AO World focuses on brand awareness and customer service as it grows its UK and Europe businesses
AO World today set out how it was raising its brand awareness while tailoring its service to the needs of customers in the UK and in Europe.
The electrical goods retailer said in half-year figures published today that its work to improve awareness and customer advocacy had helped it to cut customer acquisition costs after taking steps to refine its online advertising strategy and seeing its SEO rankings improve as more users search for its brand.
"An excellent customer proposition remains paramount to our success," the company said in its report for the six months to September 30. To that end it has invested in price, range, availability, smart web content and customer service. Over the half-year, for example, it has added two more 'outbases' to its logistics network, supporting a fast delivery promise, invested in a digital content team that now has more than 40 members, while a MyAO app enables customers to track their orders and will in time become transactional, tying into MyAccount functionality launched last year.
The company said early trading in its computing category was encouraging. It aims to transform the way computers are bought by making the shopper journey easier and taking out jargon. It has introduced feature-led 'Help me Choose' tool to enable customers to find the product that best suits them.
In Europe, the retailer has a 'controlled growth' approach, as it rolls its UK strategy into Europe. So far it says, "customers in Germany and the Netherlands are enjoying our propositions and, with their credit cards, are voting for the AO way." Its regional distribution centre in Bergheim is now operational and serving both Germany and the Netherlands.
AO World today reported revenue of £324.7m in the six months to September 30. That's 22.9% up on the same time last year, thanks to growth in both its European and UK operations.
At AO.com , a Top250 retailer in IRUK Top500
research and the electricals retailer's primary UK website, sales of £259.4m were 20.8% up on the same time last year. Total UK sales of £295.1m, which also include a number of white label sites operated for third-party retailers as well as third-party logistics services, were 18.7% ahead of last time.
Revenue from European websites rose by 66.9% to €36.2m (£29.6m) over the half-year.
Pre-tax profits came in at £2.3m, up from a loss of £8m at the same time last year.
Chief executive John Roberts said: "AO has made a great start to the year, with group revenue and profits growing well as we continue to deliver on our long-term strategy. We have made progress in our mission to become the best electrical retailer in Europe, cementing our operations in Europe with the opening of our distribution centre in Germany and launching new categories for customers in both the UK and Europe. Bringing our AO customers computing in the UK and A/V in Germany has been exciting and these are the natural next steps for us to take in the electricals market. We're retailing these categories the 'AO Way,' offering a simply better customer experience, executed brilliantly by a brand and team that customers and suppliers trust."