More tech change at Asos but working conditions under scrutiny

Asos has this week selected PCA Predict to provide the eCommerce technology for its address validation tool at online checkout, as the fashion e-tailer continues to invest in its customer journey.

Jamie Turner, CEO of PCA Predict, said: "Customers of Asos will now be able to search and verify their delivery address, even if they misspell words or enter accidental typos.

"Even the smallest mistake in a customer's address can have major consequences, from failed postal delivery and lost custom to wasted time and resources. Investing in data quality from the outset ensures these risks are negated at the very first opportunity."

The global apparel and beauty retailer sells over 80,000 branded and own-brand products through localised mobile and web platforms, delivering from fulfilment centres in the UK, US, Europe and China to countries worldwide.

Asos continues to innovate in technology, with one key initiative centred around personalising the customer journey. The retailer is working with a number of tech companies, including Microsoft and multiple niche players, to advance this service on its website.

Working conditions at Asos

Asos has come under scrutiny in recent months for alleged exploitative contracts and intrusive security searches. An investigation into working practices by online news resource Buzzfeed, published this week, uncovered allegations from staff working at the company's warehouse in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

MPs have since told the publication they will examine Asos as part of a wider inquiry into UK working practices due at the start of 2017, while Neil Derrick, GMB union regional secretary, called for a separate Business Select Committee investigation into employee conditions at the online retailer.

"These reports show that employment at Asos is not only stressful, invasive, and deeply exploitative but is also hazardous to workers' health," said Derrick.

"Health and safety issues, round the clock, in-your-face surveillance, impossible targets and unfair contracts have created a damaging, anxiety-ridden workplace and our members have been under the cosh for too long."

Asos responded to the allegations, calling them "inaccurate, misleading or based on out-of-date information", and said it – alongside XPO Logistics which runs the Barnsley warehouse – do care about the people who work there.

In a statement, the online retailer commented: "This upsets us, but more importantly, it upsets the people who work there.

"Those who seek to portray the warehouse as an awful place to work never mention the positive work we do in conjunction with XPO, like the 50 different learning and development programmes offered, free mental health support and awareness training, subsidised food in a newly renovated canteen, or the £3 million spent on a cooling system to keep the temperature down during the summer."

It added: "Ultimately, Asos and XPO both care deeply about our people and that's why we have chosen to partner with them."