Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - E-tail CEO Departures
Image source: The Times

Last week marked changes in the landscape of fashion e-commerce, following exits from the founders of two of e-tail’s biggest names, ASOS and Net-A-Porter.

Nick Robertson of ASOS stepped down from his role as CEO on Wednesday, having been at the helm of the company for 15 years, though he will remain on the board as a non-executive director. Robertson founded ASOS – originally known as As Seen On Screen due to its replication of celebrity-endorsed fashion – in 2000.

He will be replaced by ASOS’s chief operating officer Nick Beighton, who has been described as “such an able successor for the CEO role” by Brian McBride, the company’s chairman.

Natalie Massenet’s departure from luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter was also announced on Wednesday. The news came ahead of Net-A-Porter’s pending merger with Italian retailer Yoox SpA. The all-shares merger, which will conceive the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, is expected to close later in the month.

Massenet has left Net-A-Porter on a high, taking more than £100m ($153m) after selling shares in the company she founded in 2000.

Since the merger between the rival companies was announced in March, grievances had been aired regarding alleged personality clashes between Massenet – who is known for her positive, democratic approach to team leading – and Yoox’s founder Federico Marchetti, who has previously declared “there is no love” between him and his employees.

In an interview with the Financial Times in May, Marchetti said of his company’s merger with its British rival: “I don’t think any merger in history has been so perfect on paper,” before adding that there would only be one boss of the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group: himself.

While both parties have been tight-lipped regarding Massenet’s departure – and, indeed, where she plans to go next – the 50-year-old Net-A-Porter founder said in a statement: “The business I started in 2000 could not be in better shape today. Having joined forces with Yoox Group, the company will be bigger, stronger and superbly well positioned under Federico’s leadership to lead the industry and create the future of fashion.”

Reported by Grace Howard


“Asos Plc, the U.K.’s largest online-only fashion retailer, said Chief Executive Officer Nick Robertson will step down 15 years after he co-founded the business, as the company moves to the next phase of its development.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - ASOS

ASOS YouTube Channel

The biggest wearable tech launch of the year starts delivering – to those keen enough to have put in their pre-orders already – from tomorrow. One brand that will be hoping for some fashion lovers among those lucky few owners is ASOS, who this week announced more details of their app release on the watch.

As the release and accompanying video revealed, the app’s focus is to deliver a personalised experience for dedicated ASOS shoppers: recommending personalised products according to your habits, or letting you know when an item comes back in stock. It will also use Apple’s ‘Handoff’ feature to allow customers to save an item in their basket on the watch, then easily jump to a mobile or desktop device later on.

The move is the latest of ASOS’ investments in technology that the e-tailer hopes will keep it ahead of the curve. In recent times, the online marketplace has been accused of falling behind when it comes to their technology and logistics – other retailers have caught up when it comes to seamless, high-speed delivery worldwide. But they have continually re-assessed their strategy, and the play for the Apple Watch has arrived at the tail-end of a year of the ASOS Ventures programme. ASOS Ventures is the retailer’s start-up programme, designed to help find the best technology to solve their existing business problems – such as the amount of returns it receives.

Daniel Bobroff, ASOS’ Investment Director, will be moderating a dedicated panel discussion on the subject of out-of-the-box thinking in retail at the Decoded Fashion London Summit. Taking place on 21 May, the conversation will cover everything from the use of big data insights to evolve your brand, to the development of more personalised online services such as that provided by the ASOS Apple Watch app. Investing in the right technology is Bobroff’s forte – find out what’s coming up next for the e-tailer on the 21st.

Reported by Claire Healy


Do you shop at Zalando? The retailer sells branded shoes and clothing to 15 European countries, and is the continent’s largest online fashion retailer. After a well-documented struggle last year, the online powerhouse is back on top: just last month, it reported its first full-year profit, leading to a sale of 17.9 million shares that are now trading 13 percent higher than their listing price. The share sale will increase liquidity in the stock, and boost chances for the Berlin-based retailer to join Germany’s MDAX index. But what’s next for Amazon Fashion’s European cousin?

