Ecommerce Insights: an interview with Georgia Platt, Product Experience Manager at AO

Today we're chatting with Georgia Platt, a Product Experience Manager at AO. AO is a leading UK retailer of electricals and appliances.

Hi Georgia, can you give us an overview of your career history?

I worked agency-side in PR and Content for five years, primarily on FMCG (fast moving consumer good) brands including Wrigley’s and Ginsters. I then moved to working in-house for a homeware brand as Content Manager and later, Creative Project Manager. I currently work at AO as Product Experience Manager where I manage the teams responsible for delivering SKUs on-site.

What are your main responsibilities?

I’m responsible for the day-to-day management of the teams who get new products onto AO.com. This includes the product experience team, quality team, image team, IT delivery team, and marketplace team. My core responsibilities are to ensure that SKUs are live on site at agreed deadlines, ensure AO’s quality standards are met and content is accurate/right for the customer.  

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Seeing people’s progression is rewarding. I also really enjoy seeing a project through from start to completion and seeing the outcome and benefits as a result.

What challenges or pain points do you face in your role?

One challenge we face at the moment is, how to redefine and overhaul how we present content on the site. How do we allow customers to better experience products online? Brands, as you’d expect, are so passionate about their products and are keen for us to expose their features across each page.

However, many customers buying MDA appliances, for example, only purchase once every 11 years. So oftentimes, customers have a narrow view of what they want. They aren’t aware of how technology has improved or how that technology can meet their needs. So we need to find ways to support customer understanding whilst showcasing all the great features of each product.

Another challenge we have is that our products are a more complex and considered purchase - but which may be made under distress, for instance, when a customer’s washing machine breaks they’re naturally keen to have one back in the home ASAP. So for us, it’s: how do we make sensory, tangible and complex products accessible online? We see so much innovation online for fast-fashion, high-desire/low-value products but nothing really for complex/high cost/infrequent purchases.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

We’re currently working on improving our reporting, processes and ways of working to maximise efficiency.

Besides increasing revenue, what are your 3 most important objectives this year?

We’re always looking to ladder up to the company objectives. With the current climate, we’re keen to drive profitability (who isn’t!) whilst ensuring our foundations are strong to better scale for growth.  We also want to continue investing in our team and culture - it’s one of the real distinctions people notice when they come to AO and we want to keep up that defining energy and team spirit.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in your career?

Don’t be intimidated by things you don’t know. Everything is a learning experience and there’s nothing that can’t be de-mystified, so be a sponge!

If you had 10x the budget you have now, what would you spend it on?

I’d invest in software that would create personalised product pages based on customer segments. For example, a customer who is looking for the most energy efficient dishwasher would be shown products and content that reflects their interests.

In your opinion, what makes the difference between a poor ecommerce experience and an amazing one?

An amazing ecommerce experience is really intuitive for customers as they progress in the journey with no points of frustration. They don’t have to search for information, trigger points such as price and delivery are visible to them, and the site is effortless to use.

A poor experience is full of frustration. For example, dead links, and a site that isn’t optimised for mobile users.

What challenges do you see in the year ahead for ecommerce?

Customers are going to be more cautious with purchasing decisions. We’ll be fighting for ground when customers do want to purchase, so we expect tougher trading conditions. I’m interested to see how ourselves and other brands will fare during Black Friday, for example; will customers be waiting for deals so we’ll see a real surge or will big purchases be low on customers priorities this year.

Where do you get insight/inspiration from?

A lot of insights come from our own teams. We also keep an eye on market trends and companies/agencies who are innovative. We host lots of ‘innovation’ days with speakers across lots of different industries so help keep our ideas fresh.

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