asos: social shopping

ASOS Facebook store

The buzz on the internet this week – in retail terms – has been all about the launch of the new ASOS store on Facebook, with the already uber-successful online fashion retailer leading the way in the land of social media.

Let’s face it, ASOS have always lead the way in social media and innovation. They showed everyone how to do it – and still do it better than anyone else – on Twitter (how often do you check your timeline to see what the latest offer for your lunchbraek retail therapy is?) And even before this, they were doing email marketing better than the rest. Topshop basically took their lead from the magazine treatment ASOS delivered to our inboxes – along with the free delivery offers etc.

So now, you can shop ASOS direct from Facebook with the launch of their new app ASOS official. But is it any good?

Like any app, once you’ve allowed it access to your profile, there are a number of ways you can get to it. The simplest way in the beginning is just to visit the ASOS page where you’ll find a tab cunningly labelled ‘shop’. One click and you’re off. Once you’ve installed the app, you should also find a direct link to it from the left hand sidebar on your news feed or profile.

Once you’re in, the navigation options are pretty much identical to the website. Choose male/female, then a category and so on. I’m glad to see they’ve kept it this way rather than trying to come up with something new for the Facebook functionality, and happy that the dropdown filters have remained intact as well. There do, hoever seem to be a couple of little kinks that need ironing out.

Loading seems a bit jerky and pages appear to load once (in not a bad loading time actually for such an image-driven app) and then quickly refresh again immediately afterward.

The colour scheme could be improved in places as well. There’s an awful lot of grey coloured copy, and at least on clearance items, it’s difficult to see the actual price. Doesn’t help that it’s darker grey that’s not all that distant from black…

Overall though, the actual shopping experience is, well, pretty much identical to the website. You browse, put items in your basket then checkout. You can sort my price order, or colour, or collection. And you can choose what currency you want to work in as well. Plus, you keep the same account details as always and can log in and view your account information in just the same way (the only difference that you need to know about here is that the login is at the bottom of the screen, not in a navigation bar at the top).

But of course there are those few added extras that social brings with it. Its marginally easier to ‘share’ a piece that particularly floats your boat in that there’s a couple less clicks. You can post straight to your wall by adding a comment in the box under the item you’re viewing and you can invite your friends to join you in the social shopping experience. And of course, there’s still the ever present ‘like’ button.

So actually, ASOS have taken the best possible route – they haven’t fixed what isn’t broken; they’ve just modified it for the new channel. Clever people.

It will be interesting to see how well the store performs, what, if any modifications / innovations ASOS make as time goes by – and how many other retailers follow suit. I suspect, many.

A bigger question though: will this start to move Facebook towards becoming an all-encompassing ecommerce site that takes over the world? If every retailer, game, designer, service, business and product has a portal on Facebook, will we bother visiting other websites at all?!

(tek)

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