How Social Media has Changed E-Commerce #AsSeenOnMe

By Alex Trumble

How good is the internet!

By the time you finish reading this blog post, I could have gone online, sourced some inspiration from my Instagram feed, picked a saucy outfit from an online retailer for date night with the missus on Friday and received a confirmation email that my payment was approved and my order was being processed. Even better, the new number would likely arrive on my doorstep within 48 hours.

In this glorious day and age, where a whole generation has never needed to learn the meaning of ‘delayed gratification’ (and has a weird fascination with avocado on toast), it is interesting to see how these young people make purchase decisions.

What, or perhaps more importantly, who influences these decisions? And; What effect does a company’s social media strategy have on these consumers’ decisions to buy?

After some digging, I can find no better than our friends at ASOS (side note: did you know ASOS stands for As Seen On Screen! #EveryDayIsASchoolDay). Now, back in the heady days of 2014, ASOS developed a user generated page on their site that enabled anyone and everyone to use the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe. Users can upload their picture using the hashtag, and voila, you’re on the page! Better yet your outfit doesn’t need to be from ASOS, because within their 80,000 branded and own-brand clothing options they are bound to have something similar.

For example, I can select a filter like ‘night out’ or ‘streetwear’ and ASOS’s handy dandy algorithm will pull together a few options for me (see below).

Now, I think that our mate @newboy101 looks pretty sharp in his Monet-inspired threads and Ray Ban shades, so I want that outfit. Clicking on his post will bring up his uploaded photo and all of the options available at ASOS that will help me ‘get the look…’.

This, in my opinion is pure and utter genius. ASOS never have to think about what is on trend. They have a page full of content generated by their TARGET AUDIENCE, which is constantly updated with trending styles. While they may not be able to provide you with an exact shirt or jacket, they can come pretty damn close.

This works on multiple levels for our millennial audience:

  • A one stop shop – No one wants to trawl through countless sites trying to put together an outfit. Gimme’ that one! And gimme’ it now! ASOS conveniently places all the pieces right in front of you. And if it arrives and you don’t like it, you can always pop it back in the bag and send it back – with free shipping of course.
  • Your style – My mate Nicky dresses like a train tagging hood rat. He will, no doubt, be able to find that style (and exactly how much that North Face jacket and Tommy Hilfiger hat will cost him). This means all tastes are being catered for, which encourages repeat purchases.
  • Community – For many millennials, the number of likes you receive on a post is all that really matters. Not only is ASOS creating exposure for their audiences’ personal accounts, but they are also providing the option to follow the user to help them boost their personal brand. This functions as a reward for the audience and encourages them to submit more posts, generating more content for ASOS. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Surely those are only influencers with big numbers who get posted to the page?’ Did I mention our mate newboy101 above only has 146 followers?

I understand that not all companies are as big and mighty as ASOS, with their £6,000 share price, but we can still learn from their example. Utilising social as a platform for their customers to express themselves and influence others has ultimately led to the brand’s customers selling their product for them. The kicker is even better – it hasn’t cost ASOS a cent, other than some website design…

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