Etailer Asos is to expand its trading platform Marketplace next year, adding a fashion services classifieds section.
The section will allow the listing of fashion services - such as photographers, models and stylists - that its existing and new sellers would find useful in the set up, running and promotion of their Marketplace businesses.
James Hart, Asos ecommerce director, said: “We’re evolving next year, integrating much deeper into the community. One thing we noticed is that people are almost selling their services on Twitter, for example, if they have helped with a [Marketplace] shoot. We want to create a platform that lists all of the things you need to run a fashion business.”
The expansion into fashion services will be supplemented by Asos-produced ‘how to’ videos, guiding sellers on the set up and running of their business, as well allowing sellers to talk to each other.
Hart is also planning to create a more universal consumer experience next year, bringing together products across Marketplace, the main Asos site and from other retailers.
Hart explained: “Next year what we want to do is, if you come to Asos and search for a dress, that you’ll have a universal view of all the dresses from Marketplace, Asos, and from all the other retailers we feature. The aim is to unify all platforms into one fashion platform and drive footfall through to [all] sellers.”
The development of Marketplace is part of Asos’ vision of “enabling and inspiring” fashion discovery, according to Hart.
“We’ve always said that we’re not just a fashion retailer, we’re a platform for discovery. If we’re just talking about fashion and flogging, it’s not authentic. Marketplace is part of the fashion conversation, it’s a nod to presenting the world’s best fashion that doesn’t sit within normal retail models,” said Hart.
Marketplace, which launched a year ago, provides virtual stores for boutiques, vintage collectors, individuals and designers to sell fashion. Established or undiscovered, sellers are encouraged to photograph their items, old and new, telling the stories behind them.The first 12 months have been about building the number of sellers and listings, according to Hart. He expects it to reach profitability in its second financial year, in 2012/2013.
Among the successes have been the first boutique to turnover £100,000 and more than 1,500 entrepreneurs. Growth has been 690% year on year, according to an Asos statement.