Eleven years ago the British online retailer Asos launched its Asos Marketplace platform. A lot has happened since then. From the 20 sellers at that time who offered their assortment on the online marketplace, today more than 1,000 sellers have emerged. We spoke to Jo Hunt, head of Marketplace & men's brands at Asos.com, about the impact of Corona on Asos Marketplace, trends and the advantages of the online marketplace for smaller boutiques.
Asos launched Marketplace 2010 with 20 sellers. What has happened since then? How many brands/vintage boutiques have been added to date? And in how many countries is Asos Marketplace active?
We have over 1,000 sellers on Asos Marketplace from around the globe and we travel the world scouting brands.
How did the idea of founding Asos Marketplace come about over a decade ago?
We launched Asos Marketplace in 2009 and decided to strategically focus on true vintage clothing, new brands and emerging designers with the aim of providing a supportive platform to new talent and access to the global Asos audience. We’ve always loved shopping vintage both in the UK and when we travelled; Asos Marketplace allowed us to connect international boutiques to buyers around the world and also for our customers to browse and find unique pieces and one-off treasures from the comfort of their own homes.
During lockdown Instagram and other social channels have become an even more important way of us discovering new sellers. Lots of people also find us through the main Asos site and apply directly.
What requirements does one have to meet in order to sell on Asos Marketplace?
We look for creative and entrepreneurial boutiques selling affordable, good quality, trend relevant products that we know our twentysomething fashion loving customers will love.
What is the main goal of Asos Marketplace?
The main goal is to provide a supportive platform to new and emerging talent which gives them access to the global Asos audience.
During the pandemic, Asos Marketplace has experienced strong sales, brand and traffic growth as customers turn to online retail for their vintage and independent fashion fix. Customer behavior on Asos Marketplace has also shifted, with the surge in demand for loungewear translating to year-on-sales in April increasing dramatically for jumpers (+421%), womenswear hoodies (+119%) and sweatshirts (+166%).
Eighty new labels have been added to the Asos Marketplace since April 2020. How is it currently? Has the trend continued? Is the number of new labels increasing?
We are always on the lookout for new brands to join the platform. Since the start of lockdown, Asos Marketplace has seen surging demand from new boutiques looking to join the platform, especially those which would otherwise primarily sell through brick-and-mortar stores or at markets. More than 80 new independent brands were onboarded in April, an increase of close to 100% on last year. To help support these boutiques and open up opportunities for small fashion businesses, Asos Marketplace has also waived its small monthly rental fee for new and existing independent retailers, helping them continue to trade during lockdown.
What advantages does the Asos Marketplace have for labels and boutiques?
We’ve always strived to use Asos Marketplace to support and foster young, independent fashion boutiques and talent, helping them grow their businesses and at times even move over to the main Asos site. Now more than ever, we’re grateful we can use our platform to assist fashion traders and boutiques that would otherwise normally rely on foot traffic.
During the lockdown, loungewear became one of the most popular pieces on the Asos Marketplace. How does that look right now? Which parts and labels are currently trending?
While loungewear is still working really well for us, we are seeing customers start to purchase items to wear out. Jewelry is popular at the moment as people are looking for new ways to dress up their casual looks.