Asos’ technology director Andrea Trocino has said that retailers must be “obsessed with optimisation”.

Trocino told delegates at Retail Week’s inaugural Tech. conference that retailers, especially those operating online, need to fixate on improving the customer journey. Losing “half a second” online could, he said, “destroy” internal KPIs.

He added that Asos saw its app and mobile site as catering for different customer types.

“Mobile web is an acquisition channel,” he said. “It’s the first place customers will learn about the brand.” Apps, he said, are for when customers engage with a brand on a regular basis.

Trocino said that the average consumer has 30 apps on their phone and added that “conquering” one of those spots was key to customer engagement.

He explained that there was a huge difference between ‘active installs’ and downloads, with active installs meaning that customers regularly use an app and keep it on their phone after the initial download.

Trocino said that he believed AI and machine learning were more important than technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and digital assistants. “It is going to change everything,” he said.

He also revealed that Asos did not experiment with tech as part of its growth strategy but to make sure it was ready if developments made it to the mass market stage.

“We don’t make a business case out of [tech] experiments, this is not where our growth is coming from,” he said. “But we need to dip our toe in the water so that when it becomes mass market ready we are there.”