Case Study: ASOS
ASOS (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 UK & much of Europe, USA, and Australia and ships to over 190 other countries from its central distribution centre in the UK.
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 including 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.
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 they 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.
ASOS were the first online fashion retailer to introduce a catwalk feature in 2006, producing 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 don't 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...
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