Luxury fashion group YNAP has unveiled its new Tech Hub in London’s White City as part of a £440m investment into technology warehouses and delivery systems in the UK.
The new building will bring together the two IT teams from the two merged companies Yoox and Net-a-Porter and will house around 500 IT experts, expected to grow to 600 within the next two years.
The facility was officially opened on 27 June by CEO Federico Marchetti and the ceremony was attended by the architect who designed the building, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, and London’s deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal.
YNAP is also partnering with Imperial College London to teach coding and technology skills to local school children. There is a particular focus on encouraging girls to learn coding as Marchetti wants the business to “mirror” its customers. Currently 61% of the YNAP global team is female but only 28% of the staff within the tech team are women.
The Tech Hub occupies 70,000 sq ft and includes six “tea rooms”, video conferencing pods, and flexible collaborative working spaces.
As part of the new technology investment, every staff member in the company will also be given an iPhone allowing them to access company apps, business systems, and a digital key to the physical buildings. The company plans to move away from working on traditional desktop computers in favour of a “mobile only” strategy.
Some of the new technology planned for development at the Tech Hub include artificial intelligence to suggest items and outfits to customers based on purchase history, calendar appointments, and weather forecasts; augmented reality software allowing users to virtually try on sunglasses and handbags; and special shopping features for mobile users such as a QR code reader, easier bookmarking and social sharing of products, and integration with iMessage. Currently around half of the company’s sales are generated via mobile.