Wednesday 16 October 2019

ASOS has succeeded where so many others have failed- so, what's their secret?

Gender neutral: Male and female models wearing identical clothing from the Collusion line.
Photo: Asos
Gender neutral: Male and female models wearing identical clothing from the Collusion line. Photo: Asos
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

ASOS, one of the world's leading online retailers, recently launched a new brand to its roster and within a week, it has ranked fourth among the 850 labels available on the website.

What is the secret to its seemingly instant success? Gender neutrality.

Earlier this month, the company announced the launch of its Collusion line, the "ultimate youth label".

This featured male and female models wearing the same clothing, to showcase how flexible both fashion, and by default the gender norms and expectations associated with it, can be.

While others struggle to bring in new customers across industries, ASOS has succeeded in not only retaining loyal shoppers, but also securing the coveted Generation Z customer.

Its affordable price-point also helps with luring in the youth market.

Not only is its message targeted at 'woke' teenagers, most of whom are fluent in social awareness, its most expensive item is €76, making it even more tempting to a cash-strapped young adult.

Data also shows that Gen Z-ers (those born after 1995) are directly swayed by social-media influencers.

So naturally ASOS paired up with select personalities to showcase the clothing's real-life attractiveness directly on your Instagram feed.

But, as much as fashion, like every other industry, likes to think its successes are completely original, everything really is cyclical.

The trends featured in Collusion aren't particularly original or unique.

If you can scroll your memory back to the late 1990s and 2000s, the slip dresses, cargo pants, crop tops and puffer jackets are modern replicates of styles from days gone by not so long ago.

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What ASOS does have is one hell of a marketing team which knows how to sell the brand's very clear vision.

ASOS CEO Nick Beighton said the success came from a simple, yet often undervalued adage - what does the consumer want?

"We look through the eyes of customers," he said, addressing those who "choose to be free to select their fashion the way they want".

The Generation Z shopper is unique, having grown up in an exclusively digital world. They are devoted to social media and are part of the reason there has been a general drop in in-store footfall, which is a factor across most age groups.

So ASOS has successfully cornered a market it has spent years focusing on at great expense.

It has identified the potential growth areas and put its money where its mouth is, with an investment of £230m (€262m) - even after which, it still pulled in a £100m (€114m) pre-tax profit.

Irish Independent

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