A Day in the Life of an ASOS Package – I could not embed the video but its worth a a quick watch.
Have you ever bought something from an online seller?
The majority of people would answer yes to this.
I personally have bought plenty of things online, and the more I buy the more I want to buy. It is cheaper, easier and more convenient than going to the shops and trying to find what I am after. Chris Anderson introduces us to the ‘long tail’ theory – where we can access more items than ever before online. I shop online regularly with the store ASOS.com. It is based in the UK, they provide free shipping to Australia, and it is quick. The parcels usually take about 5 days to get here which is AMAZING. Especially when you want something to wear for an event and you don’t have much time.
So back to the long tail theory, Anderson uses the example of Amazon and their ability to sell a book a decade after it was printed. A mountain climbing tragedy book to be specific, using recommendations they suggested to buyers of the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer that they may like “Touching the Void” by Joe Simpson, which was the book written in 1988. It had long been forgotten by readers but just with this suggestion people started buying it, and therefore started an increased need for this book. A loop was formed, people buy a book, amazon suggests a book similar, the customer then purchases the book recommended and the loop continues. This ability to bring not so well known materials into the consumers vision was revolutionary.
ASOS is a huge company, not in employee size or amount of stores worldwide, but in items. They have, just in the dresses section of the website 1403 styles available. Could you imagine that many in a physical store? No way. So I click on a dress I like, then ASOS suggests to me another dress similar style that I may like. I usually end up buying a number of items from suggestions/recommendations. This ability to provide an infintate amount of products allows people to be able to buy obscure items which are not in the top 20% of products sold, and also for ASOS to stock these products (the remaining 80%). They don’t pay more to have them hanging in a shop, they can provide a warehouse which has a much larger capacity to hold the products. I LOVE THIS.
The physical world is so constrained. Shops can only hold as much stock as physically possible and reach a local market. With the boost of online stores, worldwide people have more choice, more options and much more power in saying what they want.
An example of recommendations from ASOS:
I click on a dress:
Pops up recommendations to complete the outfit with shoes:
and also these tights:
Anderson, C. (2004). The Long Tail. Wired, 12.10 [URL: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html%5D