How we do it

How we do it

Our customers

Twenty-something fashion lovers everywhere. Giving them the fashion they want, now.

We’re connected through daily global edits on asos.com, our magazine, marketplace channel, social media and beyond; delivering their purchases for free from our UK warehouse to 231 countries and territories around the globe.

Target 20 somethings

Overview

Our core customer is the twenty-something fashion-lover: an avid consumer and communicator who is inspired by friends, celebrities and the media.

We are obsessive about understanding them so we can join their conversation and offer them the fashion they want.

Who they are

Setting trends or following them, most twenty-somethings are engaged with fashion.

For them, their clothing – and beyond that, their style – expresses their identity and helps them assert their individuality.

Twenty-something consumers lead digital lives: they have instant access to information, communicate constantly with friends and broadcast their daily lives and thoughts across the social networks. For them this level of communication and interaction is what they’ve grown up with.

And fashion matters to them: 67% of under-25s believe how they look is important with almost three quarters of all young women saying they enjoy shopping for clothes*.

That’s because fashion is also entertainment. These young consumers don’t just like to shop online. They follow and often comment on celebrity trends; they blog their own “fashion editorial”; they broadcast their thoughts on style in soundbites on social networks and via YouTube.

How do they like to shop?

Two thirds of those aged 19-25 shop online because it’s faster and easier**. And they are responding in different ways to the financial squeeze – for example, in the UK we’ve found that the 18-21-year-old group is the most likely to shop according to discounts compared to those in their mid or late twenties*.

* Mintel Young Fashion Report December 2011
** ASOS Finance analysis by age bracket February 2012

How we reach them

Our customers want the right fashion at the right price, fast. They want to share their ideas on fashion and discover what fellow fashion-lovers around the world think about the clothes they love. At ASOS, we satisfy this need.

For starters, we’re entertaining: asos.com is not just about selling clothes. We talk style, beauty, celebrities, music, and television and we do it through high quality editorial, on our blogs, through our Magazine and in our daily edits and updates.

We’re wholly interactive and ‘truly engaging’ – so that means our customers can share their choices and inspiration with each other – privately through their social network pages like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, or to the world on our site or via Pinterest or Instagram.

In this way, our customers can define themselves and enhance their sense of belonging.

For those who aren’t yet completely fashion savvy we provide daily, even hourly inspiration and tips to help them develop a style and keep them in the know about fashion.

All the while making sure we’re witty, enthusiastic and sometimes authoritative so we always strike a chord with the twenty-something customer.

And of course, they can get to us on any web-accessible device they happen to be using – mobile, tablet or laptop/PC.

What we sell

Overview

We sell up to the minute fashion at a price our customers can afford, including ASOS own-label as well as an edit of the very best brands.

We make sure our products are desirable, accessible and in season for our customers where ever they are.

Product Mix

Our customers want to fill their wardrobes with the latest trends at the best price, and expect us to offer equal or better quality than our competitors.

In a bid to satisfy every taste and style, we offer 75,000 separate clothing ranges, spanning womenswear and menswear, footwear and accessories, alongside our jewellery and beauty collections.

We’re vigilant about making sure we’re always on top of the hottest trends and we have over 800 global and local brands, including New Look, Pull & Bear, Jack Wills and The Kooples. We launched our own-label ASOS Tall range and added new third-party ranges including Little Mistress Plus Size, Glamorous Petite & Tall and New Look Petite & Tall.

Fast fashion / own brands

Through our own-label ASOS brand we can respond to trends as they emerge.

Our product offer remains focused on our global, fashion-conscious 20-something customer. Key to our product strategy is leading fashion trends, global relevance, amazing choice and great value for money. Our ever-growing collection of specialist own-label lines, including ASOS Curve, ASOS Maternity, ASOS Tall and ASOS Petite makes sure we have something for just about everyone. We added new product categories including gifting and women’s ‘Reclaimed Vintage’ and also launched several exclusive designer collaborations.

