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Asos mobile head urges retailers to 'kill the keyboard' and keep apps simple

Asos.com’s head of mobile has advised fellow retailers to “kill the keyboard” when designing apps, keep it simple and create beta communities to test with the most loyal customers.

Speaking at a FashTech event at Asos’s London office earlier this month, which aimed to bring fashion and technology companies together, Andrea Trocino said “the best apps are very simple” and focus on one idea, like WhatsApp and Snapchat.

He urged retailers to experiment, saying: “No one knows what will happen when customers start using it, so don’t be afraid - just try it.” But he insisted it was crucial to capture the essential data to understand any necessary improvements and have the agility to constantly innovate. “I go through every review in the App and Android stores every morning,” he explained. “You need to be on top of feedback from customers.”

To do this he suggested creating beta communities to test new ideas, as Asos does, comprising the most loyal customers. In exchange, they feel appreciated because they get to try something before others. He added that frequent updates are needed to keep them, since most people only have 30 apps on their phone at a time.

Earlier this month, Asos revealed it will be one of the first retailers to bring out an app for the Apple Watch, to be launched on April 24, which will send messages highlighting products and provide delivery updates. It is expected to be launched in the next two months.

Trocino also told retailers to ensure shoppers don’t need to use keyboards to input data when on mobile platforms, instead using social media login or PayPal payment systems.

Speaking at the same event, Alastair Harvey, visual search firm Cortexica’s global sales and client services director, revealed the firm will update its Find Similar technology next month.

Find Similar, which matches shoppers’ photos to products available to buy and is used by Very.co.uk, Zalando and US department store Macy’s, will now give suggestions for other products to build an entire look.  

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