This is fascinating – as a regular online shopper, I think ASOS is fantastic because of their incredible selection and rapid delivery. As you mentioned, they do offer global shipping and fulfillment services, which has enabled them to tap into a large market base, however as a customer I have often been wary of buying from ASOS.com because I need to pay international shipping charges to return my items. As return rates tend to be relatively high in e-commerce transactions, this is a huge barrier for me and likely for other customers around the world, especially as most retailers in the U.S. offer free returns. I think ASOS will need to invest in shipping and fulfillment centers around the world to make it easier for customers to return items at a low cost (or ideally for free!).
Thanks Caitlin, I am a big fan of Instacart as well! One other obstacle they face around growth is that certain big retailers (e.g., Trader Joe’s) have banned Instacart from entering their doors because they want to maintain full control over the consumer’s experience and aren’t willing to cede control to a third party service provider. I wonder in the long run how much this strategy would actually hurt TJ’s, and whether Instacart will be able to convince TJ’s to enter a partnership once they are able to gain critical mass of customers.
Thanks for sharing! This sort of decentralized system where store managers select inventory based on local preferences reminds me of Zara’s model. For a business like this where inventory management is so important due to a limited shelf life and limited store space, providing that autonomy to individual stores to forecast demand and predict preferences is both very intelligent and somewhat risky. I assume they would need to tie the store manager’s compensation to his/her ability to manage inventory.