ASOS own-label fashion is popular in the UK and even more sought-after overseas. Rihanna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, One Direction and Zac Efron are just some of the celebrities we’ve loved seeing wearing ASOS recently.

So how do we respond to a trend so fast? We’ve been on a mission to streamline a product’s path from design to sale, looking at our current practices & how we can make them faster, more efficient & ultimately deliver more of what our customer wants. And to make sure we stay ahead of the competition, we’ve sharpened the prices on our own-label range.

Global & local ranges

Our collections are desirable, accessible and seasonally relevant – wherever our customers are in the world.

We have country-specific websites in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and USA.

We want to give our customers worldwide the clothes they want, when they want them.

This doesn’t simply mean rearranging the items we already sell on the website. It means we buy, and plan differently, for our customers around the world. For example, launching a Spring/Summer collection in Australia (where we are the number one apparel website*) ahead of the rest of the world.

To make sure we stay on top of what customers want outside of the UK, we have set up offices in New York, Sydney, Lille, Berlin and Shanghai.

Ethical brands

We want to create great fashion that is also good for the planet – this means focusing on local brands, using sustainably produced materials in our ranges and creating partnerships with charities.

‘Made in the UK’, ASOS Africa, and Eco Edit are some of the ASOS initiatives that underpin our commitment to ethical fashion.

We have stocked more brands that are made in the UK, and ASOS is proud to stock British labels such as Barbour, Trickers, Cambridge Satchels and Kinky Knickers.

Please see http://www.asosplc.com/responsibility.aspx for more information.

Channels

Multiple channels

ASOS is far more than just a shopping website.

Fashion-focused twenty-somethings can visit asos.com while searching for fashion, reading about it or talking about it on social media with their friends on their phones, tablets or laptops.

This year we launched a ‘New In’ app in the UK and Denmark, an Apple Watch app and a new mobile news website, ‘ASOS Likes’, which provides customers with daily inspiration, pop culture and lifestyle news. In addition, we ran our first ever mobile-only promotions with encouraging customer take-up.

Asos.com

We are now a global fashion destination for 20-somethings with over 13.4 million active customers (up 25% on prior year).

We have country-specific websites in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and USA.

We’ve come a long way since asos.com was launched in 2000.

Marketplace

ASOS Marketplace is a platform which allows users to shop directly from boutiques and brands around the world. With over 900 boutiques from 40 countries selling 50,000 items Marketplace is the destination to explore and shop the best of vintage and boutique fashion.

Our 20 Something customers love variety and finding unique pieces is an important part of their fashion life. ASOS Marketplace offers our customers the opportunity to explore a curated range from the coolest emerging labels, curated vintage collections & small hip boutiques and ensures that whatever your fashion need you can find it somewhere on ASOS. 

Any emerging designer, vintage seller or multi-brand boutique can apply to set up a boutique on Marketplace. Our in-house team review each application to ensure it’s something our customers will get excited about and that they can deliver the level of service our ASOS customers expect. Once approved they are able to set up a dedicated Marketplace storefront, list an unlimited number of items and become a valuable part of the ASOS community. 

Our boutiques fulfil all orders themselves and pay £20 monthly rental plus 20% commission on each sale. With ASOS' huge fashion loving audience Marketplace is an amazing sales channel and a great opportunity to grow an emerging fashion business. Several boutiques brands have even gone on to be sold through ASOS.com

ASOS magazine

We have now launched the first French and German editions of the ASOS magazine, with a US version to follow shortly. We have been testing new formats like Instagram Stories, Facebook Live Video and Snapchat filters. We have local Snapchat channels going live in Australia, France and Germany and new Instagram accounts for Menswear for France and the US.

Social media

Social media at ASOS HQ is based around our customers' wants and needs. We tailor the content that we push around across our 10 social networking sites to their gender, region and the topical things that are going on, allowing us to create the most engaging experience on a truly global level. As a brand we aim to innovate.

