Page 5: Communication to support growth
The structure of a business organisation usually alters as it grows. When a company is very small, a manager tends to take on most managerial functions. As a company grows, it often introduces new layers of management and organises itself into specialist departments. As it has expanded, asos.com has developed a more hierarchical organisational structure, with individual departments responsible for specific functions such as warehousing, product design and merchandising.
asos.com works in a rapidly changing market. It must keep up with developments in web technology. Customers can now track their orders online. Shoppers can refine the products they view on asos.com, by choosing colours, sizes and brands to suit.
The company tries to keep its website current by adding articles of interest to fashion conscious shoppers. This content is refreshed every week to retain the customer”s attention.
To enhance the shopping experience, asos.com has increased the size of product images on the web by 250%. It has also used a “catwalk feature” for women”s wear. This shows how the products fit and move to give the customer the best representation. The asos.com “Style Blog” is updated daily. This provides visitors to the website with features such as “Daily Shop”, “Catwalk trends” and the latest fashion and celebrity news.
The company uses a number of other communication channels to drive growth:
- It has increased the asos.com monthly magazine to 116 pages. The first three issues generated more than £1.5m in sales with an average response rate of 9%. This is higher than the industry average for this type of promotion. A menswear version of the magazine launched in May 2008, featuring practical style advice, entertainment news, band interviews and aspirational fashion stories to appeal to young male consumers.
- It emails a newsletter twice a week to 1.8 million people who have chosen to receive it. This significant investment in creative resources has helped to increase sales from the newsletter by 137% in 2007.
- As part of its PR campaign during 2007 there were 2,236 fashion editorial pieces about asos.com and its products in the consumer press. This was an increase of 59% against 2006.
- asos.com takes a “best friend” approach to help build customer relationships. This means that customers recommend other people. Customers feel they have a personal relationship with asos.com and therefore want to share this with their friends. This type of “word-of-mouth” recommendation gives results above the industry average. Research on traffic to the asos.com website indicates that around 15% of customers visit the site following a personal recommendation. Furthermore, in a survey to find out levels of use of the customer magazine, 60% stated that they share their copy of the magazine with at least two other people.
In the last customer survey, 73% of customers stated that they would recommend asos.com to a friend.
As it continues to grow, asos.com needs to make sure that customers still receive the highest standard of service. Many customers still prefer to deal directly with someone one to one. It has a team of 30 customer service advisers. This team responds by email to all customer enquiries, such as product questions, stock requests or delivery status. asos.com has worked hard to reduce the average response time for customer enquiries from six hours to one hour.