Asos to increase focus on customers with Microsoft Cloud

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Asos is helping customers find desired items with Microsoft cloud solutions.

A U.K.-based online fashion retailer with a global presence intends to become more customer-focused and data-driven.

Asos, which is available in 10 languages and in over 200 markets (including the U.S.), is entering a new cloud agreement with Microsoft that will see it continue to use the artificial intelligence (AI)-based Microsoft Azure cloud computing service as its preferred cloud platform for the next five years.

The millennial- and Gern Z-focused retailer, which integrates nearly 900 brands, has been working with Microsoft to build a customer platform that enables technical agility, global scale and resilience. Asos seeks to effectively handle high levels of customer demand and help customers find the products they want, in the way that best suits them.

Through the renewed partnership, Asos will work with Microsoft to launch new projects, such as its partner fulfillment program, which the retailer is designing to expand the range and availability of products while maximizing demand conversion, customer choice, and stock availability.

Asos will also evolve its existing Azure data platform as a foundation to leverage AI and machine learning for deeper personalization of the customer experience. This will include driving unique recommendations from the approximately 90,000 products on site. Leveraging Microsoft research, along with its own data science expertise, Asos intends to better predict customer demand, optimize logistics, and deliver efficiencies across price and stock investments.

Underpinning all of this, built-in Azure security tools will offer Asos a holistic view of its digital environment and enable rapid detection and response to potential threats.

Asos, which sold a minority interest in four apparel brands it ownsTopshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT – to Nordstrom in July 2021, has been increasing its usage of innovative technology in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the pandemic when the company was not conducting live photoshoots with models, Asos leveragedan augmented reality (AR) solution on its product pages to offer customers a simulated view of models wearing Asos products.

The technology, developed in partnership with Israeli AR and AI company Zeekit, simulates real-life model photography. By digitally mapping each product onto the model in a realistic way, taking account of the size, cut and fit of each garment, the technology is designed to ensure product presentation remains as realistic and engaging as possible while supporting social distancing.

“Over the past few years, we’ve rebuilt our technology platform to ensure we have the foundations in place to support a truly global business. As we embark on our next phase of growth, we see Microsoft as a critical partner that is trusted and can provide a comprehensive set of cloud and AI solutions as a key enabler for evolution of our customer offering, particularly in delivering new business capabilities to support our growth strategy and embedding data-driven insights across our business,” said Cliff Cohen, CTO at Asos.

“Retail is one of the most competitive and dynamic industries in the world,” said Scott Guthrie, executive VP, cloud + AI, Microsoft. “By harnessing the power of the Microsoft Cloud and its AI capabilities, Asos will be able to better meet customer demand, provide greater product availability, and deliver more seamless and personalized digital experiences.