Our social channels all have a clear direction and personality: they house everything from behind the scenes content and shoppable updates to interactive competitions.

We talk directly to every customer who follows or ‘Like’s' us on our social channels as part of our business objective to hit 24/7 engagement. Interacting on social is as important as emailing or taking phone calls… maybe even more so!

Distribution

Overview

With 60% of our sales now coming from outside the UK (as of 31 December 2016) we need to be able to deliver quickly, conveniently and reliably anywhere in the world.

Delivery

In the UK, we have a four-hour estimated delivery window for standard delivery and returns collection, with a ‘Precise Delivery’ where customers can select a one-hour delivery window.

We now have unlimited free next-day delivery to both home and store for French Premier customers and next-day delivery for German and Northern Irish Premier customers.

We have introduced Express services to 66 new countries with an improved standard delivery in the US, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Canada and Israel.

Our Pick-Up-Drop-Off (‘PUDO’) network in the UK now has 6,000 store locations to choose from. Our Click & Collect service now extends to Boots.

Customers in Italy, the Netherlands and Poland now benefit from a next-day deliver-to-store option at over 4,300 locations. Internationally we now have over 16,500 deliver-to-store locations.

Returns

Continually enhancing our returns options enables us to move towards our goal of providing a best-in-class customer proposition. In the UK we now have a mobile label-less returns solution in 3,000 locations.

Free returns are a key part of our customer proposition and we now offer this to the whole of the EU and to Australia.

We have a returns processing facility in Poland that processes nearly all returns from the EU.

Our UK warehouse

We have now added a further packing module to the mechanised picking solution at our Barnsley warehouse which allowed us to achieve record levels of despatch. A second despatch sorter will further increase capacity.

Planning permission to extend the Barnsley facility has been granted to enhance the work environment for our people.

We pay above the National Living Wage and are committed to migrating towards the living wage foundation level over the next 18 months.

Customer Service

Our customers don’t just buy our products, they become part of the fabric of ASOS.

Their participation in the site is what sets ASOS aside from an online shop and makes it a fashion destination.

We have around 920 ASOS staff in our Customer Care centre in Hemel Hempstead.

Their mission? To give customers – wherever they are – the best experience possible of using ASOS.

We are available to our customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.

Our staff can speak to customers in more than five different languages, across email, Facebook, Twitter, phone, the website’s dedicated review centre, Google+, Instagram and Youtube.

We consider ourselves ‘customer obsessed’ – and our technology department has developed a personalised service allowing us to log the experience customers have using ASOS, with any problems or communications with us to date.

We encourage participation across all our social platforms and have over 19m followers, up 54% compared to last year.

Our customer is savvy and can be cynical both about advertising and about the state.

We know this from research which also suggests twenty-somethings demand truthfulness and transparency in their dealings with companies.

They look to us for guidance – not advertising.

Asos.com provides style advice that customers can trust.

We strive to be agnostic and advocate what’s best for our customers, even if it means promoting a product, trend or retailer that we don’t stock.

If customers feel ASOS is an authentic part of the online fashion community, they’ll come back to us, they’ll listen, and they’ll shop with us.

We always let our customers contribute, participate, co-create and share content from ASOS if they want to. Our relationship is a collaboration.

You don’t have to be famous to feature on ASOS, you just have to love fashion.

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What were your biggest environmental challenges in 2012?

Our biggest environmental challenge as a rapidly growing business is, by far, how to manage our carbon emissions from customer deliveries. We now deliver over 12 million items per year. Two thirds of ASOS’ carbon footprint is attributable to overseas deliveries, most of it from air freight. We purchase over 3 million kg of packaging annually to help protect our products during transit, so we have a clear responsibility here to use lighter packaging that can also be completely recycled by our customers.

What solutions have you put in place for packaging?

All boxes are made of 100% recycled material and both our boxes and bags have been designed so that customers can reuse them for returns or recycle them. We have increased the recycled content of our plastic delivery bags to 25%. We recycle all bags and boxes returned by customers.

