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ASOS Company: Business Plan, Fashion Sector

Online retailing is increasingly becoming the conduit through which companies that want to avoid the hassle of owning outlets turn to. E-tailing, as it is popularly known, has created mega-corporations such as www.amazon.com and Staples, Inc that have leveraged the shift of buyers to the virtual world

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Among the many formidable firms found on the e-tailing niche of e-commerce, ASOS stands out as a unique icon in the fashion industry. This company is an online fashion and beauty store that offers clothing and other accessories comparable to high-end designer products worn by celebrities, but at a lower price. This is done entirely through its website.

ASOS Company Overview

ASOS is a global online fashion and beauty retailer and offers more than 50,000 different product lines for men, women and children. It targets the youthful 16-34 year olds market and attracts over 13 million unique visitors every month with 5.3 million registered users as at 31 March 2011 (Timmins). Started 11 years ago by current CEO Nick Robertson, ASOS now has 1000 employees, with a revenue base of £223 million as of March 31, 2010.

The e-tailer has aggressively expanded its online presence and now has a shop entirely within facebook.com, with platforms in other social media such as Twitter and YouTube. Asos is a good example of an online business that started off in a niche market (serving online buyers), and has extended its product base to new markets whilst still maintaining a strong sense of the original brand identity.

From a general marketing perspective, the firm has keen sense of customer likes and dislikes. Brand awareness is very strong, and visibility is prominent in magazines, newspapers and TV fashion segments.

Market

As indicated, the target market for the company is youth aged between 16-34 years. This is a significant market that has several characteristics that should draw any firm interested in pushing retail products. Firstly, the youth are the most fashion conscience segment of society because peer influences always spurs them to seek acceptance through their dressing. This fact, known by the fashion industry for decades, is the reason why most of the people who to promote fashion products tend to be celebrities who are adored by the youth. “It would seem that celebrities, who by definition have considerable fame of their own, and who are much more attractive to consumers than brands per se, can, if harnessed correctly, create the necessary ‘cut through’, (Pringle, 2004, p. 50). Secondly, the youth tend to spend most of their money in dealing with emotional needs such as socialising and looking good during such occasions. Marketing products that facilitate this process is usually a smart approach. Lastly, the youth have a disproportionate online presence compared to other demographic segments and bringing products to platforms that they frequent such as websites and social media is sure to grab their attention.

In turning to the internet as its main channel for sales, ASOS seems to have acknowledged and adapted to these realities, crafting a formula that has yielded great dividends in a mere decade.

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Competitors

ASOS’ competitors in the discount e-tailing niche include; Net-A-Porter, My Wardrobe, Secret sales, BrandAlley and iShopStyle. Most of these players are smaller in comparison to ASOS and have been in existence for a shorter period. Their market reach and depth is therefore limited and their strategies differ, making their presence and impact much smaller. Thus ASOS is the undoubted market leader in the field of online fashion e-tailing in the UK and Europe.

Work Opportunities

The company has opportunities for new members in the areas of Customer-care, Merchandising, Art (Photography, Artwork), Analysis, Online systems support, Finance, Administration and Marketing. Seeking a job in any of these areas requires individuals to be very dynamic considering the novelty in the ASOS business model.

Location

ASOS is headquartered at Greater London House in Camden Town, North London. From here it runs several websites including www.asos.comASOS France and ASOS Germany. It is also available in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and ASOS blogs.

Culture

The e-tailer’s website has a description of its culture: “We thrive in a culture of restlessness and innovation, which is why we are always on the lookout for talented and inspired people to join us and share our vision” Web. The firm goes on to explain, “Our approach is simple: we work hard, and we are very proud of how far inspiration and hard work has taken us since we started in 2000, but we’re constantly looking for new ways to go faster, bigger, better” Web.

This summarises the atmosphere that surrounds this firm. Only the most flexible, dynamic and dedicated individuals are the ones who can find a true home here.

Contacts

The main contact for anyone interested in joining ASOS is through the ASOS Recruitment Team based near Central Park, Telford. Applications are done online (just like the business) through the website, followed by evaluations. If a candidate crosses this stage a discursive interview follows, then a final task-oriented interview. The process is quite rigorous and only the best candidates ever land a position in the company.

