Smoothly does it: ASOS oils the wheels of its supply chain with social media

asos logo

When it comes to integrating social media into its sales strategy, there aren’t many retailers more successful than our client ASOS, the online clothes shop that has won countless awards for its use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and various other platforms. As a mark of how successful its social media campaigns are, it spends relatively little on advertising and other marketing, and yet still reported a sales rise of 47% in the final quarter of this year. It has picked up countless awards along the way, and amassed millions of followers and fans.

Why has social media worked so well for ASOS?

For ASOS, social media is the perfect channel through which to promote its wares whilst building relationships with customers. It also acts as a lubricant in its supply chain, creating demand, facilitating the sales process and smoothing the aftercare procedure.

ASOS’ sales strategy is totally grounded in social media. As an online fashion retailer, it has fully realised the potential for marketing via social media, with its ready and waiting pool of potential customers, its wide reach and its unrivalled opportunity for connecting with the target audience. ASOS has made itself massively accessible by maintaining multiple platforms, its iPhone and iPad applications, its fashion finder tool and its Facebook shop[1].

ASOS is active on ten different social media platforms[2], and has an individual strategy for each according to the different audiences and platform facilities. For example, it promotes its new items in 2-3 visual daily posts on Facebook to its 2.2 million fans[3], but on Twitter has far more regular updates with snappier textual content. Instagram and Pinterest are highly visual mediums, and ASOS develops content accordingly, with image-heavy posts such as style guides. Product codes are added to all images to make it easy to find and buy them, and most links go directly through to its website[4].

How has social media helped ASOS to manage orders and returns?

ASOS maintains separate Twitter accounts for its marketing and its customer care, in order to keep the channels as focussed and effective as possible; one Twitter account handles promotional activity and customer engagement, while the other deals with customer support. Customer queries are dealt with incredibly quickly by the ‘here to help’ account; after making a complaint to the account, customers receive a speedy reply, and then a follow up call from customer service.

ASOS social media response

While it could be argued that enabling customers to seek customer service on a social media platform adds an extra step to the complaint handling process, therefore potentially increasing lead times, in actuality ASOS realised that the customers are going to approach them on Twitter for assistance whether they have a dedicated customer care account or not; far better to anticipate and quickly solve customer problems than leave them floating around in the social media space potentially damaging its brand’s reputation.

ASOS also uses social media for data capture and analysis, which can help to predict buying trends and demand. It used social media to conduct research for its last Christmas campaign, to decide which celebrities to use as endorsements for maximum impact[5].

Of course, social media alone isn’t the key to ASOS’ success; it has taken massive steps ahead of competition by employing incentives such as offering free shipping and returns[6]. Unlike some online retailers who saw this as too risky and potentially costly, ASOS recognised that this was the only way to compete with bricks and mortars retailers where customers could examine, feel and try on the clothes at no cost. They have also taken steps such as implementing a new supply chain management software in order to maximise efficiency in their supply chains.

Further reading

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About ediTRACK

Supply chain software company delivering web-based tracking solutions to help retailers and insurers manage suppliers and processes from; Sourcing, Sample Management, Ethical Trading, Product Development, Order & Shipment Management and Delivery.

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