ASOS is the latest retailer to announce plans to support start-ups with a dedicated accelerator programme. The London-based e-commerce company is partnering with Wayra UK (part of telecommunications company Telefónica’s Open Future division), to run a search for the world’s most innovative young fashion technology businesses.
The aim is to find those that will make the ASOS experience easier, more enjoyable and more personalised for its 11 million customers around the world.
This translates to meaningful solutions that allow customers to find the perfect item among the 80,000+ products on ASOS.com; native mobile and web experiences; technology that can further the company’s fulfilment proposition; and new ways of understanding and rewarding customers.
“ASOS has always been known as a digital leader and this partnership will help us continue to serve the needs of our customers as they evolve. There are specific areas where we would like to accelerate innovation, but we are also excited to hear what ideas come back from the start-ups themselves,” says Cliff Cohen, ASOS CIO.
Importantly, the team is not looking for start-ups in the wearable tech, 3D printing or fashion design space. What they do want are mature start-ups with proven track records of developing technologies, products and services that will complement the ASOS experience.
Over the course of eight months, the chosen start-ups will have access to office space within Wayra UK’s academy in central London, intensive mentoring, and £34,000 in direct investment. The businesses will also have potential access to Telefónica’s customer base (more than 300 million) and ASOS’s networks locally and globally.
Telefónica has previously worked with start-ups including RotaGeek, which enabled O2 to reinvest £2.5M in customer experience with its smart scheduling system, and Qudini, which is now the preferred queue management system for Telefónica across 21 countries.
“[These] are great proof-points as to how we can help ASOS disrupt the fashion retail space and internationalise the propositions our start-ups are developing,” says Bridget Lea, retail Director at Telefónica UK.
The call for start-up submissions is open until 9am on Monday May 23 via Wayra.co.uk/ASOS.