DR GORDON Fletcher, retail expert from the University of Salford Business School comments on falling profits at online retailer ASOS.
Dr Fletcher said: “Today's profit warning and resulting plunge in ASOS's share price shows that e-commerce retailers cannot afford to rest on past success. The sole innovation in the original business model of e-commerce was to take the traditional retail form online.
“The subsequent development of technology and newer business models means that further innovation is now needed. While online retail is a challenger to traditional high street brands this also does not make e-commerce immune from the rising power of the consumer or changeable weather conditions. Similarly e-commerce must deliver a strong customer experience that includes rapid, cheap and convenient delivery as well as a free returns policy.
“More importantly, for ASOS, or any e-commerce brand, they should not expect to compete solely on price. There are too many online competitors in every sector to enjoy reasonable long-term success as a discounter. The fashion industry is not only a fickle and fast-moving sector it is also one not solely driven by price.
“Perhaps it is time for ASOS to reflect on its origins. In 2000, AsSeenOnScreen offered consumers a particular focus and was a distinctive offering in what was an already crowded fashion market - how long ago that initial challenge to fashion and retail now appears.”