As Asos comes closer to achieving its ambition of £1bn sales from five major markets by 2015, we look at the key opportunities the etailer has to drive that growth.
China – The country is already one of Asos’ top six performing regions, and that is without having a country-specific website. Its Australian website has helped sales catapult in the country, so the same fillip is expected when its Chinese site goes live in 12 months.
The country’s ecommerce sales is enjoying growth “unlike any other market in the world” according to Forrester’s Asia Pacific Online Retail Forecast and they are expected to jump 25% over the next five years. And it’s not just China. Asos chief executive Nick Robertson says more country-specific sites can be launched in quick succession once its single platform is complete in the next 12 months.
Mobile – 16% of Asos’ traffic already comes from mobile and Robertson says conversion from its iPad device is higher than from PCs. However, it is international mobile sites, which the etailer is planning to develop, which offer the most opportunity for Asos. Mobiles are much more prevalent than computers in emerging markets such as India and could open another wave of consumer for Robertson et al.
Menswear – The online retailer’s menswear sales have soared 60% over the past year and Robertson is investing for further growth in the category. “What an opportunity,” he says. “The menswear market is underserviced compared to the womenswear market.” Robertson also says that return rate in menswear is lower, giving the retailer - which offers free returns – a margin boost also.
Tailoring its international offer – Asos is working on introducing merchandising capability to its site to tailor its offer from country-to-country. The move would help ensure clothes are season specific and should bring a sales boost. Robertson admits that customers in one of its biggest markets, Australia, buy end-of-season markdown products as the UK-focussed product on site is just entering into season down under.
Return hubs – The retailer has already opened a facility to stock returned products in Sydney and is planning on expanding this across its other key markets. Around 30% of Asos products are returned, and all at the expense of the etailer which offers global free deliveries and returns. By opening the hubs, Asos can resell the product in the country rather than ship back to the UK, bringing major margin gains. Robertson said Asos will build the hubs into full distribution centres over time, slashing shipping costs.