Melissa Littler, marketing director at Brand Alley, asks: With the benefit of hindsight, what would you do differently with Asos?
Nick Robertson (NR): I possibly would have gone international earlier – we could have been a year quicker. But when you’re a fashion business, you rely on employing fashion people. Let’s face it, As Seen On Screen wasn’t exactly the employer of choice among the fashionistas back in 2002. I’ve noticed a step change in when you start getting more of the right people on board, so perhaps setting our stall out in fashion sooner would have got us there earlier.
Miriam Lahage, European general manager of fashion at eBay, asks: As you expand into new formats and categories, how do you keep the Asos branding consistent for the core customer? Do you expect that the core customer will evolve over time?
NR: Keeping the brand consistent is all about fashion. Whatever is fashionable, we will be in first with a trend. The danger, especially if you just operate in a market like the UK, is the temptation to simply grow older with your customer. If we were just a UK-based business and we saturated the audience of 20 year olds, then we would have no choice but to expand the demographic. But it’s more about refining the focus to this 20-year-old market and going for it globally – sticking to our core customer.