Fast-Fashion retailer Asos is seeing sales, orders and profits grow fast as customer numbers and engagement grow at the same time. Since its ambition is to become the world’s leading destination for fashion-loving twenty-somethings, it is finding new ways to talk to existing and potential customers along the way.
The retailer, which saw active customer numbers rise by 19% to 18.4m during the year, has focused on student communities around the world and in response, student customer numbers grew by 31%. Social media is the retailer’s go-to tool for this kind of conversation.
“Engagement through the most relevant social channels is a key part of our customer-led content strategy,” the retailer said in its full-year statement. “Asos were early adopters of Instagram Stories and have seen fantastic engagement through this content format. Our stories were viewed 244m times during the year, whilst social media followers were up 13% globally to 22.7m.”
This year and using a geo-targeted feed, Asos was the first brand to enable Instagram shoppers to pay in their local currency.
It has also focused on the customer experience, improving page download speeds along with personalisation and product recommendation algorithms as it worked towards achieving a “friction-free experience at every stage of the customer journey”. One interesting new innovation was the launch of Enki, a machine-learning enabled chatbot, to help shoppers find products through personalised recommendations.
Asos is working to give its customers a local experience wherever they are in the world and, during the last financial year, enabled localisation on its global platform for international markets.
The release of ‘rest of the world’ and ‘rest of Europe’ sites were part of a strategy to localise in 200 markets for customers that are outside the key markets to be served through their own localised websites, which now include the Netherlands and Sweden. This new functionality enables Asos to provide an increasingly tailored experience for different markets using different visual merchandising, price zones and currency options.
The retailer went through to the end point of the customer journey, with the launch of new returns features that pay refunds quicker and enable shoppers to see and track the status of their returned orders.
Chief executive Nick Beighton welcomed, in the full-year report, a year of substantial progress. “We delivered 26% sales growth and 28% profit growth whilst investing heavily in the long-term potential of the business,” he said. “Our reported profit increase was achieved despite bearing material transition costs due to our investment programme. All our financial and customer key metrics have shown positive growth.”