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How Asda’s George clothing will succeed online

It’s a no brainer. Asda now has the potential to reach non-Asda supermarket shoppers, and offer fashion lovers a Primark without the queues.

It’s a good sign for the fashion and internet industries that key decision makers, in a company such as Asda, are willing to take on the challenge of taking a value clothing brand online.

One of the main difficulties I think Asda is going to face is not how to market the website (traffic should come easily), but how to market the idea of buying value clothing online. Will anyone want to do it (I think yes)? And how can you convince them that they do?

Online-only players such as ASOS and Lipsy have marketed the idea of buying celebrity inspired fashion online, meaning new players in the online celeb fashion field have only had to worry about marketing their own brand instead of that AND the concept.

Similarly for those with suitable pockets Net-A-Porter has made buying high end designer fashion online an accepted experience.

There are many routes Asda can take to push the ‘value’ concept, which one it decides on remains to be seen.

However Asda chooses to differentiate George online, ‘bulk ordering’, should be a key message in the campaign. It’s unlikely that people will buy from George online because a said item is “really nice”, but more likely because “it’s practical and I could do with a few of those to see me through the next season”.

Will all 3,000 George items be available on the website a year after launch? I doubt it. By then they will have enough history on which to decipher which products to strip back to – I would guess the basic staple pieces, such as jeans, vests and underwear, will succeed. What do you think?

Readers' comments (2)

  • Hi Leon
    It would be very exciting to have George availability online but it has to be recognised that web trading is a very different business model to retail. My experience suggests that margin and gross profit management will be tough. Unlike ASOS and NET A PORTER, transaction values are likely to be low. When you combine this with the likelihood of large volumes of returns (perhaps up to 1/4 or 1/3!) then alarm bells start to ring with me!
    Like you, I don't see a problem with visitor numbers; I think they will be pounding at the cyberspace door.
    Good luck to them. I hope they get round the above problems because it would be a great advance for consumer choice.
    Geoff Smith Retail

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  • Hi all,

    As a Managed Ecommerce Supplier we have seen both ends of the spectrum managing websites for super high end fashion retailer Cruise, and at the opposite end, soft furnishing retailer Textiles Direct.

    We have seen that the lower end of the scale a low transaction value does not mean high % refunds, it appears to be the opposite. As long as there outbound delivery does not affect margin, it will be just another sales channel with the added value of convenience, biggest failure will be keeping it up to date.

    Craig Bradshaw
    First in Retail Ltd

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