Appliances Online: “We’ve The Edge” Over Rivals
Channel News catches up with Appliances Online newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer, James Fleet
“The trajectory of the business is fantastic, which has has grown considerably since the last time I was here ” says Fleet as AO newly established CMO, created on the back of massive growth Winnings owned site has experienced.
Fleet previously worked at AO in 2009 as Marketing marketing Manager, but says he is glad to be back.
“We’re trying to keep doing what we do best – providing the best service online,” he says.
The company is now “a lot stronger,” he adds, and now employs around 500. Not bad for the company started by John Winning with a laptop, an 1800 number, and a rented delivery truck.
“But there is lots of opportunity to build in spaces we’re strong in,” says Fleet.
The e-tailer plans to continue to grow the brand nationally and in SA, WA where it has already expanded its delivery service.
AO also has own next day delivery shipping service in all the capital cities, a service that has made it massively popular.
From a marketing perspective, social networks like Facebook, Twitter are massively important, says Fleet.
‘We spend half our time listening to customers and social media facilities this.” Facebook and Co also spread the word about offers – AO has daily tweets, Facebooks updates with specials, product offers, and is proving to be a formidable social networking force. Its Facebook fans have sprouted from 150,000 to 340,000, and has over 26,000 Twitter followers.
Its experience in the (now hot) appliance market, gives it the edge over rivals looking get on the bandwagon, says Fleet, of the company who has been in the white goods race since 2005.
“We have a lot of strengths online, selling products the competition haven’t been for a long time.”
As a marketer, Fleet says his job is about “making sure customers are clear about our proposition” – 24/7 service. Good etailing is “all about good delivery and service,” says the online guru who has worked in a plethora of Internet companies.
Its all about “sticking to what we’re good at – good service delivery – and not being too flash.”
“There’s no silver bullet”, he says.
Delivery extras offered by the etailer include: next day delivery (if in stock) as early as 8am, calingl the customer with an estimated 2 hour delivery window, and connecting up the appliance.
“We’re here to speak to customers anytime of anytime of the day or night.” ‘Online chat’ on its website is one such tool used to facilitate this 24/7 offering.
For an e-tailer with no store presence, it’s about understanding what the customer wants and trying to match that via the online experience, he says.
AO, despite being a bastion of online retail in OZ, has a traditional approach to customer service – its personal, not technical.
“John’s (Winning, owner of Appliance Online) philosophy is ‘people buy from people not websites, ‘and I hold a similar view.”
“This underlies everything we do,” he says.
So, have consumers got more sophisticated in their demands from etailers?
“Internet is becoming more like electricity – so we need to be available on any device- tablet, PC mobile.”
The move to mobile is growing at a rapid pace, he notes.
So, Fleet will be kept on his toes, but says “I’m glad to be back…its an amazing organisation.”