John Coulter, Group Trading Director, AO.com

Challenges & Opportunity
A threat can be an opportunity if managed in the right way. One of the biggest challenges we face as a relatively new business is awareness – making consumers aware of our brand, what we do and the great level of service they can expect throughout the purchase journey both pre and post-sale. Around 65% of customers still purchase in store, and our task is to accelerate the move to online and out of store to enable a quicker growth rate for our business. There is an obvious answer - throw some money at it and increase our ATL spend to drive new customers through our virtual doors. But this is not the only solution, and it’s not necessarily the smartest route. We continue to add new categories in all markets which enables us to cross sell to new and existing customers growing the customer base and retaining them as they experience the ease and great service they don’t normally associate with the category. Also, purchase behaviour is changing, consumers are using different devices to gather information and make purchases. We adapt to these behaviours by serving up content that is optimised to different devices and to different purchase patterns throughout the day.

The path to change
VR and 360 are already here and we are working on another great way to offer a better experience than a store – consumers will be able to look round, listen to great (accurate) content, share and even choose the bits they want, in effect creating their own journey and all from the comfort of their own home.

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