Marketing Perspective

At the same time, ASOS has a robust marketing department based at its North London Headquarters. In 10 short years, this department has managed to spread the ASOS brand across Europe and the US, turning the firm into a globally recognised icon.

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The company also has subsidiary websites such as Fashion Finder and Crooked Tongues that specialise in niche areas of fashion and also have subsidiary marketing departments.

The opportunities for growth while working for the marketing department at ASOS are therefore immense. To get full exposure without undergoing the hassle of seeking employment and possibly being rejected, the best strategy would be to seek a three-month unpaid internship after university. This would give one the opportunity to fully experience ASOS and implement a 30-60-90 day plan that would most likely assure one of employment.

Career Overview

Who I am and where I stand

  • I am studying at American Intercontinental University, London, where I am in my final year of the bachelor’s degree in fine arts fashion marketing.
  • I am seeking a way into the fashion marketing world through e-commerce and I have settled on ASOS as my best option

My Career goals

  • The online industry is the future of business. I believe it is the next thing to conquer especially because of my training as a fashion designer.
  • The first step to achieve my goal is to gain as much experience by working for ASOS. It has the highest market share in UK/Europe.
  • By working for ASOS, I will learn from the best, and gather as much knowledge as possible especially in sales, marketing and merchandising.
  • After working in London for a maximum of five years, I want to return to Norway and create my own online business targeting the teenage market.
  • I plan tom make it the biggest online retailer in Scandinavia within 10 years of my arrival.
  • Within 15 years, I plan to expand to the rest of Europe

30 – 60 – 90 day plan

I intend to share this plan with my line manager when I land the internship opportunity as a marketing assistant at ASOS. This plan will be subject to the requirements of that manager if there is a need for harmonisation

First 30 Days

I will follow the plan below if I get an opportunity to work at ASOS.com as an intern.

  • Meet with the line manager to prioritize expectations of me within the three-month timeframe. The objective of this meeting would be to formulate a work-plan ensuring I get as much exposure to the marketing department as possible while simultaneously being useful and carrying out tasks.
  • Report to my section, present all the necessary paperwork indicated by ASOS.
  • Familiarise myself with the people I will be working with during the internship as well as those who could potentially be my workmates in future.
  • Obtain training / understand of the marketing functions and processes.
  • Undertake tasks to gain hands-on experience.
  • Discuss progress made in the first 30 days with line manager to see if I am meeting his expectations.
  • Review my performance in the first 30 days to see if it conforms to my goals.

30-60 Days

  • From the exposure to workmates and processes, formulate draft-plan that can boost the marketing outlook of ASOS. This is a very dynamic company, which encourages creativity and openness.
  • Adapt a more pro-active approach to the job, now that I have a clear understanding of what it entails
  • Log in extra hours if necessary, to learn what may not fall within the internship training.
  • Review any questions or complaints I may have and plan to bring them up in next meeting with line-manager
  • Ensure all plans for first 30 days are completed.
  • Discuss progress made in the 30 – 60 day period with line manager
  • Review my performance to see if it conforms to my goals.

60-90 Days

  • Build a network amongst workmates within ASOS to learn from them. The knowledge and experience I will be seeking covers the areas of how to land a job at ASOS, how to blend into and enrich the company culture and how to deliver the best quality job.
  • Depending on the feedback from work-mates, adapt and optimize my strategy to incorporate their suggestions.
  • Review my goals to see if the experience I have gathered is falling in step with my plans.
  • If I am failing to meet the goals, consider seeking an extension to the internship.
  • Ensure all plans for first 60 days are completed.
  • Report to line manager on progress for this last 30 day period
  • Review my performance to see if it conforms to my goals
  • Present a formal request for employment if all is well.

References

ASOS.com. (n.d.). Jobs as ASOS Working at ASOS.com. Web.

Pringle, H. (2004). Celebrity sells. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons.

Timmins, L. (n.d.). UK: ASOS.com fills its shopping basket with eGain email Management. Web.

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