Thursday, 24 September 2009

Now I'm a believer

For the longest while, I didn’t quite get all the hype surrounding Asos. Sure, it sells a broad range of apparel, and yes, its website has top-notch navigation and functionality. But being the jaded soul I am, I expect no less from an ecommerce site. Praising an etailer for offering multiple search and sort options, to my mind, is like rewarding a child with extra sweets simply because he did his homework. He’s supposed to do his homework, just like ecommerce sites are supposed to make shopping simple.

But now I’m an Asos fan. And it’s because of the problems I had in completing my order on its site.

Two days ago I tried to buy two items from Asos, but the site insisted that my credit-card details were wrong. I retried several times, then tried with my debit card. No go. So I filled out the online form and emailed it to the Asos customer care desk. Within the hour I received an automated response “just to let you know we are still looking into your query”.

Apparently my query was a tricky one, because I heard nothing else until the next day. “Thanks for your email and we’re sorry to hear you've been having problems placing your order,” read the second message. “We have passed on your details to our Technical Team and they are working round the clock to get this resolved as a matter of urgency. They aim to get this fixed within the next 24 hours, and as soon as they have any further information, we will send you an email to advise. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.” I liked the tone of the message: apologetic, helpful, friendly. I decided to give Asos one more day before shopping elsewhere for the items I’d been trying to buy.

And lo and behold! This morning I received another email: “Hi there”. Right away I knew the problem was resolved; Asos wouldn’t greet me with a jaunty “Hi there” if it were about to tell me bad news.

“Great news!” the email continued. “Our Technical Teams efforts have now paid off and we’re pleased to let you know that the problems you have recently experienced, when trying to place your order, have now been fixed. We know that you are probably eager to get shopping again, but before you do please can you delete the stored card information and then re-enter and save, ensuring you select the correct card type – you are ready to go! As a thank you for your patience we’d like to offer you a 20% discount off your next shopping spree with us…” As much as I loved the cheery but not too familiar phrasing of the message, I loved the discount even more.

Full of the warm-and-fuzzies, I went back to and bought not only the two items I’d originally tried to purchase, but a few small additional products as well. In doing so, I found even more to love: the care instructions included on the product pages, that I’d receive my order within two days at the standard P&P, that I could request a specific delivery date for just a few pounds more.

Okay, I concede: Asos just might live up to its hype.--SC

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