By Aimee Chanthadavong

One of the world’s most successful online retailer ASOS launched its Australian site mid-September this year. RetailBiz managed to sit in on a conference session at the Online Retailer Conference on Wednesday to find out exactly what is driving the success of the company.

Jon Kamaluddin, international director, described the Australian market as the “dark horse”, highlighting that two years ago the country was the seventh largest market outside the UK before creeping into the fifth a year ago and now first place.

“It’s grown so much that in ASOS terms, Australia is returning sales gross that the company earned back in 2007,” he said.

ASOS launched its shopping offer to Australians on September 16, targeting the 16 to 34-year-olds and attracts 13 million visitors a month. All the features of the Asos UK website have been made local including the Fashion Finder and Marketplace.

The company also recently opened a local return centre in Sydney, which will enable consumers to pay for local shipping costs for returns instead of international shipping costs.

According to Kamaluddin, the company’s best decision was to internationalise the business where two years ago, ASOS’ international operations generated 30 million pounds but today it is generation 300 million pounds.

He also revealed that free shipping has been core to the company’s success where the company spends 60 billion pounds a year on shipping costs.

“Every time we asked our customers what they wanted, free shipping was the second most important thing to them after product offering and range,” he said.

And while the company is one of the most successful pureplays, Kamaluddin admits the company is seeing the arrival of competition in the market.

“Traditional retailers are coming into this online channel and for us as pureplays it’s a threat. So as pureplays we have to concentrate on we best and leverage our financial investments a lot more,” he said.

Fast facts about ASOS:

  •     50,000 clothing lines
  •     850 brands including its home brand which makes up almost 50 per cent of the stock
  •     Introduces 1,500 new lines each week
  •     Ships to 196 countries across seven sites
  •     They sell enough dresses to cloth Paraguay
  •     The size of their UK warehouse can fit five MCGs