If you want VIP treatment at ASOS then you'll need to join their ASOS Premier membership. This entitles you to a number of benefits, which I'll discuss in more detail below, and is currently available at a discounted rate of $39 a year (saving you $10 off the regular yearly subscription amount).
I decided to investigate whether this membership was worth joining while at a reduced rate, the results of which were rather surprising. I've generally been a big fan of ASOS's in terms of the competitiveness that they've brought to the Australian online fashion market. However, when looking at what customers have had to say about ASOS Premier, it would appear that perhaps the reason for it being discounted could stem from a disappointed client base - rather than ASOS purely looking for a short term boost in sign-ups.
What do you get when you join ASOS Premier?
For the current price of $39 per year, you will receive the following privileges as Premier member:
- Free unlimited express shipping (usually $10 per order)
- Free unlimited returns
- Early access to sales
- Access to exclusive VIP offers
If you only consider the free express shipping privilege, then just four* orders in a year would have already saved you the equivalent of what an annual Premier membership costs. When it comes to returns, you'd also be saving $5.95 using their same-day courier pickup service where items are collected from your front door. Note, this cost for the courier is based on a Sydney address - other locations would cost between $7.44 (e.g. Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle, Woollongong, Gosford, Geelong, Ballarat or Bendigo) and $10.95 (everywhere else effectively). You can view more about the returns policy here.
* that's assuming your orders are all under $125, otherwise you can just use the code AUEXPRESS to get free express shipping
Where does ASOS Premier fall short?
After researching online what existing ASOS Premier members were complaining about, I found that the most common topic was related to the express shipping service. There are numerous complaints being made about orders taking anywhere from 3 to 7 days to reach their destinations. This is understandably frustrating when you've paid to ensure that your order gets delivered within 2 days.
According to this post on the Buckscoop blog last year, ASOS had an estimated four jumbo jets touching down each day in Australia full of clothing, shoes and accessories for customers. So clearly their logistics around parcel delivery is running on a large scale. Taking this into account along with the fact that they've been doing business in Australia for around three years already, I would have expected an international retailer of ASOS's size to have nailed down the logistics by now.
It wasn't only the late delivery of items which infuriated customers though, as the lack of follow-up support appeared to be yet another big stumbling block for ASOS. Although this is more of a general issue than one tied directly to ASOS Premier, I suspect it will still be an important deciding factor for many on whether or not to pay for their VIP membership. Besides complaints about late delivery, other common support queries appeared to be ones related to either receiving items in the wrong sizes or being entirely different to what was originally ordered. When customers then tried to follow up, many reportedly experienced long periods without any response while others claimed that they never received a reply at all.
Another issue that I picked up on which some ASOS Premier members were complaining about, was the lack of exclusive discounts and promo codes being sent to them as part of their "access to VIP offers". I saw a couple of comments made about months passing by without members receiving any such announcements. To assist anyone currently in this situation, my suggestion would be to head to either the Voucher or Deals page on Buckscoop where we always have the latest promo codes and top bargains listed for ASOS.
Despite all the complaints I've mentioned above, ASOS did mange to score 3.5 out of 5 stars on Productreview.com.au implying that we shouldn't forget about all those customers who were satisfied (or more than just satisfied) with ASOS's products and services. Also, looking at reviews in the UK - where ASOS is based - it would appear as though customers are much happier in general with respect to the express delivery of orders. This would indicate that ASOS are indeed capable of providing a better service and are hopefully working to improve the current situation in Australia.
At this point though, my advice on whether or not to join ASOS Premier at a discounted rate would be to approach this decision with caution. At the moment it sounds like the biggest financial benefit of this membership (the free express shipping) is also where ASOS is facing some its biggest challenges in Australia. Thus, it probably only makes sense to sign up to ASOS Premier if you're a shopper that falls into at least two of these three categories:
- Somebody who makes at least 4 or 5 purchases from ASOS within a year
- Somebody who is in the habit of making purchases at the last minute (saving you from having to pay $10 extra for express shipping on orders under $125)
- Somebody who highly values the flexibility of being able to return an item at zero cost once you've had a chance to evaluate it in person (saving you the usual $5.95 to $10 cost for returning goods)