Shopping online is more convenient, however it becomes tricky when shopping for clothes as we’re not able to try the clothes on. Hence, we purchase items in the size we think fits us best. This, unfortunately, may not always work in our favour. Often, we receive an item that doesn’t fit us well. We then either return it, store it at the back of our closets hoping one day it will fit, or give it to a friend. Essentially, a waste of time and money.
ASOS, a large online fashion retailer, just launched a new recommendation tool that helps solve this problem for their shoppers.
What is it?
The new tool provides customers with a personalized recommendation of a size it thinks will fit them best. It suggests a size based on customers’ past purchases and returns. Here’s how it works (Cherrington 2017):
- A recommended size instantly appears when the customer views an item.
- Clicking the link shows the customer what the recommendation is based on.
- Customers also have the option to provide input to improve recommendation accuracy by: (1) selecting which past purchases didn’t fit, (2) adding height, weight, age, and desired fit type (very tight to very loose), (3) selecting tummy shape, hip shape and bra size.
If a customer is new, they can add in their height and weight and discover which size similar customers purchased and did not return.
ASOS has received a backlash for introducing this new tool. Some women have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations that the tool is insulting and inaccurate. (Cherrington 2017)
Others have responded more positively to the new tool, as customers no longer have to guess which size would fit and it saves the time and effort that would have been spent on returns and exchanges. It not only provides a personalized recommendation to customers, but it also includes the input of customers to produce better results, making customers feel like they are part of the creation process.
ASOS’ business model is to provide their customers with engaging content and experiences, great fashion at a great price and excellent service through an “effortless online and mobile shopping experience”. (ASOS 2017) More than just a fashion retailer, ASOS prides itself as a technology company – constantly innovating to improve service and customer experience. This new recommendation tool is a strong reflection of their business model and values.
The joint profitability criteria is met as this recommendation tool improves the joint value for both ASOS and its customers. While some customers are currently unhappy with this new tool, once ASOS improves the system to deliver more accurate recommendations, customers are likely to appreciate the tool more. It saves them from spending money on clothes that don’t fit and will increase customer satisfaction.
The investment cost of this new recommendation tool is low as the company only needs to improve the recommendation system based on feedback. The company also benefits from the increased customer satisfaction and sales from customers that previously abandoned their shopping cart due to size concerns.
The feasibility of the required allocations is also met. The polity and judiciary dimensions of the institutional environment do not relate directly, however the social norms dimension is met as ASOS has a strong reputable brand, thus creating trust with customers.
ASOS 2017, ASOS Story, ASOS Plc, viewed 9 March 2017, <https://www.asosplc.com/asos-story>.
Cherrington, R 2017, ‘ASOS Is Guessing What Size Its Customers Are, And They’re Not Happy About It’, The Huffington Post, 24 January, viewed 9 March 2017, <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/asos-size-recommendation_uk_58871c69e4b02085409924c3>.