If there's one thing that irritates Matt Knight, it's being sent an offer for dog food. He doesn't have a dog, so why would anyone send him an offer? Contact lenses, on the other hand, are a different story. He's more than happy to receive an offer for contact lenses, especially if it's well timed and his current batch is running out.
So in the ASOS world of top-knot hair dos and skater skirts, if a female customer has been buying the metallic look all summer she won't be sent an offer for a men's grunge-style shirt. It's one of Matt's basic rules of building customer loyalty: keep the communication relevant.
With more than 6.5 million active customers in more than 240 countries, ASOS says its ambition is to become the number one fashion site for twenty-something shoppers. But big ambitions and relevance can be a tricky path to navigate, particularly when the business is completely online with no physical presence.
The key, according to Matt, is utilising the technological touch points. "There are enough touch points throughout the journey that you can still have a significant relationship with the customer, but you have to make each one count for a lot more," he said. "In store someone might only be served for a few seconds whereas online there's the advantage of customising the experience to make it feel like it's a more personal relationship."
ASOS does this a variety of ways, such as sending customers discount codes on their birthday or anniversary of their first shop. It also has ASOS Premier, where customers pay Â£9.95 per year and get benefits such as unlimited next day delivery, early access to sales and new arrivals and a magazine ten times per year.
Matt does caution against over using technology and becoming "creepy". No one wants to receive a message asking why they haven't shopped at a particular store that day, he says.
Because of the age of its market, ASOS is naturally one step ahead in terms of social media. While other companies feel they've mastered Facebook are getting to grips with Pinterest, ASOS is already using Snapchat and Vine.
When it comes to building brand loyalty, Matt has three tips:
1. Keep it relevant to the customer
2. Give customers an element of surprise, but stay within brand
3. Get the âhygiene factors' right – elements such as delivery
When it comes to building emotional loyalty, Matt says that fashion works in a different way to other sectors. "Customers will be wearing clothes that say something about who they are, it's tied in with the brand. Whether there's a good website, good service, it's tied in with what the customer feels about the brand and what it says about them. We try to look at it holistically."
Fashion is all about expressing individuality and that's how ASOS treats customers, as individuals.
Matt Knight is at this year's Europe's Customer Festival partaking in a gripping panel session about how to increase customer retention through an agile customer engagement strategy. As ASOS's Head of CRM and Insight, Matt knows the best way to produce an amazing customer engagement strategy that's done wonderful things for ASOS's customer loyalty.
You can also get a great run down of this and other interviews and case studies, including Aimia’s Jan-Pieter Lips, in Total Customer’s completely free Little Book of Loyalty.