Asos Rises Out of the Ashes for Global Expansion

Move over, Next and Zara: Asos is on the rise.  True, earlier this year a fire at their distribution center cost the UK retailer a reported £25-30 million loss in sales. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at their performance. The UK retailer has quite literally risen from the ashes to meet market predictions, ending the financial year on a high note.

So how did Asos.com manage to recover despite this year’s setbacks? We wondered the same thing. To get the whole story, we took a look at Asos.com using the SimilarWeb platform. What we found was pretty interesting.

Domestic Bliss

The company is doing very well on the home front, firmly holding onto 2nd place amongst the top UK clothing websites. Asos.com ranks 93rd in global rank for the category, with nearly 9 million average monthly desktop visits in the past year.

Asos.com’s website traffic sources were distributed pretty evenly, with the strongest showing in Direct and Search. This is pretty standard for shopping websites. While SEO for search is undoubtedly important, the strength of the brand is key: A strong brand helps establish a positive reputation. People are more likely to save the brand to their browser for an even easier shopping experience. This is where direct traffic comes in, and Asos is clearly making an impression from that source.

Check out how Asos.com is doing compared to their strongest competitors:

Asos-Next-Newlook

No one’s arguing the importance of direct traffic here – the direct result of a strong brand (no pun intended). But it’s good to keep an eye on Search to see what’s trending. We used the ‘Popular Pages’ tab on SimilarWeb to find out what people were searching for this summer in the UK.

asos uk popular products

Obviously, when we’re talking about retail sites the most important factor isn’t traffic quantity, it’s conversion rate. How many of Asos.com visitors made it all the way to checkout? Using the data on the Popular Pages feature, we calculated the approximate conversion rate to be 5.14% out of total page views. This translates into about 18,208,450 successful visits over the summer.

The New British Empire

The success of the Asos.com website is due in part to the diversity of their foreign markets. In Q4 the company reported a 33% increase of UK sales and a 14% increase in constant currency from international business.

The site is rapidly gaining a global presence, with brand awareness reaching the furthest corners of the world.  The site consistently ranks as one of the top 10 online clothing websites in different countries. In some markets it occupies first or second place (Ireland; Australia, Hong Kong and others).

category rank abroad for asos

Asos.com is the fifth biggest retail site in the industry in terms of direct visits. Ranking 5th place in the global shopping industry  is pretty impressive, even without the setbacks the company faced this year.

Their high industry rank is just the tip of the iceberg, though. Thanks to some strong efforts in SEO and PPC, Asos is the 4th most-searched brand in the industry, following Zara, H&M and Zalando. The UK retailer is also one of the top  PPC spenders, again taking 4th place on the list for paid search traffic in the industry.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement! Asos can do a lot more work on social networks to boost brand awareness (and increase organic search by default). Pinterest is the number one traffic destination of Asos.com’s outgoing links, responsible for more than 16% of all outgoing traffic. Yet Pinterest brought only 12.3% of all social traffic to the shopping site during the past 6 months, which is less than the share of traffic brought by either Vk.com or Reddit.

Since Pinterest is the 3rd biggest social media site driving traffic to the clothing industry, Asos could benefit from a stronger presence on their network. The same goes for Instagram. The image-based social media network ranks as the top 8th destination for Asos.com’s outgoing links. They have 2.5 million followers yet less than 1% is bringing social traffic back to Asos.

social traffic distribution for asos

top social media sites

Outgoing links from Asos.com

 An Online Retailer to Fit Every Market

One key takeaway from analyzing Asos.com’s international success is that their marketing approach is tailor-made to appeal to each region. Asos has a flexible product line and SEO strategy customized to meet the demands of each of their foreign markets, regardless of the region.

Take a look at top product categories that Asos customers searched for in different countries:asoscountrycategories

Combined with strong branding efforts, this targeted marketing strategy is helping Asos climb the charts as an emerging leader in online retail. The strength of the brand has allowed Asos to not just survive – but thrive – even in the face of extreme challenges. This bodes well for the longevity of the Asos brand, and we expect to see continued expansion both within the UK and abroad.

About the Author -

Pavel Tuchinsky is a marketing analyst and blog editor at SimilarWeb. He came from the world of International Economics, passionate fan of e-commerce and technology.

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