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ASOS Taps Mobile Apps To Share Content With Fashion-Savvy Consumers

Consumers leverage smartphone and tablet applications to interact with their favorite brands, as well as access detailed content such as articles, blogs and news announcements about new products and collections. In fact, 38% of tablet shoppers and 42% of smartphone shoppers say apps help strengthen brand recognition, according to recent research from Adobe.

ASOS, a UK-based merchant of apparel and accessories for men and women, has amplified brand awareness, engagement and loyalty since releasing content-based apps for iPhones and iPads. With the apps, ASOS shares a variety of content relevant to customers, such as editorial on fashion trends and up-and-coming actors and musicians, according to Duncan Edwards, Editorial and Design Director at ASOS. The interactive mobile experiences were developed using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

The apps also empower consumers to browse inventory, complete transactions and share considered purchases with friends across social networks. As of March 2013, mobile constitutes one-fifth of all ASOS online traffic, Edwards explained, with 100,000 unique readers using the apps.

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“Our goal with our content strategy is to capitalize on the fashion expertise we have within the company,” Duncan said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Since we constantly are working with buyers and designers, including their insights definitely makes our content more authentic and credible.”

ASOS first ventured into publishing in 2006 by bundling a print catalog with relevant publications that were sent out to direct mailing lists. This strategy helped raise awareness for the retailer, but “as the magazine took off, it became more of a loyalty tool to keep customers engaged with the brand,” Duncan said. The print magazine quickly transitioned to digital when the iPad was released. “We knew we had to hop on board with the iPad, and partnering with Adobe allowed us to do that quickly and efficiently. When we stopped producing thick magazines, we could move more quickly and release more issues.”
However, instead of simply replicating the print magazine, the ASOS team decided to eliminate large, text-heavy features, and focus more on articles that were complemented by detailed photographs and slideshows.

“From a strategic standpoint, we thought it was better to have just a cover page,” Duncan explained, “and go right to the great images.”

In addition to touting a variety of articles on fashion and other cultural topics, the ASOS app also is commerce-enabled and features social sharing capabilities. That way, consumers can browse and click on product images, complete transactions then share purchases with social networks without leaving the app environment.

ASOS recreated the iPad app experience for iPhones to provide customers with “something bite-sized that features the very best of ASOS.” Duncan added that the iPhone app currently receives five times more downloads than the iPad offering, so refining and perfecting the smartphone experience “is top priority.”

Due to their success worldwide, the apps are being updated to feature new technology that allows consumers to personalize their shopping experiences based on preferred language and currency, according to Duncan. “This is a small step for ASOS towards becoming an international publication.” The retailer also plans to monetize the publications even further by pushing more issue sponsorships.

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