How AO grew into one of the UK's most trusted electrical retailers with Trustpilot

Monday, 25 March 2024
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Exploring AO

AO, an online electrical retailer based in Bolton, UK, first appeared in 2000. Over two decades later, thanks to considerable growth, its range now encompasses over 6,000 products, from large appliances to mobile phones. It serves the entirety of the UK with its nationwide delivery business.

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The company also owns a fridge recycling plant, where old appliances are upgraded into new ones. What sets AO apart from its competitors is its unique position in the market, deriving from a genuine commitment to doing the right thing for its people and customers.  

 “We see this in our repeat purchase rates; once customers try AO, they stick with us. An intangible unique selling proposition (USP) like trust can be difficult to quantify and communicate, which is where Trustpilot comes in,” says Vicky Monk, Group Brand and Marketing Director, AO.

A Trustpilot user since 2012, AO's goals were threefold. First, they wanted to increase brand trust and cement itself as “one of the most trusted major electrical retailers.” Second, they wanted to gather valuable customer insights to elevate customer experience. Finally, they wanted to measure and track the impact of Trustpilot usage on brand metrics.

AO built a reviews toolkit with Trustpilot, integrating the platform across marketing, internal communications and customer service. 

With over 500,000 Trustpilot reviews, a recent Kantar study found that AO was a key brand that saw significant growth in awareness stemming from Trustpilot inclusion, leading to a +4pp lift in brand confidence (strongly agree).

“Trustpilot has become one of our main sources of customer insight as a business and is a key measure of customer happiness. Our TrustScore and average review ratings are reported weekly across our business and externally to key partners.” 
Vicky Monk
Group Brand and Marketing Director, AO.

Integrating Trustpilot across channels

AO utilises the marketing assets offered by its Trustpilot paid plan in multiple channels across its digital landscape. In a recent social media campaign featured on Facebook and Instagram, the team included customer reviews to emphasize how AO helped consumers when they needed it most. This encompassed videos, posts, and stories amplified through paid media.

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On the AO website, their Trustpilot star rating appears in a banner at the top of the homepage and within pop-ups as users explore. However, the showstopper is AO’s dedicated review page, highlighting the full scope of their Trustpilot social proof, receiving 6K impressions over the last year. 

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On the marketing and communications side, AO wields its star rating in the footer of communications, such as newsletters where verbatim customer reviews are featured. 

In email marketing, the team at AO saw the benefit of keeping email as a major channel within branding and communications as it was a great portal to engage customers. 

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Supercharging AO's reputation with advertising

Trustpilot appeared heavily across all AO advertising channels since November 2022, when “trust” was incorporated into its core brand messaging to further reinforce and strengthen its reputation.

“As an amalgamation of increasing advertising spend and introducing “trust” messaging within our creatives, we saw our brand metrics spike regarding the statement that AO is a "retailer that we trust." This has remained stable since,” says Vicky.

AO’s Brand Response TV (BRTV) and digital video channels use two “trust frames”, including the Trustpilot logo and star rating, alongside the category rank claim "one of the most trusted major electrical retailers.”

A recent study by Kantar touched on how including Trustpilot in TV advertising effectively built consumer trust. 

Once Trustpilot was included in the creative, AO saw a 10pp increase in brand confidence, perceived worth, and the feeling that it meets category needs among 35 - 64-year-olds. At the same time, 18 -34-year-olds saw a 33pp increase in trust-seeking mentality from the AO Trustpilot creative. 

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In static advertising, Trustpilot was featured in all holiday promotions, such as gifting print adverts. AO also signs off on radio ads across linear radio and digital audio with the consistent message of "one of the UK's most trusted electrical retailers.”

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The Trustpilot-inspired messaging across all these channels is simple. AO continues to shout out its ever-increasing volume of reviews and excellent 4.8 TrustScore to maintain its objective of becoming the UK's leading and most trusted electrical retailer. 

These methods have resulted in 0.6 million Google Impressions and over 91K views on AO’s Trustpilot profile page in the last year. 

Responding to reviews and insights 

AO has a dedicated team that responds to 1-3 star reviews within 24 hours. These insights are shared weekly with company stakeholders. 

Since starting their long journey with Trustpilot, customer insights have driven countless process and journey improvements.  

AO makes the most out of Trustpilot using the platform to access reviews and customer details, respond to customers and for the reporting and analytics tools which have helped them better serve their customers to continue growing and drive loyalty. 

This has enabled AO to engage the entire business in customer insights, the customer journey and the value of investing in journey improvement projects, from delivery teams to the AO contact centre and head office.  

Looking forward

Since including these review-driven strategies in their business development, AO’s core brand positioning has remained “one of the most trusted major electrical retailers.” 

This successful statement is something Vicky and the AO team continue to lean on in brand positioning. 

“We deploy Trustpilot to message this through all paid, earned and owned channels, including internal communications. We also use Trustpilot scores, reviews and trends to manage and measure all aspects of customer service and inform our propositions.”

Trustpilot has given AO a solid foundation of trust with over 500,000 reviews (89% of which are 5-stars), helping build customer confidence and develop a credible brand story to communicate AO’s service-orientated USP.

“We intend to continue to build on our Most Trusted brand campaign and hope to work in closer partnership with Trustpilot to develop new brand assets and deeper storytelling,” says Vicky.

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