Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Asos- The Amazon of fashion


The other day I was browsing through a number of online fashion websites of the UK and USA and found some great dresses. While I was wondering which of my friends to call in those countries to order those dresses and then parcel them to me, I happened to visit the ASOS page. To my amazement, they not only deliver to India, but they deliver FREE and that too within a week!! There is indeed something different about this supply chain..

Asos is the largest european pure-player on online retail clothing.So what is it that enables it to get more than 60% of its business from outside the UK? Since its inception, Asos has been investing heavily in technology and uses a myriad of them to make its business work.

  • Asos’s incredibly feature-rich website offers more than 60,000 product lines for customers to choose from. These products include women’s clothing and accessories, menswear, childrenswear and a wide variety of other clothing and accesories.

  • The company uses a stealth-marketing strategy built on social-networking sites making customers feel they have discovered ASOS through blogs and tweets instead of throwing sales pitches into their faces.     

  • Asos Life is an online community where staff, bloggers and customers chat about the latest fashion.

  • Asos Marketplace allows designers to set up boutique stores on the Asos site selling their own creations. Asos takes a 10-15 per cent cut of everything they sell.

  • Asos is also among the first retailers to set up a shop on a social networking website (Asos Facebook Store).

  • Asos Fashion Finder, a service that aggregates and publicises brands that Asos does not sell. The idea is to make Asos a fashion destination than just a store.


  • SaaS platforms like Red Prairie, Merret and Metapack platforms for warehouse management, stock control and distribution systems.

  • Asos is soon beginning to generate petabytes of data. Big Data Analytics thus now forms a very major component of their expansion strategy. It is using Hadoop to mine customer buying patterns from its large quantities of data.

  • They are using the ChinaNetCloud, a cloud service to spearhead their IT expansion in China.

  • Asos does Price Optimization using a real-time stock system that allows visibility for both the customer and the firm, which in turn allows for flexibility of prices in response to demand.

  • Using analytics tools such as Webtrend Analytics and Visitor Data Mart that analyze customer interactions on its various country websites.



  • While it uses the radio frequency network (RFID) for warehouse management, Asos also uses GPS and other web-based applications to decide the optimal routes for order deliveries. These measures have improved their efficiency by 80%.

  • Asos’ iPhone and iPad applications experience more than 1 million sessions every month.

As evident, technology is at the heart of Asos’ business. It uses a business model inspired by online and fashion best practices. Not surprisingly enough, Amazon is one of Asos’ major influencers.By using state-of-the-art technology, Asos has become over a billion dollar company in only a few years of its existence. Although with its focus on technology and R&D, Asos will have a bright future compared to its online pure play competitors, I wonder if the online experience will ever be able to substitute the shopping experience of a brick-and-mortar store. We can experience the impact of technology in every aspect of life, but the question is if virtual environments can replace real-life experiences.


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1 comment:

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