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Much of what we write about on the Econsultancy blog focuses on driving site traffic, improving the user experience and ultimately increasing conversions.

But if you want to make sure that people are happy with the overall sales experience and turn into repeat customers then aftersales care is equally important.

I recently made my first ever purchase from ASOS and was genuinely impressed by the level of email customer service I received while awaiting delivery.

Most e-commerce companies send confirmation emails, but with a few additional messages ASOS went beyond the level of customer service you would expect to receive and really improved my perception of the brand. As a result, I’ll definitely be shopping there again.

Here’s how ASOS does it...

Order confirmation 

As mentioned, nearly all e-commerce sites send confirmation emails so this is nothing out of the ordinary.

However, ASOS doesn’t just send out a nuts and bolts confirmation that simply details the product details and cost. Instead it gives it a human touch by using a conversational style that puts the focus on the customer.

It’s really just explaining the options for cancelling or amending the order, but is a great way of maintaining the relationship with the customer. It also has a big call-to-action on the right offering help with delivery information, order tracking and the returns policy.

Order dispatched

Again, this is something that most merchants do but ASOS’s copywriting makes it stand out from the crowd.

The subject line is to the point: “Your ASOS order has been dispatched,” and the email lets you know that this is just a "quick update".

And even though it is only a two paragraph email, ASOS doesn’t miss the opportunity to try and drive you back to the site to browse for more items.

First time treats

I may just be easily swayed, but if someone sends me an email with a flashy graphic and promo codes to welcome me after my first purchase it goes a long way to making me a loyal customer.

ASOS's email even came with a personalised subject line: “All our first-timers get a treat, time for yours David!”

The email contained a promo code for 10% off plus free next day delivery, and the chance to shop its ‘Key Pieces’ range ahead of time. 

This is one place where the copywriting could have been tightened though, as it said I could get ahead and shop the site with my “monthly edit.” I’m not entirely sure what an ‘edit’ is?

Even so, rewarding new customers with exclusive deals is a great way of building a relationship and encouraging them to return to the site for repeat purchases.

Order is due for delivery

The day before my order was delivered I received an email telling me that it was due for delivery the following day and asking me to ensure someone would be in to sign for it.

If also offered me the chance to alter the delivery date and track the order.

While it lacked the personal touch that came with the confirmation email, it’s extremely handy to know when items will arrive so you don’t have the frustration a failed delivery when nobody is in.

Hour delivery slot

On the day of delivery, ASOS sent an email with the subject line: “Your order from ASOS is due for delivery between 14:50-15:50.”

You clearly don’t need to open the email to know what it’s telling you, but if you do you’ll even find out the name of the delivery guy as well as being offered the chance to change the delivery date.

Giving customers a one-hour timeslot for delivery is terrific service as it means you can plan your day and make sure you are there when Francis drops off the package.

Free returns

One of ASOS’s key selling points is the fact that it offers free delivery and returns, so it highlights this with an email a few days after the product has been delivered detailing its “No sweat returns”.

It may seem an odd tactic to email customers to jog their memory about returning unwanted products, but in reality if a customer wants to return an item it is best to make it as easy as possible so they aren’t put off buying from you again in future.

Though other retailers may offer free returns, this is the first time I have received an aftersales email reminding me of the service and it definitely improved my perception of ASOS as a brand.


ASOS’s use of email to offer aftersales customer service goes above and beyond the competition and is a great way to build and maintain a good customer relationship.

It keeps you informed of every step during the delivery process so you are never left wondering when the product will arrive. 

Furthermore ASOS has clearly taken time to draft friendly, conversational emails that fit with the brand image and don’t come across as cold and transactional. It leaves you with the impression that the emails are solely about customer service, even though they nearly all include links to encourage further sales.

But while ASOS is generally a great example of best practice, like a lot of brands it hasn’t optimised its emails for mobile.

We’ve reported stats which show that 27% of emails are opened on mobile devices and more than a third of consumers (36%) read marketing emails on mobile. Yet ASOS’s emails do not render properly on a mobile screen and require a great deal of scrolling and pinching to read them.


On the positive side they tend to be quite concise so the subject lines are readable, but the content of the email can be difficult to read.

But the mobile issue aside, ASOS’s aftersales care is excellent and was a contributing factor to me making two additional purchases from them this week.

David Moth

Published 23 August, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1687 more posts from this author

Comments (16)

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Matthew James

Great Article David. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised when you shop somewhere news.

However, three "click here" links in the Order Dispatched email isn't good from a customer point of view. Better anchor text will also make the email more effective from a User Experience point of view too.


about 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Matthew, good point, I hadn't noticed the 'click here' links - three in one email is overkill.

about 4 years ago

Tara West

Tara West, Senior Biddable Media Manager at Tara West

I shop at ASOS all the time for this exact reason! If you give them your mobile number too they will text you within the hour that your delivery is expected to arrive. They make the shopping experience so simple and pleasant that it's no wonder they dominate the market place. A lot of companies argue it wouldn't be profitable to offer free returns (and free basic delivery) but if this is what keeps your customer coming back to you time and time again it's more than worth it because the cost of getting a new customer is much higher than encouraging one to return!

about 4 years ago


James Skinner

Good to see an online retailer doing things properly. Nothing here is terribly complicated or costly - they've just set out to do everything well. Politicians and retailers bemoan the steady decline of the high street, but how many high street stores deal with their customers this well?

about 4 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing your experience.

The text confirmation that Tara point out is really important - whilst a confirmation email for delivery day/time is good practice, in reality a significant % of customers don't pick this email up in time (sorry don't have any current stats to hand). Therefore, providing SMS confirmation text increases the likelihood of people remembering to be in.

