Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Why Asos is so successful

Brilliant online clothing company Asos.com is thriving. Year on year, it appears to beat new records. No wonders! The site is easy to use and reliable, the end products (clothes, shoes, jewellery etc) are desirable and of varied price range.

I spent some time the other night browsing clothing sites and it struck me how far ahead Asos.com are. Thought I'd set my self a task and use Asos.com, Topshop.com and Mango.com to find a dress and rank experience. Why really is Asos so successful?

Task: Find a summer dress size 8 - that's available

1) http://www.asos.com/
2) Top nav "Women" automatic drop down selection to narrow down choice, I choose "day dresses".
3) Day dress page features a left hand side menu with tick boxes (size, colour, price range, brand , celebrity). I tick size 8 and right hand side product offering automatically reflects size 8.

Every dress on the product area on the right hand side is available and size 8. Job done. I can now pick and choose - a happy and perfect user experience. I know it's now up to me to choose - the rest has been taken care of.

Score? 10/10. Because I'm so happy Asos.com understand users and needs. I bet £100 these guys user tested like crazy.

1) http://www.topshop.com
2) Left hand side nav "Dresses"
3) On bridging page where I have to select what type of dress (view all, bandeau, one shoulder etc). I select "view all".
4) Now presented with all dresses Topshop has to offer. But I won't know if the dress is available in my size without clicking on a dress. I click on a "Denim sundress" for £35.
5) Size 8 is available - hurrah!

Bridging page is not too bad, but Asos.com reduced one step in the process by using smart drop downs. Not being able to sort by size (ie availability) is not only a huge let down - browsing dresses is hit and miss as popular sizes are often sold out on Topshop.com, it also means that Topshop.com is unreliable.

Score? 6/10. Simply because they should as first priority launch size selection. Have spent too much time browsing their site only to find that each product I click on is out of stock in my size.

1) http://www.mango.com - had I not visited this site I would have aimlessly clicked around the site - but I knew to click to Mango Shop... so that's what I'll do
2) I click on Mangoshop.com link.
3) .... page is loading.... and loading... and oh here we go. No idea where to click.

Would you? "New", "Summer", "Catalogue". I have no idea, I want a dress!
I click "Summer".
4) .. and we're loading. Fast laptop, fast connection, 30 seconds to load product type. It now works. I select "Dresses" and size: "Small".
5) I find a dress, it's £42 and it's available in small. Yay!

What Mango product managers don't seem to understand, is that you buy fashion magazines to get inspired. But you visit an e-commerce site to purchase. Better to spend more time developing smart and fast shopping pages determined by garment, size and colour than flash files and background music.

Score? 3/10. Because I have used the site before and even though I now know how to navigate, the site is infuritantly slow and user journey does not make any sense.

Sumary. Asos.com = smart and reliable. They use their offline monthly freebie magazine to promote brand and offer the inspiration. They then use their site solely to drive sales and make the process as smooth as possible. They offer clever and "make sense" product menu choices. Sorting by size avoids disappointment. Asos works and users come back. Brilliant job people! This is how e-commerce should be done.

Anyone agrees? Is there an online clothing shop out there that outdoes o mighty Asos?


  1. I am obviously biased (being an ASOS insider) but I think your blog post highlights what so many online retailers still fail to understand. Shopping online _must_ be easy. It takes very little to discourage consumers from purchasing on your site, and the guys who look after our site's usability know this. And, I am happy to say, it sets us apart from the rest a little.

  2. Hi Oyuvind. Thanks for the reply - you're doing a superb job. Keep on delivering the good work.