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Asos: keeping up with the kids

One of the top players in global online fashion retail, London-based Asos  is continually looking for new ways to keep its target audience of 20-somethings engaged with its content and happy with its service. Describing itself as a global fashion community, with at the centre, the retailer publishes 60,000 pieces of fashion and lifestyle content every month and sells more than 85,000 branded and own-label products to almost every country in the world, shipping from distribution centers in the USA, UK and Europe.

According to the retailer’s 2016 annual report, by the close of the year it had 12.4m active customers, a 25% increase on the previous year. It also recorded 19m followers across social platforms including 7.4m on Instagram and 6.5m on Facebook. In 2016, it successfully trialled new formats for engaging with its target audience and spreading brand awareness, through Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and Snapchat. It is currently rolling out Snapchat channels in Australia, France and Germany, and launching new Instagram accounts for menswear in France and the USA. It is also expanding its magazine offering for loyal customers, last year launching French, German and American editions of the Asos magazine.

Engagement seems to translate into sales for the company: its annual report showed that total retail sales for 2016 were £1,403.7m, up 26% on 2015; a rise of 27% in the UK, 28% in Europe, 50% in the USA and 9% in the rest of the world. On a less positive note, it was forced to close its Chinese operation, deciding after three years that it was still too far from profitability to keep open. It is now concentrating on its core territories of the UK, Europe and USA. It also performs well in Australia.Asos believes the future is mobile – more than half of its orders (51%) are now placed via a mobile device and 66% of overall traffic is from mobiles – so it is no surprise it is investing heavily in this direction, this year planning to double its spending on its mobile offering. Last year it launched a brand new Asos app on iOS and made improvements to its Android app. The company recorded 7.5m new downloads of its app last year alone bringing the total number of active installs to 10 million. On average, its customers are using the app eight times a month, spending around 70m online during that time.

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