Series 5, Episode 8
Hosted: 17/11/2021 06:45:00 pm
It’s been around eighteen months since we first launched AO as a partner and a lot has changed behind the scenes.
It’s easy to take things for granted – but we wanted to take stock of an account that had grown from zero to over £1 million per year in only eighteen months. Even for LNPG, that’s impressive.
Ay Up, AO!
Although AO have now been around for over 21 years, they’re still seen as the new kids on the block by those of us who recognise that traders need access to Dixons.
In part, the newbie reputation hanging over AO is due to their online presence. Only last year – thanks to a global pandemic, no less – has the trend for remote shopping accelerated past ‘it’s just a phase’ and directly into ‘this is life now’. With twenty years of experience in the sector, AO couldn’t have been better positioned to capitalise on this.
You might think with all the growth and expansion – AO will have lost the personal touch of doing business but, as far as LNPG is concerned, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We reached out to AO initially for their service more than anything, and with over 250,000+ 5-star Trustpilot reviews mentioning their quality, delivery, and professionalism, it’s obvious this hasn’t gone away.
You may have heard already, but apparently the planet is on fire.
With the COP26 taking place recently not-so-much on our doorstep as in the middle of the living room, climate change planet is something everyone must now take responsibility for.
So, when Mo showed us what AO are doing for sustainability, it was reassuring to see a such a proactive approach from such a close LNPG partner.
The biggest benefit in this is Big Bertha. She’s the big, green metal-crunching machine that has taken on the task of recycling over 1.3 million appliances every year – including one in every five recycled refrigerators in the UK.
Bertha’s absolute favourite snack is fridges, but she’s not picky, Bertha will chow down on whatever it is that will help AO reach their ambitious net zero target as soon as possible.
AO’s wider pledge to hit this target has encompassed the ditching of single-use plastics, trialling electric vehicles across their fleet, and partnering with eSpares to reduce the need to replace the full appliance.
From a purely pragmatic point of view, the easy access to recycling alone is a game-changer for busy landlords replacing an older appliance. It’s as simple as checking a box at checkout and everything’s taken care of.
Stock, Coverage & Logistics
We took a poll, and here at LNPG HQ we decided that last year our least favourite word in the entire world was ‘unprecedented’ – this year it’s ‘shortages’.
But whether we like it or not, product shortfalls continue to sweep across almost every industry, leaving customers across the globe high and dry. We at LNPG have been unbelievably fortunate in the ways our partners have reacted to these shortages, and very often we find our members can get what they need thanks overwhelmingly to the hard work our partner Account Managers are willing to perform.
And although AO have had to deal with their fair share of stock shortages as demand surged and supply dwindled, the good news is that they’ve played it smarter than most – even to the point where other retailers have approached them to fill their own shelves.
It’s not been without its risks – in fact AO have invested a great deal in 1.8 million square feet of warehousing (in the middle of a pandemic) to increase their stock levels and allow for manufacturer delays.
Another critical shortage recently has been in delivery drivers.
AO felt the pinch too but have since recovered and now have over 700 vans on the road. If you’re a numbers kind of person, you’ll be interested to know the vans cover over 500,000 miles every year with 14,000 deliveries taking place every day. If you’re not a numbers kind of person, all you need to know is it’s a lot.
The internal team has been strengthened in the last year as well.
You’re probably familiar with the saying “a team is only as strong as the weakest link”. We started with the man himself, Mo Asim, star of screen and stage in both his roles as webinar guest and Business Account Manager, Mo very quickly realised that that more resources were needed to cope with the demand.
We now have three people dedicated to helping with quotes and processing orders, plus our own account manager, and a business development manager.
Along with Mo, the LNPG account is managed by Dan, Shoaib, and Jenna – all on-hand and contactable via email or on the phone to help you out when you need it.
What’s On Offer
We mentioned before, but the big reason we partnered with AO in the first place is the level of service and the range of goods available at great pricing.
We started off with an excel spreadsheet with all the SKU’s, prices, and brief description of the product itself, but that wasn’t going to quite cut the mustard and AO knew they needed to do something.
So halfway through this year, AO sent us the first edition of the Core Range: a purpose-built brochure designed to make your life easier when buying new appliances or electrical goods.
It’s split up into Laundry, TVs, Cooking, Refrigeration, and Dishwashers. The brochure has been thoroughly researched to include the most suitable appliances for the landlord market.
But there’s more, the AO core range isn’t the only thing you can get support on, you can get fantastic pricing on anything AO sells.
That about sums up our second webinar with AO, you can of course watch the trimmed video above or on YouTube.
I’m sure they will be exciting developments to come with AO, so watch this space to find out first.