How can we reduce the impact of customer deliveries?

We are currently talking to our suppliers about how they can contribute. Many have programmes in place to reduce their carbon footprints. For example DPD, one of our UK and European carriers, offsets for free, as part of their standard service, all of the emissions generated from ASOS deliveries. Many others are also reducing their own carbon footprints, for example by building new logistic hubs to make better use of energy-saving technology such as solar and wind power.

What are your priorities for 2013?

We want to offer customers ‘drop’ locations such as shops or lockers. This would allow our carriers to drop a number of consignments at a single location instead of taking single parcels to individual home addresses every time. We estimate this could save at least 20,000 single parcel deliveries per year. We are also talking to our UK suppliers about using electric, multi-fuel and fuel saving technology.

What are the biggest sourcing and ethical trade challenges currently facing the fashion industry?

Near sourcing, a term used to describe products sourced from the UK, Eastern Europe and Turkey, is on the increase. As more retailers seek to buy from these countries their capabilities in terms of export capacity, raw material and worker availability will become stretched. This, in turn, may lead to an increase in outsourcing. Mapping these lower levels of manufacturing will be a difficult but necessary process to ensure that the most vulnerable supply chain workers are protected.

How do you see ethical trade at asos developing over the next 5 years?

ASOS launched a comprehensive three year ethical trade strategy in October 2013 with the aim of improving conditions for supply chain workers, reviewing and updating ASOS's own internal practices and increasing supplier understanding of ethical trade principles. To support these objectives, following a period of supplier consolidation, we will look to expand our ethical trade team so that we are able to build closer, longer-term relationships with a smaller number of dedicated suppliers. We are confident that this approach will put us in a very strong position to enable us to continue to grow rapidly, whilst ensuring high ethical standards are maintained throughout our business and supply chain.

What are you looking for in a supplier of the future?

We aim to work with suppliers who strive for commercial and ethical excellence. Our preferred long-term partners will be those suppliers who are able to grow with us and support us to deliver our commercial, ethical and corporate responsibility commitments. As we continue to consolidate more of our orders with fewer key suppliers, they will need to be flexible and responsive in their sourcing approach, particularly in terms of being able to find new manufacturing partners from across different regions. Above all, we expect suppliers to commit to implementing responsible sourcing programmes to raise ethical, environmental and animal welfare standards throughout their own supply chains.

Why did you sign up to the programme?

I was unemployed at the time and had been trying to get into the fashion industry (and in particular ASOS) for over a year. I had no experience. I hoped the programme would give me a bit more insight into the industry.

What did you most enjoy about the programme?

It was really well rounded. We got to experience a bit of everything, which was massively helpful when we weren’t sure which direction we wanted to take. I found the afternoon with the HR team to be a fantastic opportunity. I was given one-to-one help to tailor my CV.

What did you find challenging?

I think there were some strong personalities in the group, but it helped build up my team skills. By the end of the week everybody had learnt how to work together.

How has the programme helped you progress your career in fashion?

It was massively beneficial. The HR team got to meet me in person rather than over my CV. This led to my first temporary position at ASOS. The programme helped me to rebuild my confidence and that has kept growing since. Everyone who took part in the programme was so encouraging and kind, they really made an effort to engage all of us.

Why did you decide to take part in the scheme?

I wanted to work with young people who needed help and direction in using their CV to get a job. I also thought the experience would improve my team working and presentation skills.

What did you do?

We facilitated a workshop for a group of about ten 16- to 19-year-olds to build their confidence to find work. We gave them exercises that looked at what should go in a CV and conducted mock interviews with them.

Why did you choose to volunteer for The Prince’s Trust?

It’s a well known organisation, and one which I have always thought would be good to get involved with.

What was the highlight of your day?

Making the young people on the course excited about finding work.

Has the experience had any lasting impact?

Yes, and I would definitely do it again.

Why did you decide to take part in the scheme?