Some carriers, including DPD, also enable delivery rescheduling - so when you get your text telling you the order is coming the next working day, you can reply to arrange for it to be rescheduled for a different day. I know from experience that can increase the % of 1st time deliveries + increase customer satisfaction.


about 4 years ago


Guy Mucklow, Senior Web Designer at PCA Predict (formerly Postcode Anywhere)

Great post David!

As a frequent user of ASOS I witnessed it change over the years - from ‘As Seen on Screen’ as it once was known, to morphing into a huge international online store, not just for women but for men too. Their site has progressed over the years, and is always being updated and very user focused. In my eyes they can do wrong! There is a great website review here http://goo.gl/C0rBh which highlights just how good their usability is.

about 4 years ago


Ben Goodwin

The courier email and 1 hour time slot is just a result of using DPD, that email's sent by them and not ASOS. We use them too, it's a great feature.

about 4 years ago


Ben Goodwin

Just seen the text stuff too - this text will have come from DPD, not ASOS.

about 4 years ago


Gemma Coward

Great article David, I love reading about first time experiences with companies I've used for years. Like Tara I've been a customer since the As Soon On Screen days (and still pronounce the brand name ass-os rather than the slightly more polite sounding a-sos!) and I still cite them in client workshops as an example of a brand that consistently provides a great customer experience.

Asos have really understood and worked around their limitations. They are a pure play online retailer with no high street presence and so recognise that detailed descriptions, clear, high-res photos and quick-loading video demonstrations of their clothes is crucial to overcoming the 'try before you buy' traditional shopper mentality.

And, as per the theme of this article, they don't stop there. They understand the importance of every customer touchpoint and the impact post-sales communications has on customer retention.

It may seem strange to mention returns so often on a site and in post-order correspondence, but a big consumer reservation I've seen for shopping online is the inconvenience and delayed gratification of waiting for a delivery. Asos have addressed this a number of ways but most notably via their 'Amazon Prime' equivalent where customers receive unlimited next day delivery and unlimited courier collection for any returns. For busy people who can't get to a shopping centre or the post office in the week - this is the epitome of convenience.

Their mobile app experience (not mentioned in the article) is also fairly decent, so it seems a missed opportunity on their part to not tailor their emails for mobile. A further gripe for this iPad user is the use of flash for their video catwalks. Time for an update, Asos?

about 4 years ago

Andrew Nicholson

Andrew Nicholson, Founder at The Guku

One of the best aftercare services I've received was from Moo business cards. The alerts were done in a humorous way, and were sent by there email "Robot" Little Moo, which really made them stand out.

The fact that I call recall the company name and individual emails 6 months after the cards were ordered speaks volumes about the company and their comms strategy.

about 4 years ago


Adam D'Souza

As marketers we often forget this simple point, noted here by Tara West, "The cost of getting a new customer is much higher than encouraging one to return". Frederick Reicheld's famous writing on loyalty makes this even clearer. If we can design a great user experience, then with half the work, the battle is won. I am now immediately going to re-write our transactional emails because I can see ours aren't good enough!

about 4 years ago

John Waghorn

John Waghorn, Content Marketer at Koozai Ltd

ASOS are brilliant when it comes to customer service. I’ve used the site before and it’s really simple to get hold of them and send items back if they’re not right. The simplicity of the site is definitely one reason for their popularity, which I’d say has grown significantly in the last five years. If you are in the e-commerce market then ASOS are a site you should look up to, as they have a successful business model.

about 4 years ago


Gavin Parkinson, Marketing and Sales Manager at Hitch Marketing Ltd

Very good, but the initial order confirmation email feels a little long for me - will anyone really read 3-4 paras? Also, 3 click here's is not just overkill, it's not particularly accessible or helpful.

Grumbles aside, it looks like a pretty good experience - keeping customers informed and happy is what makes money!

about 4 years ago



I have a different experience from the other writers, while the style of writing may be pleasing the lack of commitment to follow through when there are issues is probably more important.
Clearly, none of the above person's has had a bad experience with them or had any reason to deal with their customer service.
They have the worst customer service I have ever experienced. Absolutely horrible.
First of all, they only reply via emails and there is no way to call them as they have no telephone numbers?????? Who adopts this system in this century? How are they able to serve their customers promptly which such a horrible system?
I placed an order that was to be delivered within 9days. I was informed that the order had been dispatched the next day. When I had not received the order after waiting for 10days, I sent them an email. I then got a response asking me to wait for another 9days, that's almost 3weeks after my order.
I asked why there was a delay and why I was not contacted if there was an issue but I got no valid explanation. Also there was no compensation for the delay. A simple gesture of offering me an express delivery after a 10day wait would have been great but instead I got nothing. All I got was a generic response apologising and asking me to wait for another 9days.
Will I be ordering from ASOS again, NO, and will they care, NO, because there are many other people who are willing to tolerate such rubbish service that will keep going back.
So till they develop a more effective and empathic customer service, I will no longer buy from ASOS!!!!!

about 4 years ago

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWDSmall Business Multi-user

Thanks for the article David, certainly not the 1st time ASOS and best practice have been used together and it sure won't be the last! Your article demonstrates ways for how personality (sadly lacking with many if not most retailers) can be introduced to help differentiate from other retailers who tend to overlook this important element of customer experience. A term often used for this is providing 'delighters' and there are some great examples here (which I may borrow if you don't mind!).

about 4 years ago

David Moth

David Moth, Editor & Head of Social at EconsultancyStaff

@Paul, no problem, please borrow away :)

about 4 years ago

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