Nisreen Shocair, CEO of the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group ME tell us about MR PORTER’s localized platform for Middle Eastern customers

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MR PORTER, the ultimate online multi-brand for men on the lookout for designers clothes and accessories has launched a localized platform with a new shopping experience specifically thought-of for the Middle Eastern customers. On top of a new dual language product search in both Arabic and English and an optimized experience, the used Arabic font was also modernized and the regional personal shopping team has expended to satisfy a demand in serving local EIP (Extremely Important People). JDEED spoke to Nisreen Shocair, the CEO of the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group Middle East to know more about this reinforced localization.

How did the localized platform with a tailored shopping experience for your growing Middle East customer base come about?

Nisreen Shocair (NS): MR PORTER has a unique global community of stylish men, strengthened by the tailored shopping and content experience offered on the localized platform. With an ever-growing customer base in the Middle East and a Dubai-based team, offering customers features such as a dual language search across Arabic and English, was a core part of our localization plan. 
We wanted to speak to the local nuances through our updated platform, available on both app and desktop, as we believe that this will fuel regional customer growth.
Our promise to the customer remains the same, an unparalleled product offering from the best menswear and luxury brands with expert product curation across a wide range of categories, from coveted fashion designer brands to own labels Mr P. and Kingsman, through to lifestyle and grooming, an exceptional assortment of fine watches, and the newly launched fine jewellery category.
To bring this localized platform to life, MR PORTER will feature locally driven editorial pieces on the Journal and develop social-first campaigns with leading content creators from the Middle East. We are also looking at collaborating more with our regional Style Council Members, well-connected key opinion leaders, that can offer insider traveler and style tips.

What do you believe are the most sought-after items in our region in regards to menswear?

NS: Our product offering varies to meet the needs of different age groups and different customer profiles. For instance, we have seen a spike in the demand for sneakers, sandals, branded hats, t-shirts and matching sets across all age groups. With our sneaker offering, the demand is wide and varies across different styles from minimal, with brands such as Common Projects, to classic styles from New Balance and Nike, through to on trend designer from Amiri, Celine, Gucci and more. Our hype drops from the likes of Nike x Sacai or New Balance x Aime Leon Dore sell out immediately and are an EIP (Extremely Important Person) favourite.
During the hotter months, the demand for sandals and shorts strongly increases, with top brands including Fear of God, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga to Birkenstock, and The Row – to suit a variety of style and budgets
We then find that categories across higher price points have a different customer profile. To them, “sought-after items” mean something completely different, it’s not about how many people own the piece but rather what’s considered exclusive or a statement piece. We have seen that this is where our fine watches and jewellery categories shine. Vacheron Constantin, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger Le-Coultre and more.

“There is a gap in the market for Middle Eastern menswear designers and we would like to champion the existing designers by offering them a global platform.”

What do you believe attracts the Gen-Z and millennials to Mr Porter especially in our region?

NS: The younger Middle Eastern customer is unique in the sense that they have more purchasing power versus that age group in other areas in the world. They are seeking trends on the daily and want to understand the story and ethics of the brands they’re buying. So, with that in mind, we ensure that we stock hyped brands that have a following amongst our younger consumer. For instance, we recently launched MSFTS Rep, Jaden Smith’s brand, feeding into an ever-growing contemporary category on site. The contemporary edit also includes on trend brands such as Amiri, Aries, Billionaires Boys Club, Fear of God Essentials and more.
We also strive to promote circularity and longevity within our product offering, which is why we offer our craftsmanship code. Launched in summer 2021, Craftsmanship Code is MR PORTER’s curated selection of products made by brands who make a positive contribution to their communities whilst operating with environmental and social considerations at the forefront of their design and business decisions. Beyond the existing standards we require from all brands stocked on MR PORTER, our Craftsmanship Code requires brands and products to pass additional assessments to ensure they meet not only this foundational principle, but also one or more of the guiding principles outlined below. We want to lead by example with Mr P., our own label, so we are working towards every piece in the Mr P. collection being designed for sustainability and circularity by 2025. 
You also find that the social media culture has emphasized exclusive drops and limited-edition capsules for the younger consumer as they appreciate their individuality and want to stand out. To meet that demand, MR PORTER offers exclusive capsules with best-selling brands seasonally. Most recently, we launched the exclusive Fear of God Essentials which sold out in the region almost immediately.
Additionally, MR PORTER produces unmatched digital and printed content across its shoppable online magazine, The Journal, and its bimonthly newspaper, The MR PORTER Post. Through this, we tap into the storytelling element that intrigues the younger consumer and drives the brand’s value proposition.

Can you tell us a bit about the exclusive collections and brands that will be offered to the Middle Eastern market specifically, and how did the curation process happen?

NS: The MR PORTER Middle East team are working closely with our buying team on launching more regional brands on site. There is a gap in the market for Middle Eastern menswear designers and we would like to champion the existing designers by offering them a global platform. For now, we are honing in on our curated regional merchandising to offer all the different customers segments what they’re looking for.
For instance, The Sun Shop has been on top of our edits for the region, as it always seems to be for our consumers and their demand for lighter fabrics for the summer. The edits always showcase complete outfits to facilitate the styling experience for the customer. We also have The Essentials for our customers that are brand loyal, know their fit and shop the same basics a few times a year.

Any upcoming Key Moment happening specifically for the region soon? Maybe a special collaboration with a local brand?

NS: We have many regional moments on the calendar including our Ramadan edit that will be featuring over 40 brands highlighting elevated loungewear, homeware essentials, home tech, board games and more. The edit is live from March 29th until the end of April.
We also have the Wedding edit after Ramadan catering to the summer wedding season. The edit will feature covetable brands such as Saint Laurent and TOM FORD.

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