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Case Study: ASOS

Social and practical tools for customers

Online fashion retailer Asos is taking a multifaceted approach to supporting its customers.
It recently launched Fit Assistant, an AI assistant built into the Asos app that helps consumers find their fashion fit before they order. Fit Assistant uses machine learning to offer consumers personalised size recommendations for particular products, based on their pattern of previous purchases as well as returns.

In part, this tool is an attempt to overcome the challenge of being a fashion retailer that stocks so many different brands of clothing – something close to 900 in total. It’s this spread of options that makes it difficult for many Asos customers to know what size they are in a particular brand.
Online customers – particularly fashion-conscious 20-somethings – are also less likely to be loyal, so features like personalisation, customer service, social presence and speed of delivery count for something, as Asos has clearly grasped.

Something else it has been working hard at is ‘discovery’ – helping customers to find the products best suited to them. Again, this has been driven by AI and machine learning to deliver a smarter outcome for the 15m users that browse its site. Earlier this year, for example, it launched Enki, which was first created as a Facebook-based fashion chatbot and now helps fashion lovers discover and shop on social media.

Its recommendation services also include features such as ‘Your Edit’, which shows products it thinks a customer might like, and ‘Style Match’, which shows customers products similar to those already bought or looked at. There is also a curated carousel under the heading ‘You might also like’.

Adding to this toolkit for customers is voice shopping capabilities through Google Assistant, which enables customers to use voice commands to browse the brand’s AI shopping guide, Enki.

How well is all of this working? Visit numbers to Asos websites have grown by 19% year on year, while average order frequency is up 7%. Around the world, 18.4m customers bought from it – up 19% on the previous year. Asos has engaged strongly with the student community in the past year, with student customer numbers climbing 31%, and its presence on social media is also strong. Its Instagram ‘Stories’ were viewed 244m times during the year, while overall social media followers grew by 13%, up to 22.7m.

The volume of work Asos undertakes to support the customer journey is striking. It updated its technology through 2,900 releases in its last financial year, including many new customer features and shopping experience changes. Localisation was also enabled, both on the rest of the world and rest of Europe sites, while new sites were released for the Netherlands and Sweden.

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