It’s nice to be able to take a day to help out with something a little different that also helps the local community.

What did your volunteering day involve?

We took a year 4 class from a local middle school to the London Aquarium.

What charity did you choose to volunteer with?

Kids Co, a charity that provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner city children.

What made you choose this charity?

Kids Co has strong ties with ASOS, and I’ve previously worked with them on some of their fashion projects. It was a nice opportunity to volunteer with them for a different part of the charity.

What was the highlight of your day?

The whole day was a blast, but I think the penguin enclosure got the best response from the class. Everybody was very excited!

What lasting impact has the experience had?

It’s just nice to be supported by your company in taking a day to go and help out a school that couldn’t otherwise take such a fun day trip. I’m always impressed by Kids Co, and this was an ace way to get involved again.

What can the fashion industry do to portray a healthy body image?

Stop showing images of perfect, overly-airbrushed, unattainable bodies. Show bodies that are beautiful, aspirational, diverse and real all at once.

Has any progress been made?

The elements of the fashion industry that are really in touch with their customers are beginning to change their approach. But there’s a long way to go before everyone is on board.

What is your advice for ASOS?

You can help people achieve a positive, healthy body image but it takes a long-term commitment. So stay with it!

Why did you decide to come and work for ASOS?

I had shopped on asos.com many times when I saw that there was a reception position available. I was really excited as I loved the site and thought it would be brilliant to work at HQ. As a fun, creative and a growing company I thought it would be a great place to start a long-term career.

How has your career progressed?

I applied for the receptionist role in 2006, when the company was still quite small (about 65 people in HQ). The reception team did a lot of admin, IT, deliveries and generally anything that needed doing or fixing! It was hard work and very fast paced but I loved it as no two days were the same and I learnt a lot of new skills.

As the company grew it became more apparent that we need a dedicated Facilities Team to help run the office. As I was already doing a lot of the facilities work anyway I decided to take on the newly created role of Facilities Co-ordinator - another fast-paced role as we were constantly growing! I was in charge of desk planning, finding new office space etc. It was a great role where I learnt a lot and got to work with lots of different people from right across the business.

In 2010 I moved into another newly created role – Corporate Responsibility Co-ordinator. I had been working on quite a few CR projects while on the Facilities team and had really enjoyed them, so when this role came up I was really excited to about all the new projects we¹d be working on.

What have been your ASOS career highlights?

I was in my early twenties when I started here and I feel like I’ve grown up with ASOS! I’m particularly proud to have been promoted to CR Manager and to have started studying for a degree in International Studies, which is something I would never have had the confidence to do if it wasn’t for the support of ASOS and particularly my manager.

The work we do with the Prince’s Trust is something that I feel very passionate about so I was delighted when one of the participants from our 2011 Get Started with Fashion programme was nominated for the regional Celebrate Success awards and even more thrilled when she won!

How do you see your career developing over the next five years?

I see the CR team expanding which will allow us to take on more exciting projects internationally through the ASOS Foundation. It will be wonderful to have my own team working on our Community programmes.

ASOS Africa launched in 2009 in partnership with SOKO. Three years later in November 2012, amid growing demand for the ASOS Africa label, SOKO opened a new factory, doubling its previous capacity. ASOS' contribution, which met half the cost of the new factory, came from sales of the ASOS Africa collection which were then matched by the ASOS Foundation.

The new factory will not only boost production and provide more employment but will allow SOKO to extend its customer base, providing more opportunities to support development of the local community.

In 2013, we plan to invest in new machinery at the factory, to increase efficiency and manufacturing capacity. This will enable SOKO to grow their business with other clients as well as hasten the time it takes for ASOS collections to reach the market.

I get to work just before 9am, turn on my PC and first thing’s first – tea! Once I’ve got my brew I can focus on the influx of emails in my inbox. I spend the first hour making my way through these while listening to the last hour of Chris Moyles on Radio One, a must.

