Page 4: Improving the business
asos.com's strategy of organic growth has shown substantial results. It has managed to satisfy increased demand. The company has also increased its market share. asos.com has recognised that the conditions were right for an online retail business in the fashion retail sector.
The company has used the Internet as the primary growth tool. It has tapped into the rapidly expanding online retailing market. As research in 2007 by the online retail consultancy Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) showed:
- total online spending in the UK reached £30.2 billion in 2006
- the number of UK online shoppers grew from 16 million in 2003 to 25 million in 2006, an increase of 56 per cent over four years
- Internet access grew by 45 per cent in the same period, with 42 million people having access in 2006 compared to just 29 million in 2003
- the number of broadband connections more than tripled in four years, by 2006 there were more than 12.7 million UK broadband connections
asos.com targets its offer at a specific market segment of young (16-34) fashion-conscious consumers. This market segment now accounts for 20% of the Internet shopping population in the UK. According to the market research organisation Mintel, women aged 2024 are more likely than any other segment to spend their money on clothing and footwear. The average spend per head on clothing increased by 76% in 2006 to £1,208. asos.com offers an extensive and diverse range of products for men and women. Its departments cover:
- own brand clothing
- brands high-street and designer
- accessories, for example, sunglasses
The clothing ranges also cater for narrow market segments, for example, for petite women (under 5”3´?). As well as its own brand, asos.com also enters into collaborations with designer labels. This enables it to provide well-known brands that appeal to its young, fashion-conscious target market. asos.com stocks over 400 brands including:
- All Saints
- Fred Perry
- French Connection
However, asos.com would not have grown so rapidly if it did not offer a pleasurable shopping experience. The first step in any online business is to ensure that the website offers something of real value to consumers, something that cannot be obtained by visiting a store or a shop. One central question dominates asos.com”s planning - why would consumers choose to buy clothes online when they could visit a shop and see, feel and try on different items? asos.com had to create an online shopping experience that offered convenience, choice, interesting styles, competitive prices, all complemented with high levels of customer service such as prompt and reliable delivery.
Heavy investment in the website and its underpinning technology has been vital. Behind the technology and the website, asos.com has invested heavily in ensuring that customers get what they want from the online store. Internet shoppers have very high expectations. asos.com knows that customers must be pleased with their shopping experience.