MaryLou Costa is a key member of the Marketing Week features team and her blog brings her unique Australian perspective to brands. She also oversees the Market Research Focus weekly bulletin.
Face to face with my brand hero
I dread to think of the amount of pounds I have spent with Asos since I discovered it in 2007.
It has been a running joke in both offices I have worked in during the four years I have spent in the UK that if a delivery from Asos arrives, nine times out of 10 it’s for me.
So it was a no-brainer in terms of brands I wanted to pursue for a profile in Marketing Week, and, finally, more than a year after I fired off my first hopeful email, there I was in Asos’ HQ in Camden, north London, awaiting the arrival of chief executive Nick Robertson.
It was a struggle for me to refrain from gushing at how much I love this brand - how many times its enticing emails have had me making an order before I can even think about it, how the content and quality of the magazine rival that of any glossy, how its catwalk video feature allows me to scrutinise potential purchases before striking them off for being too see through or too short, and, of course, free delivery and returns to make this the most hassle free clothing website I have ever ordered from.
However I couldn’t hold back on revealing to Robertson that I had indeed selected an Asos-brand dress to wear to the interview that day in the ultimate brand homage. I had debated in my head as to whether this would turn out to be a completely unnecessary faux pas or if this would be an ideal place to start the interview.
Luckily, Robertson was pleased and so began what came to resemble a one on one focus group. “What do you like about the website?” he asked. “What don’t you like?”
I racked my brains for things I don’t like about Asos and it finally came to me - reviews. I would like to know what other girls who’ve ordered a particular product have had to say about it, in reference to their own size, shape and colouring, but Asos does not offer this feature.
Robertson considered my feedback before explaining that reviews have been on the Asos to do list but have fallen in priority in favour of technology developments - sounds reasonable to me. But he wouldn’t be drawn on specifics when I started dreaming out loud about futuristic 3D technology where I could one day upload a picture of myself to a clothing retail website and so I could virtually try things on and see what they look like on me and not an amazing looking model.
He nodded along as I outlined this vision, and while he wouldn’t say for sure, I think making the online experience as barrier-free as possible is the ultimate achievement for all online retailers. This kind of technology isn’t just my shopping dream, it’s what brands like Asos have got engineers working on as we speak.
Another one of my online shopping dreams is being able to have a webchat with someone from customer services so you could ask the all important questions before purchasing - what is that material or colour actually like? Will it be suitable to wear to a wedding?
Some banking and insurance websites already offer this function, so I think it’s only a matter of time before fashion websites also adopt it.
Asos has always been with first with such innovations, so who knows - maybe my interview with Nick Robertson gave him some food for thought?