As Seen On Screen launched as an online retailer in 2000 and is now the UK’s largest online fashion and beauty retailer. The company now has over 35,000 branded and own label products available. ASOS has websites targeting the I-JK & much of Europe, USA, and Australia and ships to over 190 other countries from its central distribution centre in the I-JK. ASOS has been increasingly successful through marketing their products and brands online without the facility of a physical store like rivals such as Topshop and River Island.
There are a number of factors which have contributed to ASOS’s success ncluding no limitations on space to display items; the website is easy to navigate around; it’s accessible 24 hours a day and can cater to busy lifestyles; ASOS runs promotional offers for students which is a large part of their target audience as young adults and it also plays host to a number of popular high street brands such as River Island and French Connection.
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ASOS’s sole online presence means it has no limitations on space or stock unlike physical stores and it is therefore easier to display a larger range of products in a single place.
This factor means that ASOS can target a larger social demographic as hey can offer a larger range of products. There main demographic is a low-middle class, 16-25 age group with a small-medium disposable income. They especially target this audience through their own brand. However, because of ASOS’s online presence and unlimited space they are also able to offer premium and luxury brands as well as second-hand and vintage clothing appealing to a broader market.
In terms of behavioural segmentation, the consumer behaviour of ASOS’s prime target audience has changed over years and it has become increasingly difficult to shop within allocated opening times that physical stores are restricted too. Online retail means people can shop from their home or office – or any other location from a computer, tablet device or smartphone and Internet access. The product range that can be found on the ASOS website is more extensive than most competitors as from there own brand to hosting other brands such as French Connection and River Island.
The fact that they can host a wide range of brands adds to the convenience factor for shoppers as they are able to browse several brands by only visiting one site. The ranger of low-end – premium brands that are offered ensures in targets all markets and can easily meet customer needs. roducing short videos of models in products to help customers further scrutinise a potential purchase. This helps to convince people that an item is right for them and combats the inability to ‘try before you buy’.
This provided differentiation from their competitors and also almost eliminates the need to purchase goods physically. From a marketers point of view, ASOS having a presence solely online is has an advantage for a number of reasons. Firstly, they dont have the cost of overheads that a physical store would. Secondly, through marketing products online there is more opportunity to expand and target other markets. A strong online presence is an easy way to target global market from one base – this is illustrated as much of their sales and revenue growth is due to international expansion.
It also allows them to extend their range to children, men and other countries while taking into consideration geodemographic segmentation as many places have different cultures, religions and climates. However, although marketing fashion online can be very beneficial it does have some disadvantages. One disadvantage is the returns of products are higher than physical stores this is probably because consumers are not able to try before they buy. However ASOS do what they can to keep this to a minimum and have been successful as they have lower returns than most other catalogues.
This could be due to catwalk facility or sales of brands that are also available on the high street so people may have seen them physically in-store for example, River Island. As ASOS do not have a high street presence they need to put in more effort to enhance its brand recognition which possibly means spending more money on advertising & marketing specific items. Almost all of ASOS’s main competitors have both physical and online access which could put ASOS at a disadvantage.
Finally, there will be some consumers that would fall under ASOS’s target market that will never be influenced to buy online and this is when a physical store would be beneficial. ASOS have a strong, loyal customer base with positive reviews and feedback on the excellent service they provide and their diverse, up-to-date range of products. ASOS are also recognised as an ethically involved brand promote social responsibility – this all draws new consumers and ensures their brand and products are displayed in the best possible light.
An issue that may concern some consumers hen it comes to online retail is the delivery and returns however ASOS has maintained an excellent reputation for speedy and convenient returns as well as smooth, easy and free returns. ASOS have also proven to be very innovative with successful mobile interfaces, an app, and online and print magazine providing a variety of platforms to showcase their products consistantly and rapidly while also highlighting popular products, competeitions and promotions.
It also ensures their audience have even easier access to products while on the move – again catering to the lifestyles and behaviours of their segmented market. ASOS take advantage of this. So far, they have been successful at interacting with their customer via social media, blogs and their website. Many of it’s competitors for example H&M (who have the biggest facebook shopping fanbase) and Zara already have a strong social media presence so ASOS need to ensure it remains at the forefront.
Although ASOS have many strengths there are also threats that could tarnish their reputation for example the fact that they sole trade is online could be seen as a major risk if they were to be affected by IT failure; something ASOS have no control over. Ultimately this could mean loss in sales and reputation as a reliable website. People generally have concerns regarding the increased risk of online hacking, ASOS could have something in place for this.
Finally, there is growing competition online as competitors are becoming more aware of success online has to offer and therfore ASOS need to think of ways to differentiate their brand. There are areas where ASOS are at a disadvantage to their competitors for example, their lack of ‘brick & motar’ with no physical shop to display products. As a result, ASOS would only be suitable for people with internet access. There is also no facility to try before you buy which may make their audience reluctant as they may be concerned about the ease of returns despite reviews.
The ASOS website and product range is also quite extensive and could become overwhelming. Despite ASOS growing success, especially in the current recession, they still have opportunities to build their brand and expand. It would be beneficial to target customers outside of its usual market and expand on male ranges and plus size ranges as there is a growing market for both of this areas. There is also a variety of ways to ship goods cheaply now and it would be beneficial o explore these and offer them to their customers.