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Asositis; Excessive preoccupation with acquiring the qualities of ASOS

Swine flu’s out of the headlines, but there’s something else going around in online fashion retail; I’m calling it asositis.

Asositis is the preoccupation to acquire the qualities of ASOS – the brands, the audience, the prominence and generally everything that comes with it.

I’ll accept that ASOS has done a lot to drive the industry and grow the market, so it’s inevitable that retailers aspire to be like them, and professionals aspire to work for them.

But it’s time to get rid of Asositis where online retailers beat themselves up for being far behind and wonder why they’re yet to grab that market share.

Any online retailer that commits to a £5m per year marketing/advertising budget, for at least three years in today’s market, is permitted to have asositis.

That budget and commitment to offline brand awareness (which less trackable) is what is getting ASOS noticed – and yes, of course the talented people that work there too.

It’s OK to have something to look up to - each to their own - but it has to be matched with perspective.

If ASOS is doing something, they’re doing it because it’s right for them. Does that mean it’s right for everyone?

Read more about online fashion

Readers' comments (5)

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. Yes everyone looks to Asos for inspiration but it, along with net-a-porter, are by far and away the leader online retailers, regularly reinventing and pushing the boundaries of what shoppers should expect from an online shopping experience. Isn't it always the case that the specialists in their field lead the pack be those in sub-sectors of bricks and mortar or online? Good ideas tend to be borrowed from elsewhere whatever market they are in and who wouldn't aspire to match those at the top of the ladder. It isn't any different to watching Topshop and River and trying to emulate what makes them great and unique actually on the physical high street. Asotitis is not an affliction it is something we should all hope to catch.

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  • Patricia Davidson

    I believe that it's essential to have a good hard look at what the leaders in any field are doing, particularly with online, it's totally unnecessary to try and reinvent the wheel.

    Having said that there are always obvious markers that contribute to making something great - get those down and then hone in line with your offer, be it fashion, beauty or any other area.

    It always helps to have a huge marketing budget, of course.

    Anything 'itis' isn't necessarily a good thing.

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  • No, it doesn't mean it's right for everyone. I agree with this sentiment. Whilst ASOS are a strong example of how great online retailing can be, they have a distinct advantage in that they were built for the web. High street retailers often have too much to contend with in terms of trying to mirror their brand/stores/catolgues within the online space, and that means they can't simply start from scrath to produce a web-friendly business model. They have too many other factors to consider.

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  • Chris Bishop

    Asositis - fantastic!

    Leon it appears you've been on the trading floor of many eCommerce departments up and across retail!

    I completely agree with your sentiments. How do you qualify how successful your online operation is? Conversion? Revenue/Profit? Investment vs. Revenue? Awards won?

    One we discuss with our clients is revenue/profit per head. A lot of multi-channel retailers still only have small online teams and therefore it is unrealistic to directly compare themselves with the likes of ASOS or platforms such as John Lewis.

    It’s always common for retailers to review competitors along the high street and take onboard ideas, so it will be no different online. Pure play retailers such as ASOS have it easier in some degree as they don’t have to sync their efforts with flag ship and national stores.

    A great discussion topic though...

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  • Hayley Chalmers

    No, it's not right for everyone. As with everything, you have to use what works for you. Unless you are aiming at exactly the same market, with an identical product offering, they why get hung up on trying to be the same? Absolutely copy what they do that will work for you. Never forget that different customers react differently and want different things. Let ASOS blaze a trail, it's great, they are helping to build the online high street and get it into the lives of a whole generation. Let them spend their marketing budget trying stuff, then we'll copy what works for us. As their customers age, they need to get new ones and everyone else can pick up the Internet savvy ones that just grew up.

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