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Internet Retailing 2010: Interview with Andrew Ground, UK director, LOVEFiLM

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In the second of our interviews with key speakers at our annual conference, Internet Retailing 2010, we hear from Andrew Ground, UK director, LOVEFiLM. Ground will be speaking at the conference in our Captivating the Customer track. We asked him about the importance of the customer to his business.

LOVEFiLM’s success, says its UK director Andrew Ground, stems from “acting as a community”. In recent years the film rental provider has built an active community who have given it 80m film ratings and 843,000 film reviews. Members have written thousands of quiz questions that have been played 22m times, while its weekly newsletter reaches 850,000 people.

To achieve this, says Ground, it's important to put the customer first. “We constantly make sure our members are at the forefront of our minds with all decisions made on improving the service,” he said. He lists the key three things that customers want from the service as choice, value and convenience. In practice that means offering a wide selection of films – there are 67,000 titles available – while also avoiding “money-grabbing tactics” such as late fees and contract lock-in periods. Instead customers have a choice of tailored package and films are available across a range of devices from household DVD players to handheld. “Everything always comes down to choice, value and convenience,” said Ground.

The service, which started off as a DVD film rental business, has added formats including Blu-ray DVDs, online downloads as well as offering TV series and games. In the future the company envisages digital and physical rental options for movies, TV and games will exist side-by-side.

Last year it introduced the LOVEFiLM player, allowing members to access a catalogue of digital titles. LOVEFiLM also claims the title of the leading video-on-demand service in the UK.

“However,” said Ground, “convenience is an area that will be more successful once internet TVs and broadcast projects such as YouView take off in the UK. “Home entertainment is enjoyed in the living room so we are ensuring our digital offering can be easily accessed in the front room by forming partnerships with brands such as Sony and Samsung who produce internet enabled TVs.”

He added: “As LOVEFiLM grows as a company and a community we will ensure our service correlates with consumer needs and technology. We will always concentrate on improving our choice, value and convenience by ensuring we are across as many platforms and devices as possible.”

So what advice does Ground have for other retailers, from his own experience?

“Start with your values and never stop improving by following the data," he said. “Everything we do can be improved, by getting the data on what people like and make sure we reflect their choices on our site.”



That means, for example, that the highest ranked films come up top on LOVEFiLM web pages, the reviews rated as most helpful come up first and marketing spend goes towards the channels that are working best.

“In a world where you can’t tell everyone what to do giving them the context to decide is important,” said Ground.

Andrew Ground will be speaking at Internet Retailing 2010 in Track One, Captivating the Customer. For more details of the event or to register, click here.

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