The content-driven (not merely product-heavy) brother site of Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter, is finally opened. I clicked on its homepage not without heightened anticipation. This is, after all, one of the most buzzed e-commerce sites of the past six months. And, with a smile, I was not disappointed.
Unless you’re constantly sitting next to your girlfriend when she hits Net-A-Porter, you may not know what this is all about. I am not going to explain why girls are hooked to the said site. Perhaps a peek into Mr Porter may offer some explanation. But I would say that Mr Porter is more fun than GQ.com and with stuff to buy!
It helps that the homepage itself offers very little clue that this is essentially a stop to shop. Looking like a stylish e-mag, Mr Porter draws you in, at least for now, with a feature Men of the Moment, showcasing some really not bad looking chaps. While all six of them are not movers and shakers of style, they do not appear out of place in Mr Porter. Perhaps, because they are not models, they look believable, if not likable. And that compels the reader to discover for himself elsewhere on the site what the pieces are that makes the sum of these men’s parts well assembled.
While you can obviously get to the product pages in a click, you can also do so via the merchandise features such as The Big Bucks Shoe (and why it’s worth it), which, explains, via the anatomy of the shoe, the reason for its high price. And so compelling a case they’ve put out there, you can’t help but want to look at the other recommendations before quickly clicking on the ‘Shop Now’ button. After you’ve arrived at the selected product, there’s the ‘Editor’s Tips’ that are often persuasive enough for you to free your credit card from your wallet.
I am reminded of the ill-fated Conde Nast title Cargo that closed with the May issue of 2006, just two years after its debut. Despite a lively editorial of user-friendly shopping guide and product features, it failed to lure guys into picking it up. If it had gone the online route, this could have been the outcome.