ASOS get social and get it right.

Author: James Braithwaite

ASOS have been making it big recently. I also noticed that their online efforts are second to none, at least in the fashion retail sector. Their website is top-notch. Nearly all their items of clothing have a gallery of images and (impressively) a catwalk video to match. Their email newsletters are far more comprehensive than that of rivals Urban Outfitters or Topshop/Topman. Nearly all their employees keep an active commentary of fashion on Twitter. They’ve recently launched a community arm of their website called ASOS Life. I wagered, albeit with myself, that ticking all these online ‘boxes’ was, at least in part, reason for their great success. It may be a few months old, but I stumbled accross this article today by Ilana Fox (the Community Manager at ASOS), which seemed to confirm my thoughts. A section from it:

Wherever you look there’s news of job cuts in the press. No newspaper group seems to be able to escape from it, so why are they still spending thousands and thousands of pounds launching social networks and new platforms for their users to talk to each other, when they’re not actually joining in with the conversation themselves? We know the main reason is money, resource, time and effort. We all get that, and it doesn’t need to be spelled out. But could it also be that newspapers like to be the authority, and don’t want to put themselves in a position where that authority is questioned? Newspapers are facing a difficult future, and no matter what a few web-savvy commentators say, newspapers still don’t like – or get – the internet. They don’t want to have a conversation with their users. They want just want them to be readers, and to make sure their opinions are pigeon-holed carefully in selected areas of the brand. For them it’s not a real community – it’s an easy way to look like they want opinions, even if they don’t do anything with them. But where’s the proof that their readers are influencing or helping to create the future of their newspaper brands? I’ve not seen evidence of it. That’s why I’m so excited about what I’m doing at ASOS.com. We’ve not launched the community platform yet, but that hasn’t stopped us from talking to our community already – they were talking to each other anyway, and we’ve started to join in – on our blogs, via Facebook, via Twitter. We want to open up that conversation, and we genuinely want to get know our customers. What we’re launching is a way for our customers to talk to us directly and transparently, to talk to each other, and to help develop ASOS into something even better – something that they want.

Full article: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/shane_richmond/blog/2008/12/04/social_media_todo_list_2009

It’s really refreshing to see a company with the balls to engage in an open community and ultimately benifitting from it.