Great to meet you, Marc. There's not long left until the event begins - what sparked your interest about the event?
Two things in particular. For a start, when you look at the line-up and see who’s speaking there, you think to yourself “wow, I have to go to this!” There are so many experts attending and the insights from that promise to be phenomenal. Also, we all expect the Sponsored Ad space to grow but, currently,events dedicated to it are few and far between. So it’s a no-brainer taking advantage of this rare opportunity to hear the latest perspectives. It’ll be great to hear discussions about what’s working, where the market is going and how I can take those learnings back to enhance our offering for our customers.
Tell us a bit about ASOS US and your role there.
We’re a British-based company with a strong U.S. and global presence. We operate in a fashion-forward space; and have big plans for expansion in the American market. In fact, we recently launched a fulfillment center in the U.S.for this very purpose. I was hired earlier this year with the remit of Commercial Director. It’s my responsibility is to ask “how do we take our business and super charge it?” We know the U.S offers substantial growth opportunities. My team and I are looking to answer this question. We want to operationalize our offer in the U.S. This includes everything from “how do we speak to our customers?” to “what is our delivery method?” to the products we have on site and so on. It’s an eCommerce role with national implications. We want to double our business in the next two to three years.
How do Sponsored Product Ads fit into your advertising strategy?
Companies want to find ways that help share their message. It’s harder to do this online, and Sponsored Ads are a great way to get your product in front of a customer that’s looking for it. Although we’re still in the research stage, this will be a huge consideration for our offer sometime down the road.There are so many options to launch SPA functionality. But you have to do it in a way that enhances the customer’s UX. This is something we’re excited to get right when we launch them.
What do you think has made ASOS so successful as an online retailer, relative to others in today’s environment?
I really think its organic growth in the U.K. and Europe was a big help. ASOS offers its key demographic great products at great prices. We serve and communicate to customers the way that suits them. As we look to expand in the U.S., it’s a matter of building on this principle –and continuing ASOS’ spirit of innovation.
The platform economy has come to increasingly dominate the industry. Do you have a strategy to compete against e.g. Amazon?
There’s no question that marketplaces globally have had a big impact. You look at Amazon in the U.S., Mercado Libre in South America, TMall and so on – there is a trend to offer everything to everyone. But not everybody wants to buy their clothes on Amazon, or other mass retailers. That’s just not what they’re catered too. We’ve seen smaller, shrewder retailers pop up that have been able to market themselves successfully. There are opportunities in these spaces – as seen from niche DTCs and savvy retailers onwards. I think it’s partly picking up on these trends. Making sure we incorporate them into our strategy as well. Why is the customer looking for this? Why are they purchasing it from you? From my perspective, we need to keep building that unique product experience for our customers. That’s key.
How does Customer Lifetime Value factor into ASOS US’s strategy?
Knowing where to find our best customers has been integral to our plans for expansion to ensure we’re spending our budget effectively – and have had a great response fairly swiftly. We’re heavily invested in a CLV approach.
I was at a conference recently: a highly successful retailer told me that their customer acquisition costs had gone up 100% year-over-year. They now pay double the previous cost to acquire customers in the U.S. market. You need to target more effectively than ever. Factoring in the amount of money spent by these huge marketplaces emphasizes how important this is. You need to be diligent about spending, and accounting for that spend. Factoring in the CLV of customers is a big part of the wider picture.
What is the status in terms of co-funded campaigns?
Internally it’s something we’re keen to develop as we move along. It’s a good way for brands to present themselves. Especially new brands that may not be so well known, but customers would love if they knew about them! There are so many opportunities for working with brands that we’re looking into. We’re confident we can be more efficient with what we currently do in the U.S. market – co-funded relationships come up as part of our discussions.