Electricals giant AO.com is creating 50 new IT jobs in Bolton and Manchester to help the company create its own in-house tech to better service online and mobile shoppers.
The company is looking for software developers, UX designers, commercial IT analysts and business analysts to help drive growth. To house what is the company’s single largest recruitment drive, the retailer has opened a second office at the Parklands Business Park outside Bolton.
AO website sales in the UK rose by 4.2% to £294.3 million in 2018, taking total UK revenues up by 5.7% to £334.9 million. Growth in UK retail sales, says AO.com’s parent company, AO World, is coming in newer categories, from audio visual through to computing, and via third party websites including eBay and Amazon. But business in its core major domestic appliances market stayed "challenging".
AO World, is also now focused on services beyond the consumer-facing retail market, adding a B2B (business-to-business) team to give housebuilders, offices and landlords better ways to buy from it, and is also offering logistics for third-party retailers.
Meanwhile, it expects to open a second fridge recycling plan in the South East in 2020. Together both plants will give it the capacity to process around 40% of all fridges collected in the UK. A plastics refinement facility will also enable it to sort and reuse plastics from those two plants, creating another “sustainable revenue stream”.
To meet this growing demand from e and m-commerce, the retailer is looking to develop its own market-leading infrastructure in-house. The roles show that it is looking to improve IT across the board, but that it has a special interest in UX.
Carl Phillips, AO’s IT director, explains: “At AO, we’re investing heavily in innovation that will benefit our customers. These new IT roles will be working closely with our UX and product teams to look at ways that we can continually improve our capabilities around the overall customer mobile journey and experience."
According to Philips, one of AO’s key objectives is "to allow our customers to use our services, wherever and whenever they want, in the most convenient way for them and mobile plays a huge part in this. Our plan is to focus heavily on how consumers use their mobiles, and this includes much more than just optimising the mobile website and “skate to where the puck is going to be”, if you will".
Phillips adds: “What makes our IT team unique is the range of projects that people get to work on and the freedom that they have to get things done. From infrastructure to coding, our teams get the opportunity to use the latest technology and working practices on a daily basis. It’s an exciting place to develop new skills and broaden your career in a way that you wouldn’t get to do anywhere else in the North West.”