We receive lots of boutique applications a day and we look through any new ones that have come through. We have to check that the imagery is suitable for the site and follows the guidelines.We also need to make sure boutique owners are making the most of the features they have access to and what they need to do to be featured on the homepages.

We are currently spending a large chunk of the day scouting for new boutiques both on and off line. We visit markets and shows, keep a beady eye on ASOS Fashion finder, scour blogs and find some really exciting prospective sellers. We went international in September (bonjour, hola, ciao and all that) so we are finding some really amazing international bloggers with beautiful clothes to sell. 

We use social media quite a bit to keep in contact with our boutiques, following them on Facebook and chatting via Twitter helps us to feel connected to them and them to us and reminds them that there are actual real people on the other end.

We aren’t just about boutiques; we have thousands of basic sellers so we are working on ways to increase awareness that ASOS Marketplace is also a platform for wardrobe recyclers in a pure fashion format.

We love meeting our sellers so will always do our best to make it to any events they are running or attending. It’s fair to say that this isn’t necessarily a Monday – Friday, 9 – 5, but that’s what we love. You have to be flexible as the days are so different and sometimes there will be a launch in the evening or a fair on the weekend. But, you know what, when you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work!

The only downside to my role is that somehow, don’t ask me how, at least 5 new items get added to my basket a day!

WHAT WERE YOUR MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF 2015?

This year we've achieved greater coherence and focus in corporate responsibility. Our Fashion with Integrity strategy has matured and is becoming part of everyday business. The more our corporate responsibility programme is understood by our people, our suppliers, our shareholders, even our customers, the greater the buy-in and impact it will have. In particular, we need all our colleagues to work together to drive forward the changes we need.

A good example is moving our Ethical Trade and Product Sustainability Teams into the heart of our retail operations. That has helped us make real changes in how we source and buy products in a way that works for everyone involved. Key to success in improving labour conditions is to build trust and openness in supplier relationships and to take a critical look at our own practice. That needs real dialogue with the key players – workers, factory managers, suppliers – which can only really happen if our buyers are engaged in what we're trying to do. And I'm pleased to say that, increasingly, they are.

WHAT ABOUT SOME OF THE CHALLENGES?

The challenges haven't gone away, of course. Our rate of growth and the complexity of fashion supply chains mean that improving the sustainability of our business isn't easy. Much of our environmental impact comes through third-party partners – and we don't have a direct influence on their operations. However, what we can do is influence their practices, which again is about working in partnership – with our colleagues, our supplier partners, expert advisers, NGOs, government and as part of cross-industry groups. I strongly believe that the four clear pillars of our restructured Fashion with Integrity strategy will help to further foster those partnerships.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR SUSTAINABLE FASHION IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS AT ASOS?

We will continue to grow and market The Eco Edit so that our male, as well as female customers, have access to an ever-increasing choice of sustainable fashion and beauty products. I would love to be able to say by 2020 over half the items ASOS sells carries one or more of our sustainable fashion signposts.

Sustainable sourcing will become more embedded within our design, buying and sourcing teams, to the point where the sustainability credentials of a product will carry as much weight as commercial factors such as design, quality, price and lead time.

WHAT HAS THE FULFILMENT CENTRE BEEN DOING TO REDUCE ITS CARBON, WASTE AND WATER FOOTPRINTS OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS?

We have added Eco Dome water saving technology to all our toilets. We are in the process of replacing all of our lighting with automatic sensor LED technology. We also improving our building management system (Trend) to ensure the heaters and air conditioning run as efficiently as possible.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES OVER THIS PERIOD?

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced so far happened during the fire we had at the fulfilment centre in June 2014. We had to ensure none of contaminated water from the fire discharged into the river Dearn. Our water management system called an interceptor prevented this from happening.

WHAT ARE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES FOR 2014/2015?

We will aim to try and further reduce our power consumption by installing more energy efficiency technology. We also want to increase the biodiversity around the site and regenerate the land that was disturbed during the building of the new extension. We are located in the middle of the countryside!

