Online electrical retailer ao.com has branched out of its traditional heartland of domestic appliances to launch a market-leading TV and AV accessories proposition.
The move comes at a predicted bumper period for TV retailing, with many consumers expected to bring TV upgrades forward to purchase sets that offer bigger screens and higher definition picture quality for viewing this year’s FIFA World Cup on.
A brand that prides itself on always putting the customer at the heart of its business, ao.com’s move into the market breaks new ground in the way brown goods are retailed online, the company claims.
John Roberts, CEO and founder of ao.com, said: “Having studied how TVs are retailed online we found a market that was tired, static and really not meeting the needs of the consumer. Current online offers are overcomplicated, too jargon heavy and populated with huge ranges that are hard to distinguish.
“Our TV proposition is not only refreshing for the consumer but it’s also revolutionary in the market. It is set to shake up the category by delivering a simplified shopping experience that gives the consumer all the information they require to make an informed TV purchasing decision, all in one place.”
The etailer will be offering products from the top four television manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic) who made up 74% of the total volume market in 2012. Other brands being retailed on the site will include Philips, Toshiba and Hi Sense. The accessories range will feature SKUs from leading brands including, Peerless, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Sony and Toshiba.
ao.com said its USP will be its market-leading proprietary media content. Shoppers will be able to get all of the information they need about a product through rich media. TV video reviews by ao.com’s own experts deliver informative content that sits on the product page, interactive 360 degree images recreate a showroom experience online and additional presenter-led feature videos that explain features by individual manufacturer, providing detail on what the key features are and how to use them.
For example, those buying an LG product can view a set of short videos that explain exactly what features such as Smart Share or Miracast do.
The brand said it is also supporting the consumer journey with a series of curated collections to help them buy the right TV based on their preferred viewing habits. So those in the market for TVs for sport, movies or all-round family use will be guided to the right product through dedicated ‘collections’ pages.
On top of the segmented product offer, best price promise and rich media content, the brand is offering two types installation (stand mounted or wall mounted) with its same day and free next day delivery offer. Part of the business’ logistics arm and run in-house, the service again differentiates ao.com from its competition, as many of the retailers currently offering this service don’t do so at point of delivery, often using a third party service to carry out the installation at a later date.
Roberts said: “Our TV proposition is second to none. We’ve demystified the jargon, provided greater explanation of the technologies, curated a reasonable sized range of quality brands with no own branded products, focused on benefits rather than features in our merchandising and are offering the opportunity to have products installed at point of delivery.
“This along with a future facing approach that factors in the predicted growth of SMART TV, the rise of the connected home and the evolution of the smartphone to a TV controller is simple but effective stuff. Right now there’s no other retailer, online or on the high street, that can touch the level of service and insight for TV that we have launched.”
ao.com said it’s approach to the merchandising and retailing of TVs is reflective of the company’s relentless obsession and absolute focus on providing industry-leading levels of customer service.
Roberts said: “At ao.com, we are passionate about giving our customers great service and this is at the heart of everything we do. For the past 14 years we have been launching a revolution in customer service for white goods and today we are applying that approach to the retailing of TV and AV products.
“We like to push the boundaries and are on a mission to redefine retailing by providing a better way of giving customers the shopping experience they deserve.”
The brand will be supporting the launch of TVs with a dedicated football themed ad, which sees character Barry Catchpole testing outao.com’s range ahead of a summer of football.