By focusing on personalization, Yoox has watched its mobile revenue rise, with the majority of transactions taking place in its app.
Ahead of its full-year earnings report for 2017, Yoox Net-a-Porter shared preliminary results, which included a standout mobile performance across the company’s four retailers, Yoox, Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet. For the first time, mobile sales accounted for more than 50 percent of the group’s total sales, which reached $2.6 billion in 2017, a year-over-year increase of 17 percent. It was Yoox, in particular, that gained mobile ground: While the company doesn’t break out individual retailer sales, it reported that 96 percent of Cyber Monday sales on Yoox were made via mobile.
“That growth is driven largely by our native app,” said Daniele Crane Milani, head of e-commerce at Yoox. “The app represents a one-stop, seamless shopping experience. That’s key. In order to obtain that, we take our content and product selection, and tailor it to a user’s needs. Personalization is a pillar of the mobile app.”
Last summer, the company relaunched the Yoox app after overhauling the customer experience to make it more personalized, add new features, and bridge the desktop e-commerce and mobile commerce experiences. The new version has upgraded search functions that let customers browse products with higher purchase potential; connects past purchases, search behavior and recommended items across the mobile web, desktop and app; and offers an in-app personal shopper experience.
Yoox’s mobile app is on the rise at a time when other retailers have found that, even though mobile spend is climbing, it’s difficult to get customers to download and use a mobile app (unless, of course, you’re Amazon). It’s led some, like Everlane and Coach, to abandon their apps altogether, citing a lack of customer use that contradicted the time and money needed to manage them.
The companies that have been successful, including Yoox and its sister site Net-a-Porter, have driven loyalty through the app experience, which keeps customers checking in.
“The reason we need the app is because the mobile web is really just an introduction to what we are and what we offer,” said Milani. “The native app is a tool for users that are already engaged; they appreciate Yoox and the luxury shopping experience. We understand that customer. We know why they’re there and what they want, and we can serve it to them.”
The Yoox app is part of Yoox Net-a-Porter’s broader technology investment. In 2017, the company opened its Tech Hub in London, an innovation center employing 500 that was built to establish a home for the company’s investments in areas like artificial intelligence, personalization and mobile commerce. The company’s five-year plan, laid out in 2016, included an increase in spend on tech and data science of $567 million, and a goal to increase the percentage of mobile sales to 75 percent by 2020.
To get to that goal, YNAP CEO Frederico Marchetti said the company is taking a “mobile-only” approach to online retail, a statement Milani echoed.
“We still, of course, have a desktop and mobile site, and we’re not going mobile-only in that way,” he said. “What mobile-only means to us is that when we design features and programs, we take a mobile approach. We think of how everything we do would work on mobile, and that’s what sets us apart from competitors. We’re forward thinking, and we think about this market in the way of what the customer is doing. The mobile experience represents a huge chunk of the market.”
Milani said Yoox’s differentiated app experience is also boosting global growth, in emerging and mobile-centric markets like China. And while mobile-only feels like an exaggeration, it’s a sign that Yoox is already adjusting to where customer behavior is heading.
“To say ‘mobile-only’ is, to some extent, hyperbole,” said Jason Goldberg, svp of content and commerce at the agency Razorfish. “But it’s a smart retailer who says, ‘Let’s offer everything on mobile, because we’re seeing that customers are dramatically shifting to mobile, and eventually, maybe they’ll be all mobile.”