Selling Luxury Online – Yoox Net-A-Porter

Through leveraging an interlocked business model and operating strategy, YNAP has successfully defined the luxury ecommerce space and is positioned as the clear market leader in the industry.

Yoox Net-a-Porter


Yoox Net-A-Porter (“YNAP” or the “Company”) is a leading online luxury fashion retailer. On March 31, 2015, Yoox (Italian public company) announced a merger with Net-A-Porter (“NAP”) (Richemont is majority owner).

Business Model / Strategy


The business model is definitively aligned with the operating model (close relationships with suppliers, best-in-class logistics, geographic scale), creating high barriers to entry. The Company targets the luxury market – purchases with relatively high Average Order Value (“AOV”). YNAP aims to cover all major geographical luxury markets (incl. Europe, North America, Asia) and all luxury fashion customer segments (mono-brand, in-season, off-season).

customer segmentation


YNAP empowers brands with a turnkey solution to establish their own online flagship store, assisted with the Company’s e-tailing operations experience (customer care, shipping, invoicing, digital set-up, etc.). Post-merger, YNAP will benefit from approaching brands on NAP with their mono-brand platform.

Multi-brand (in-season, off-season)

NAP offers content and higher-end full-price items. Yoox offers off-price items and an “endless selection”. The Company’s goal is to be viewed as the premier online destination for all luxury shoppers, and maintaining a strong brand presence will be important to achieve this objective.

Operating Model

Relationships with Suppliers

The luxury market has a relatively fixed number of items that are available for sale (which helps drive higher prices). As such, the access to this limited supply is a key competitive advantage for YNAP. This link to suppliers (geographically, # of touch points across business lines, etc.) is an integral aspect of YNAP’s operating model. YNAP must retain its close relationships with luxury fashion brands to retain access to products for its multi-brand selling platforms.

Geographic Scale

The Company continues to strengthen local capabilities allowing for 1) efficient management of local inventories and 2) close proximity to  customers, thus improving overall shopping experience (same-day delivery, several customer care languages) which is key for the luxury segment. Yoox’s aim is to move towards one virtual global inventory system.

All local hubs are equipped with their own local sourcing, digital production, and distribution capabilities. This enables an optimized delivery cost structure, an efficient ability to handle returns, and a better quality of parcels upon delivery to final customers.


YNAP has begun to automate its warehouses, segmenting inventory (folded garments vs. smaller items vs. hanging garments), and is aiming for a full deployment of RFid technology. The entire logistics process is outlined below. Although the Company has managed to reduce handling and warehouse costs, a particular focus has been having improvements also lead to improved customer service capabilities.


Are the Business Model and Operating Model Aligned?

As discussed above, the business model and operating model support each other (and are interlinked). Customer service and speed is even more essential in luxury as a differentiating factor. The relationships built with suppliers consistently increases the competitive advantage of the Company, because they are able to increase their multi-brand selection and partnerships (turnkey solution). The luxury market is supply-driven, and limited access to supply is a major barrier to entry, which benefits YNAP.


The increasing geographic reach enables global operations with market-specific customer service options. There are 11 languages offered, 10 currencies, dedicated couriers in selected markets, and local payment methods accepted. Notably, the Company offers an RFid authenticity seal in China, overcoming a significant problem for ecommerce in China. The various YNAP online brands also benefit from enhanced scale.


Through leveraging an interlocked business model and operating strategy, YNAP has successfully defined the luxury ecommerce space and is positioned as the clear market leader in the industry.


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Student comments on Selling Luxury Online – Yoox Net-A-Porter

  1. Very interesting post. I wonder if YNAP also leverages on the end-season-stock of its mono-brad stores in order to fuel its mark down platform?

    Also following the Yoox / NAP merger, what is your opiiion regarding the positioning f Yoox and the outnet, do you see the two of them as competitors?

    1. Great insight! I think you are absolutely right – the mono-brand stores that YNAP manages are an excellent source of supply for their multi-brand discount channels. I think that the consumer-facing elements of Yoox and Outnet will remain separate over the medium-term, but I believe the management of the platforms will be consolidated to one subdivision (the President of Outnet left YNAP last month). I believe that the overlap in brands offered by each website will continue to grow, but it may take some time for the respective consumer bases to adjust to increased selection. Once the customer has had time to work through the gradual transition, it may be the right time to combine the online storefronts.

  2. Interesting post. I wonder how the rise of flash sales sites like Gilt will affect the modus operandi of off-season sites like Yoox and the Outnet. Will they consider moving towards that model?
    How does the company approach the cannibalization between the mono and the multi-brand platforms? Does it have the same margin in the two?
    Also, online pure plays like Amazon and Etsy opened brick-an-mortar stores with various degrees of success. Will Net-A-Porter continue to jump on the bandwagon with its pop-up walls?

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