HOW IS THE ASOS FOUNDATION IMPROVING THE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE TO DISADVANTAGED YOUNG KENYANS?

The ASOS Foundation is working closely with Seed of Hope’s business incubation hub, Dhamira, and Business Development Manager to create virtual or face-to-face training and mentoring opportunities, to support young graduates to develop business plans and attain the necessary skills to make their businesses successful.

The ASOS Foundation has also assisted some of Seed of Hope’s top students to apply for scholarships to further their studies. Higher level, nationally recognised qualifications not only help to build young people’s confidence but also open doors to more employment or self-employment opportunities.

Monday is the busiest day for the buying teams. I spend the day looking through the previous week’s sales, highlighting the best and worst sellers and discussing any actions to take with my team at the department trade meeting. As a Buyers Administrative Assistant (BAA), you quickly learn to identify key style stories from analysing sales, for example any colours, shapes or trends that might be selling well or turning off this season.

Throughout the rest of the week, I am kept busy maintaining the department’s critical paths which involves managing product from when it is raised as a style to when it is gold sealed by ASOS in our weekly fit sessions. Building up relationships with suppliers helps to ensure critical paths are kept up to date and that product is managed onto the website in a timely manner.

The weekly fit sessions bring together buyers, technologists and designers to review the fit of each product sample. This is when I’m able to get involved in product development as the team shares opinions on aesthetic and technical fit. The BAA is responsible for collecting product for these sessions and since there is often a lot, it is important to organise them efficiently to avoid delays in the product process.

We also regularly keep an eye on the competition. I carry out weekly online competitor reviews, and follow this up with visits to competitors’ shops throughout the season with the Merchandising Assistant. We report back to our team about the biggest trends, any new directions our competitors are taking and highlight any areas for us to work on.

As a BAA, I provide admin support to my team but also build up relationships with other departments at ASOS, including production and PR. Now that I’m familiar with my department’s product and have seen the process of building a range for each season from the beginning, I feel confident in handing over product to the editorial teams to give it the final push that will help boost sales.

What do ASOS Customers contact you about?

Our customers contact us about a wide range of queries, from ordering and returns to specific product information and complaints. We also receive questions about body image and ethical trade, as well as enquiries about what we’re doing to protect animal welfare and the environment. We’re always keen to showcase our award winning, out-the-box thinking, and to demonstrate how efficient, friendly and responsible ASOS is.

Have Customers become more interested in ASOS’s approach to Corporate Responsibility?

Yes, definitely – and we like that! We’re proud of our Fashion with Integrity programme. Our customer care advisors are kept up to date with ASOS’s latest corporate responsibility endeavours. Whether it’s achieving another ‘green’ credential, like being carbon neutral, or questions about model welfare, we’re always eager to keep our customers informed about ASOS’s approach to being a more responsible and ethical company.

What do you enjoy about working in Customer Care?

Being customer obsessed is part of the ASOS DNA. I love being right at the heart of all customer interactions, ensuring their best interests are always met. We’re passionate about making sure our customers have a fantastic shopping experience with us so we work closely with other areas of the business to continually improve and enhance our high standards of customer care.

I love the variety in my workload and the fast-paced environment. No two days are the same, and playing a part in such a friendly and fast-growing company really makes a difference to how satisfied I feel when the working day ends.

How do you see ASOS’s approach to Customer Care developing over The next 5 years

We’ve always been pioneers, and we’ll continue to be front-runners when it comes to customer care. Our customers are savvy and quick to pick up on new trends - not just in fashion, but also in technology, corporate responsibility and regarding exceptional service. With that in mind, we’ve challenged ourselves to be one step ahead, always anticipating our customers’ needs so that we can continue to give them exceptional service.

What has ASOS done to further embed ethical trade within the business?

