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[11 comments]

Net-A-Porter is first to sell Google Glass

June 25, 2014

Net-A-Porter is looking to bring some style along with sales to Google Glass. Yesterday, the online luxury and fashion merchant began selling a limited number of DVF | Made for Glass optical and sunglass styles and accessories, making it the first third-party seller of Google's wearable tech device. The retailer's Google Glass options, which include styles for men and women, sell for $1,800 and include the Glass, a choice of frames in five colors, a shade and mono earbud. The Net-A-Porter price is set $300 above Google's original MSRP.

"We are thrilled to offer Glass to our tech-savvy customers who are true leaders and innovators in style and lifestyle," said Natalie Massenet, founder and chairman of The Net-A-Porter Group, in a statement. "We pride ourselves on leading the way in delivering the best in service, product, and technology and we are excited to bring Google Glass to our U.S. customers, ahead of the Glass consumer release."

In a RetailWire poll last January, respondents said function and fashion are the biggest hurdles wearable tech devices must overcome before achieving mass appeal. At a price point of $1,800, DVF | Made for Glass will not be for everyone, but Google and its fashion partner have begun to address aesthetic concerns. Now it will come down to whether those with the cash or credit and the inclination to buy the wearable tech device will disagree with the visitor to Net-A-Porter's Facebook page who called it "awkward and ugly."

FINANCIALS:     [NASDAQ:GOOG] [ VTX:CFR]

Discussion Questions:

Has Google addressed the fashion issue with the DVF | Made for Glass line? How important will third-party sellers be to the eventual success or failure of Google Glass?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

How important will third-party sellers be to the eventual success or failure of Google Glass?

Comments:

The DVF | Made for Glass line will help fashion-forward consumers wear their Glass with greater style, but it does nothing to put Glass in the hands of ordinary consumers who cannot afford its $1,800 starting price point. I love the concept of Glass, but until it moves beyond the high price, it's not going to be a factor in the retail world.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

It begins. The convergence of fashion and technology into "wearable tech."

Now it's Apple's turn. I see this starting out at the high end and gradually moving down-market, as high fashion tends to do (and high-tech).

This is the future.

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Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner, RSR Research

Net-A-Porter offers a perfect stage for Google Glass' early bow in the fashion world and one that will help justify the steep price. Net-A-Porter will enjoy quite a bit of buzz and Google will as well through Net-A-Porter's digital platform and complementary print publications.

A match made in wearable heaven.

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Carol Spieckerman, President, newmarketbuilders

Third-party resellers are vital. People need someone to talk with about how it works, what it can do and how it changes their life. It's not intuitively obvious why to buy. Hopefully, retailers will also coach on privacy issues.

In related news, The Wall Street Journal ran an article this morning talking about how broadcast application Livestream will be offered for Glass (at $300 per month!) As in the early days of YouTube, when the big question was "why would anyone want to watch home videos of other people's mundane lives?" One might ask why anyone would want to watch broadcasts of the daily life of a Google Glass user. Time will tell.

Christina Ellwood, Vice president, Marketing, Brickstream

If Google can encourage third-party development and support, the market will see an evolution of style and enhancement at lightning speed. The subsequent evolution will determine this product line's viability, market threshold, price points, life cycle and profit margins. It is these things Google is looking for and hoping to cash in on.

'gjarnoldjr'

Technology has been creeping into the realm of fashion for years. The geek chic have been making fashion statements with the belt pager, BlackBerry and iPhone for some time. With wearables such as Glass, the line between usable technology and fashion is even more blurred. Third parties that add fashion and function to these technologies will play an important role in accelerating the acceptance and sales of wearables.

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Larry Negrich, Vice President, Marketing, nGage Labs

The sunglasses shown in the photo accompanying this article make the Google Glass look much more appealing than non-sunglasses Google Glass. Christina of Brickstream nailed it with her comments. We need opinion and fashion leaders to lead the way, and then maybe the Glass will trickle on down and so will the price, for us lesser mortals. Also, I'm not personally sanguine about Google Glass, and anxious to see the benefits of usage, not just the style and statement it makes.

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Naomi K. Shapiro, Strategic Market Communications, Upstream Commerce

Good for Google and for Net-A-Porter. Scarcity is a powerful strategy when launching something this leading edge, and the positioning alone is going to make demand even greater for when this does move downstream and mainstream.

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Phil Rubin, CEO, rDialogue

Bringing third-party sellers onboard to take Glass into the marketplace is a smart strategy and the good news here for me is that Glass will be getting into the hands of a broader range of consumers. This is important to dispel all of the myths about Glass that have spread through the media. Glass is awesome and everyone should try it.

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Karen S. Herman, Founder & Design Director, Gustie Creative LLC

Don't think third party sellers are going to be a part of the success or failure of Google Glass. The seller is the delivery vehicle for the product. How important was A&P or Kroger to the success of Coca-Cola? Retailers/resellers just provide a point of sale.

The success of Google Glass will be the cachet and functionality. What's it going to do that truly make it special. The iPhone was born with functionality (you could make a phone call). Frankly, I don't know what Google Glass does. It must do something great besides replace a bluetooth earpiece (chainsaw).

I would like to see it provide telecommunication via brain waves so I wouldn't have to listen to all the miscreants carrying on 80 db cell phone conversations (Whatever happened to the phone booth and civility?). Oh, you say, it doesn't do that—drat! Well, what does it do? I am old, have more money than sense, love to make other people envy me—IS THIS THE TICKET? I know it's going to be very expensive because Net-A-Porter doesn't sell anything that isn't very expensive. Is that what is going on here? Is Google establishing haute courtier pricing and associating their product with fashion designers and jet setters and LeBron James (you know he will have to sign with New York now) just to make it seem to be a must have. Remind me who fronted for the iPhone.

Someone tell me WHAT DOES GOOGLE GLASS DO? I want it, I want it, I want it!

Ed Dennis, Sales, Dennis Enterprises

It is just starting to address the fashion and "cool" factors for Google glass. At the end of the day, Google understands that acceptance by the public is connected to fashion and the "cool" factor. Think what the iPhone did to the smart phone market!!!

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Kai Clarke, President, Kowa Optimed, Inc.

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