Marketplace interview/ James Hart

James Hart is eCommerce Director at ASOS and was the first employee through the doors when the company started in 1999.

ASOS Marketplace James Hart Interview

Q: When & why did you first develop the idea of an ASOS Marketplace?

A: Nick (ASOS CEO) first emailed me about creating an ‘ASOS Market’ in early 2003. Back then though I think we were just looking at another successful eCommerce model (OK, eBay!) and wanted a piece of it; which was not the most customer-centric approach so I’m glad we didn’t do it then.

Now, though, it makes perfect sense. We want to allow our customers to discover the world’s best fashion on ASOS. There is a world of fashion out there that doesn’t fit a regular online retail model. (Vintage wear, fashion grads, independent designers and boutiques to name a few); the Marketplace allows us to put that fashion in front of customers.

Seems so simple now, but sometimes you need to go on a long, complicated journey to get back to simple.

Q: What will differentiate ASOS Marketplace from other Marketplaces?

A: That’s easy. Fashion. I know it’s easy to say that but at ASOS, we live and breathe it. It’s in our DNA.

I’m really excited for people to discover that this site reflects that and that they will experience a very different site & selling culture to the ones they may be used to.

If you are an individual selling something from last season, right now, if you put it on a more generic marketplace, it may be in the fashion section but it’s an emotionless experience.

What I’ve discovered over the last year is that loads of people that want to sell stuff, they still really care about what they bought.  So they want to sell it to people who love fashion too, and they want to present it in a beautiful way, in a style or as part of a look that they have curated; not just take a photo of it stuck on a hanger in their bedroom.

I’m selling my house at the moment, and even though it’s time to move on, I still want to sell it to people I want to live there; who will enjoy it as I did.  It’s the same concept with Marketplace. Fashion lovers selling to fashion lovers.

James Hart interview James Hart interview

Q: Is it a global platform?

A: Absolutely; the Marketplace is very much about creating a worldwide wardrobe and discovering fashion globally. And I don’t just mean New York, Paris or Milan; I mean those pockets of the world just starting to make their mark or that we may not even know about yet.

Phase one is about getting it up there in front of buyers and sellers and quickly start to improve the site based on their feedback. So it won’t be until next year that we see international (non-UK) sellers

Q: How much will it cost to sell?

For those listing individual items simply a 10% selling fee when an item is sold. No listing fees, no pricing menus.

For those who successfully apply for a boutique, its £50 per month and 15% per item selling fee. Of course, there are added benefits to having a boutique, including an Account Manager at ASOS, a customisable storefront and some premium positioning around the site.

Q: When will ASOS Marketplace launch?


Q: What will you be buying and selling?

A: I am a prolific ASOS shopper. I have a wardrobe full of stuff ranging from the well-worn to the still-have-the-label-on, so I expect to be a serial wardrobe recycler.

As for buying, my weakness is shoes, so I will be looking for new and different footwear designers; I also like an accessory, mainly ties and belts. Anything with some detailing that will set off the rest of an outfit.

Q: What is the most important thing you want users to get out of ASOS Marketplace?

A: For buyers to say they have discovered something they love from somewhere they would never have thought or been able to access before we existed.

For sellers to be successful of course, but to also be proud to be part of a fashion democracy, hopefully discovering customers the world over, that they would otherwise never have found.  

My ultimate wish is for buyers and sellers to feel, like we do, that you’re a real part of something, a new global fashion movement.

Q:What are you future plans for ASOS Marketplace?

A: What our community want them to be really. One of the reasons we are launching this pretty quickly, with a template that can easily be built on, is that we want to improve the site based on buyer and seller feedback. So in a way, save for the International aspect, I don’t know what the plans are!