The ethical trade team joined ASOS' new sourcing department towards the end of 2013. This puts us in an even stronger position to raise awareness among, and better influence, our buying and technical teams, which is helping to further embed ethical trading principles into their buying practices. To develop our new ethical trade strategy we also consulted with the directors of several departments who participate in the CR Leadership Group to find ways to work collaboratively with them to not only support suppliers to advance working conditions, but also to look at ways to improve our own internal buying practices.

HOW DOES ASOS' NEW ETHICAL TRADE STRATEGY SUPPORT WORKERS?

Our new strategy will take our ethical trade programme beyond auditing, as we recognise that audit reports, in many instances, do not create long-term change. Over the next three years we will launch a number of worker initiatives designed to improve worker management dialogue, increase wages and wage transparency and advance understanding of health and safety practices. Suppliers will be central to the success of these initiatives, so we will also be working closely with them to increase their knowledge and commitment to improving working conditions for their employees.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES YOU FACE OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS?

We aim to create long-term relationships both with our suppliers and the manufacturers they use. We already have many suppliers and manufacturers who have been working with ASOS for four or more years. Fast, reactive fashion can create unstable supply chains. Recognising this and finding ways to maintain a stable, ethical supply base will be fundamental to us achieving our long-term business goals.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO COME AND WORK FOR ASOS?

I came to work for ASOS after seven years experience working in fashion retail, specifically for bricks and mortar brands. The opportunity was very exciting as I’d never worked for a company with such a phenomenal growth rate; in my previous roles I’d been used to more established brands with growth rates of just a few percent year on year. It has been a great career move for me in terms of the amount of change and investment for growth I’ve been part of over the last four years.

HOW HAS YOUR CAREER PROGRESSED?

It has progressed beyond my expectations. I was employee number eight in ASOS Commercial Finance and started three weeks after the Commercial Finance Director. In four years, I’ve been promoted and now have a team of fifteen people working for me, spanning across four distinct areas of commercial business support and planning. The Commercial Finance team has increased from eight to 30 people and our business has grown from 400 to 1,200 people in the time I’ve been here. Four years experience at ASOS feels like ten to fifteen years somewhere else.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR ASOS CAREER HIGHLIGHTS?

I’ve been lucky enough to have lived through some of the ASOS ‘firsts’, such as our first international website and setting up our country offices. On a personal level seeing how much my team and Commercial Finance has grown and contributed to the business is something I’m really proud of.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR CAREER DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

Just two years would be a significant amount of time in ASOS given the business continues to change at pace. We are still growing and taking on things that are increasingly complex. A lot of the challenges that ASOS will face are ones that I can help with; being more sophisticated around our decision-making and where we decide to invest our money for the long term, for example. When I think about how much we know now compared to two years ago the progress is huge, but the continuing pace means that we will need to keep growing our insight and intelligence to support the business and positively impact the bottom line - the demand just keeps on coming!

WHAT MADE YOU SIGN UP TO GET STARTED WITH FASHION?

I was unemployed and was not in education. I knew I wanted to get into fashion but wasn't sure how to go about it. When I found out about the programme "Get Started with Fashion" I knew it was a good starting point.

DID GET STARTED HELP YOU TO ACCESS FURTHER OPPORTUNITIES?

Yes, it helped me connect with people whereas before I was quite shy. It also led me to the ASOS Stitching Academy which was amazing!

WHAT DID YOU LEARN AT THE ASOS STITCHING ACADEMY?

I learnt how to use different types of sewing machines, I had no idea there was so many! We made basic garments for ourselves it was such a good experience.

HOW HAS THE SUPPORT FROM THE GET STARTED AND STITCHING ACADEMY PROGRAMMES HELPED YOU TO PROGRESS YOUR CAREER?

Get Started and Stitching Academy have been great I have kept in contact with people from both associations. I think knowing the people from ASOS is an advantage if I was to apply to work there! Also the Stitching Academy helped me try get work after the course, they were very encouraging! Both programmes helped me to get a place on a HND course in fashion And more importantly I gained confidence in myself.

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