Asos credits e-commerce innovation as sales soar

Asos posted a big jump in sales over Christmas and says its commitment to e-commerce innovation helped to attract consumers increasingly heading online to buy clothes.

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Asos posted a big jump in sales over Christmas and says its commitment to e-commerce innovation helped to attract consumers increasingly heading online to buy clothes.

Sales for the four months to the end of December were up 38 per cent to £335.7m. In the UK, its biggest market, sales increased 37 per cent to £133.7m, while sales growth was particularly strong in Europe, up 69 per cent.

Active customers, described as those that have made a purchase in the past year, rose 41 per cent to 7.9m.

Asos CEO Nick Robertson credits “significant improvements” to its customer experience for the sales boost. These include better delivery options, additional payment methods and the rollout of its premier service, which offers perks such as exclusive access to sales and unlimited next-day delivery.

Asos offers features such as “Follow My Parcel”, which lets customers track their purchases in real time.

It has also upped its marketing investment in recent months to support rapid growth, focusing in particular on digital, including pay per click and affiliate marketing, as well as country-specific campaigns. Plus it is using social media to engage with customers, recently launching a new site that gives its fans behind-the-scenes access, as well as the opportunity to enter competitions and attend exclusive events.

Liz Faulkner, retail consultant at Conlumino, says: “As widely predicted, this set of results will brand Asos one of the winners of last year’s festive trading.

“Such wins are earned by Asos’s compelling fast-fashion proposition, targeted squarely at its twenty-something audience, with continued investment in perfecting its product offer, delivering unrivalled fulfilment options and ensuring an engaging customer experience keeping Asos firmly ahead of the competition.”

Asos’s strong performance highlights the growing importance of e-commerce to retailers. Retailers with well-developed multi-channel services, including Next and John Lewis, posted impressive sales rises while retailers with a weak online presence, such as Morrisons and Debenhams, struggled.

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) back up this trend, showing that footfall on high streets and at shopping centres and out-of-town locations was down 2.4 per cent year on year in December.

Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s director general, says: “These figures highlight how the rapid evolution of multi-channel is changing the face of shopping, particularly at Christmas.  Rather than making multiple trips to the shops over the festive period, many of us planned ahead for our gift-buying and took advantage of retailers’ investment in services like click and collect so that they could cover off their festive spending at their convenience.”

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