It might be hard to believe now that Zalando sells 1500 brands to more than 13.5 million customers, but it was born as a start-up selling flip-flops. As the company grew bigger, comparisons have been consistently made with Asos. However, While both are Europe-based and sell other brands, the similarities probably end there – Zalando’s done everything bigger, including having twice as many customers, nearly twice as many brands and nearly three times as many products. But is bigger always necessarily better?

Zalando went public in October 2014 last year, joining other fashion retailers in making the move to the stock exchange in recent times (see: Boohoo, and soon, after merging with Yoox, Net-a-Porter). So what is it about Zalando that means it has come to turn a profit? Other than offering a huge range of products for a portion of online shoppers who want a one-stop shop for everything, the retailer also has an extremely highly rated shopping app in their roster (an unusual feat, even in today’s online-first retail world). Promising to make the experience of buying fashion even easier, the app includes neat features like street style photo inspiration, a barcode scanner to compare prices with items on high street, and an in-app parcel tracker.

To hear more from Zalando, be sure to attend our London Summit – on May 21, the retailer’s Head of Mobile Apps Christian Drehkopf will be in conversation with Jemima Kiss (The Guardian) and Daniel Murray (Grabble) to discuss how mobile strategy could be fashion’s big gamechanger.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Cosign
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While 2014 saw every social network going integrate advertising into their design – notably, even Instagram and Snapchat users saw promoted content introduced into their daily browse – it seemed that the worlds of e-commerce and social networks still hadn’t fully hit it off. The year to come might just change all that, in 2015 the key for retailers will be striking the right balance between all channels- whilst engaging their audience, and hitting the right KPIs. Brands take heed, in this brave new world of social commerce, #hashtags just aren’t going to cut it.

One recent development that may prove a challenge to brands is Facebook’s policy change with regards brand visibility. The days when having a large following on your brand’s page was enough are long gone – instead, Facebook is encouraging brands to use its paid social ads, meaning that organic posts won’t be able to reach fans in the same way. In a tentative e-commerce push, Facebook and Twitter even began testing “buy” buttons this year (Decoded Fashion reported); Burberry was one of the first big-name brands to sign up to Twitter’s service, allowing users to buy products without leaving the Twitter platform at all.

The ones to watch may be image-based social media platforms such as Pinterest – combining scale and niche at the same time, the highly engaged, predominantly female audience should be where fashion brands look to bring their social spending. On Jan 1st, Pinterest announced that it would open its Promoted Pins advertising to all marketers. Brands such as Gap, and Target have already been experimenting with promoted pins. Through the ‘do-it-yourself’ advertising service, brands can bid to appear alongside search results and – key to the ‘pin-board’ aesthetic – within feeds dedicated to specific niche categories.

As Twitter and Pinterest’s advertising potential shows, harnessing user’s online beyond a mere ‘Like’ will be key to ROI in 2015. Indeed, some brands are creating their own micro platforms that, incorporating aspects of platforms such as Instagram, are spearheading social commerce on their own terms. The ASOS As Seen On Me gallery, for example, allows users to share photos on their usual social sites wearing ASOS products and tag them #asseenonme. ASOS’s stand-alone site then displays the user-generated images in a Pinterest-styled gallery, linking out to the relevant products for an ultra-quick sales conversion. You can also directly ‘shop the look’ on Topshop’s #topshopstyle platform- whether such a model works as well for luxury fashion brands is harder to tell.

Another way to incentivize social sharing that might gain a foothold in the luxury fashion world is to financially reward consumers for featuring and tagging products in social media posts. Companies such as CoSign (currently in Beta) and Stylebored allow users to accrue points for views and likes, which they can then cash in for gift cards, prizes or even a percentage of commission for sending a consumer directly to a retailer through their social network. Monetizing users’ social influence in this way might sound slightly terrifying – we’ve all got that ‘personally branded’ friend who has 3000+ Facebook friends, right? – But it could work well for mid-range designer fashion. Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Swarovski have signed up to CoSign, while Donna Karan and Belstaff are betting on StyleBored. In what is looking more and more like a ‘pay-to-play’ social world, neat innovations such as these- are getting closer to the user’s organic posting practices than ever –suggest that this could play a huge part in social commerce success in 2015.

