcement, "Today, we open the doors to the world’s biggest luxury fashion store," and, with a reach that extends to 180 countries, she's absolutely right. Given Voox's discount-centric model, the sale section is likely to be even more extensive once Net-a-Porter's stock gets added to the mix. The far-reaching influence of the two sites also means it may be sourcing new and emerging designers from around the world. And, given Net-a-Porter's history of collaborations (including collections from Topshop as well as a partnership with The Hunger Games), expect even more exclusive capsules at (hopefully!) affordable price points. Although the merger likely means a larger and more varied collection of merchandise, the changes will go far beyond the clothing itself. Since its inception, Yoox has made a point to zero in on technology and behind-the-scenes operations, while Net-a-Porter has successfully branched into publishing with its magazines, Porter and The Edit. According to Federico Marchetti, the founder and chief executive of Yoox, the two companies plan to harness these strengths to reach even more customers. “Editorial content has never been our strength or priority at Yoox,” he told The New York Times. “But it is very important for social media, which is driving millennial sales in the e-commerce space. Smartphones now make up 50% of the traffic on Yoox’s websites.”  We wouldn't be surprised if this merger meant even more mobile-centric shopping opportunities, whether that's the chance to splurge on Alexander Wang on your iPhone or share what's new via Snapchat. After all, as Massenet summed it up, "The best way to predict the future of fashion is to create it.” Watch this space for more details as they unfold. And, in the meantime, consider your wallet warned.