Paul Whyte is Trading Director of UK-based internet retailer AO.com, which has seen strong growth in the UK. Outside of the UK, AO.com, which now sells MDA, SDA, CE and IT, has grown in Germany and the Netherlands. We asked Mr Whyte what product categories the retailer sees as being “sweet spots”…
Within kitchen appliances we see the real opportunities as built in, cordless cleaners, coffee, and smart tech. The challenging and exciting journey we all face is how to weave together truly “connected” electrical products in a way that the consumer can understand and use to enhance their everyday lives.
BEING AN ONLINE RETAILER WE RARELY GET HANDS ON WITH PRODUCTS
The AV and computing categories are also growing, with more manufacturers coming on-board. We have completely overhauled the way that this category is shopped online, by creating content that is unique to AO. We ensure that all content is helpful to the customer, as well as informative, engaging and easily digestible.
What ’s new in your organisation that could be worth mentioning?
AO.com is a business that is always striving to make things easy for its customers – we are always pushing the boundaries but if I had to pick a couple of examples, it would be the launch of our transactional app and exploring new content formats such as virtual videos, again reinforcing our aim of making things easier for our customers onsite and beyond.
What are your main reasons for attending IFA?
We at t e n d IFA predominantly to catch up with our colleagues in the manufacturing sector who we don’t get to see very often. Being an online retailer we rarely get hands on with products, we leave that bit to our customers. It’s great to see what all the individual manufacturers have planned and it definitely heads up in the development of our future strategy. You always come home eager to bring what you’ve learnt back to the business.
What are your biggest challenges?
O u r c h a l l e n g e s predominantly are the short term softness of the market and maintaining a high pace of innovation and controlled growth. As we grow and expand into new territories and categories it’s really important to us that we do this in a very customer focussed way. We understand that simply doing an online listing is not good enough, you have to bring the products to life and excite everyone much as IFA is designed to do.