For more on social ROI, join us at Twitter’s London HQ for our first #DFMeetup of 2015.

Reported by Claire Healy


“ASOS teamed up with directorial duo Pensacola and Vice UK to create Colour Control, a music video in which the clothing, background and accessories are themed by shade.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - ASOS video

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Decoded Fashion Westfield Future Fashion Hackathon

Last weekend saw the world’s first hackathon in a shopping centre: From September 20th to 21st, London’s Westfield Shopping Centre (and it’s shoppers) bore witness to a 24 hour hackathon. A group of sixty elite hackers from varied backgrounds teamed up and worked through the night to find solutions to the fashion, beauty and retail industries’ problems.

Participants included developers from the likes of fashion retailer ASOS and augmented reality agency Holition; marketing minds such as senior lecturers from the London College of Fashion; and designers with backgrounds in fields such as UX design for large retailers. The competition was filled with winner from past hackathons, such as the Salesforce Hackathon, the LinkedIn and EE Hackathon, BBC News Hack and Google Chrome Drone Hackathon, along with members of Women Who Code. It was sure to be competitive!

On both Saturday and Sunday, industry experts from Google, Twitter, AllSaints, Front Row I/O were on hand to mentor teams and help them tweak their concepts. The event was accompanied by an exhibition of new technologies around the fashion, beauty and retail space. Westfield shop goers were able to test out the L’Oréal Makeup Genius, try on Google Glass, find the perfect coat using the Fashion 3D augmented reality mirror, and use vrAse to turn their smartphone into a virtual reality headset. Also available to try: the touch-responsive Displair air display; the award-winning 3D controller Leap Motion which requires only your hands, the world’s first bracelet that can charge a phone upon a mere touch, by QDesigns; and a Sound Chamber by NudeAudio. Children were also provided coding classes by FireTech Camp, London’s only tech focussed day campus for kids aged 9 – 17, and CuteCircuit held a fashion show to showcase their innovative designs.

On Sunday, the teams pitched their ideas to our panel of judges: Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council; Myf Ryan, Marketing Director UK & Europe, Westfield; Lisa Bridgett, Director of Global Sales & Marketing at the Net-A-Porter Group; Lee Epting, Vice President at the Samsung Media Solution Centre Europe; Pia Stanchina, Senior Industry Manager at Google; and Millie Mackintosh. They judged the concepts according to four criteria: Is it innovative? Would it excite consumers? Is it cool/beautiful? and Does it solve a real problem?

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Decoded Fashion Westfield Future Fashion Hackathon Winners SkipQ

And the winner? SkipQ, a system that works as an automatic check-out for fast fashion retailers: using unique removable security tags and detachers that only allow the removal of security tags of items that have been paid for, it allows users to pay for an item of clothing on their phone in-store, and leave the store. The SkipQ team will fly to San Francisco for three nights, to receive mentoring from industry leaders of Silicon Valley, including Westfield Labs’ Global Chief Digital Officer Kevin McKenzie. Congratulations!

The audience pick was ShopAID(E), which was designed to enrich the personal shopping experience through allowing users to shop with friends and influencers around the world by way of donating to charity. Check out all the highlights here.

Reported by Anna Abrell


“Is Asos in play? On a quiet day for the markets, the online fashion retailer jumped almost 7 per cent in brisk trade as rumours percolated that a bid could be in the works.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Asos

“Online fashion retailer ASOS is back up and running this morning following a fire at its distribution centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - ASOS

“Europe has produced 30 technology companies worth more than $1bn (£590m) since the millennium, according to research that explodes the myth that the region’s internet entrepreneurs lack vision and sell up too early.

Clothing retailer Asos, games studio King Digital, property portal Zoopla and music service Spotify are among the select group of Europe’s most valuable technology companies, most of which remain independent.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Asos Headquarters