Net-A-Porter unveiled a new print magazine last week which it hoped would disrupt the old model of print publishing through new innovations such as shoppable pages.

The bi-monthly magazine, named Porter, is due to be published six times a year with 400,000 copies of each edition made available across 60 countries.

It enables Net-A-Porter to connect magazine readers to its ecommerce store, as all of the pages can be scanned using the retailer’s mobile app.

This then gives users several options, including finding an item on the ecommerce store, visiting a third-party website, or watching a video.

As with all fashion magazines, Porter’s pages are liberally filled with adverts. These are also scannable, but only link to the brand’s website.

Net-A-Porter isn’t the first brand to publish an interactive magazine, however Porter is unique in that it’s a brand new magazine that was designed and created with digital as one of its core features. 

As far as I’m aware, previous cases studies have always involved adding a digital layer to existing magazine brands.

For example (I’m sure Net-A-Porter won’t thank me for this comparison), Argos recently added a digital layer to its product catalogues.

To find out how well the digital integration works in Porter, I got one of my iPhone-toting colleagues to download the app so I could take it for a spin...


As far as I can tell Net-A-Porter has completely overhauled its iPhone app as part of the magazine launch, so all the options are now housed in a hamburger menu at the top of the screen.

However on this occasion I’m not here to look at the overall app UX, it’s just the scanner that I’m interested in. 

When you first click on the scanner tool it gives you a simple description of each of the five logos that might appear on the magazine’s pages, then you’re ready to get going.


Every single editorial page within the magazine contains some sort of digital content, which is an indication of the amount of planning and coordination that goes into each issue. 

It only takes a few seconds for the scanner to register each page and you can see the images shimmering on the screen while the app is reading the content, which I found to be pleasantly entertaining.


Here’s a quick run through of what each of the icons does:


Fairly self-explanatory, but this icon allows readers to shop the products that can see on the page.

Using the office Wi-Fi it was extremely quick to load the product lists within the app, so readers can quickly impulse buy the items that take their fancy. 


One slight problem is that the product lists are tied to entire articles rather than pages, so when I clicked on one particular pair of shoes I was shown a list of more than 30 products including jewellery and books.

I assume this is because it would be too much work to individually tag each item, but it might occasionally be frustrating for the reader if they just want to find out about one particular product.


Both of these buttons link the user to a third-party brand website, though one of the buttons appears on editorial content and the other on adverts.

Again it’s a slick process, but there’s an obvious flaw in that many luxury fashion brands are still yet to build mobile optimised sites which harms the user experience.


The concierge icon is supposed to give access to a ‘VIP brand’s personal shopping service’, however the two occasions I clicked it I was just shown a number for customer services.



Another obvious one. The video content is quick to load and essentially displays adverts for some of the products contained on the pages.

In conclusion...

I don’t often get the chance to read glossy women’s magazines, and when I do they tend be along the lines of Glamour rather than Harper’s Bazaar.

However Porter certainly looks the part (e.g. 24 pages of adverts before you get to any editorial), as one would expect from the expert team that Net-A-Porter has assembled.

The digital elements also work seamlessly with the on-page content and provide a decent enough user experience. 

That said I’m still dubious as to how many people will actually scan the pages of the magazine, particularly as there are only very subtle references to the mobile app.

Only one of the 282 pages in Porter actually tells readers how to use the scanner, with no further calls-to-action throughout the magazine. I can understand why Porter’s creative team didn’t want to fill the pages with large ‘Scan This!’ logos, but it means that many people will be left unaware of the additional digital content that lies within.

Obviously the ability to shop the magazine is only one part of the magazine’s reason for being. It also gives Net-A-Porter a new and relevant way to communicate with its audience, as the company’s own research shows that its users still buy print magazines. 

But will they buy 400,000 copies of Porter every couple of months?

David Moth

Published 10 February, 2014 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (8)

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Paul Keers

I think, although it's not your primary interest, the editorial they have put together demands a little more praise - in terms of the quality of styling and photography, contributors and content, the magazine is a match for newsstand equivalents like Vogue and Bazaar, which is no mean feat for a branded publication.

In that sense, the scannable/shoppable pages are something of a bonus, although I agree that the function is very underplayed within the magazine itself. It is SO much more appealing than QR codes and could be a very significant technology for customer magazines – see my piece for the Content Marketing Association at
– and it will be very interesting to see if other brands try to copy it.

over 4 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Paul - The content is excellent. The magazine has very high production values, and the casual reader may not be able to tell the difference if you replaced the masthead with one of the more well-known fashion glossies. I for one am very impressed, and keen to see how it performs.

over 4 years ago


Russ Wheeler

"I got one of my iPhone-toting colleagues to download the app..."

The magazine is now also scannable in the android app too.

over 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Managing Editor at Barclaycard

@Russ, thanks for pointing that out, I thought it was just for iOS. I'll download it myself now.

over 4 years ago


Chai Lim

As a side note - it's not unique or the first to be designed with digital at its core. The Iconic Magazine (for - shameless plug) was done similarly - designing a print and digital editorial product (and definitely an editorial product) side by side around an ecommerce brand - we launched this for Summer 2012-13.

There's also a few others in the marketplace now. Admittedly very few with the cachet of Asos and Net-a-Porter. I love seeing Net-a-Porter in the market - they're an amazing voice.

over 4 years ago


Simon Kenworthy, Digital Marketing Consultant at

Net-a-porter sister company Mr Porter has been producing a quarterly newsletter with this functionality for some time. It is good to see the Net-a-porter team have learned from this and improved on the concept, as an aside the last time I tried to scan the Mr Porter Journal 50% of the content was unavailable or refused to scan so good to see Porter did not have these problems

over 4 years ago


Matthew Key - Engine Creative

Congratulation to the Net-A-Porter Team for launching an augmented edition but I would hardly call shoppable pages new innovations.

We've been developing the augmented magazine concept since we invented the worlds first fully augmented magazine for Top Gear back in November 2011 (link below). We have developed it relentlessly as a business model for publishers, magazines and advertisers and have rolled the concept out for BBC, Bauer, heat, more magazine and for all Tesco publications with each one featuring shoppable pages.

It is interesting and frustrating to hear again that editors and publisher don't maximise the awareness of augmented content, as this is key to the successful uptake from our experience and testing. You need clear instructions and CTAs throughout to make readers aware that there is digital content available on this page, at least until AR magazines is more ingrained and understood by readers, which I think is still 1-2 years away for mass market uptake.

The worlds first fully augmented magazine case study:

over 4 years ago



Thanks for the article!!

I'm follower of Net-a-porter because they aleays surprise me.

More interesting fashion business model: Polyvore, also by Net-a-porter authors.

So, where I can buy Net-a-porter magazine? Online?


over 4 years ago

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