Italian luxury fashion retailer Yoox is demonstrating its dedication to technological innovation – an area where luxury fashion brands have been slow to develop – as it prepares to acquire fellow e-retailer Net-A-Porter.

Last week, Yoox hired a new CIO, Alex Alexander. The former Walmart e-commerce executive helped the retail giant develop omnichannel innovations such as click-and-collect for Walmart’s U.K. subsidiary ASDA. At Yoox, he will oversee technology functions  — a key role as the company merges with Net-A-Porter.

The acquisition is about to create the world’s biggest online luxury goods retailer, with anticipated revenue of more than $1.3 billion. It will fuse Yoox’s technology platforms with Net-A-Porter’s much-praised editorial content, a combination that executives hope is a recipe for success.

“Editorial content has never been our strength or priority at Yoox,” founder and CEO Federico Marchetti 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 percent of the traffic on Yoox’s websites.”

Net-A-Porter unveiled a social network for mobile luxury shopping in May, testifying to the increasing importance of the smartphone for luxury retailers. Yet its competitors have been slower to adapt. Most prestigious fashion brands continue to underinvest in their mobile sites, according to L2’s Insight Report: Mobile and Luxury.

More than two-thirds of prestige beauty and fashion brands have mobile sites. Compared to the desktop versions, however, these sites typically have weaker support for video content, wish lists and access to user reviews. The fashion sector also lags when it comes to tablet sites. Only 21% of fashion brands included in L2’s study provide tablet users with a distinct experience.



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