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AO Innovation LabBecome a household name

AO Innovation Lab is a better way to build your business. Working out of AO’s high tech, high spec Head Office, Parklands based in Bolton for ten weeks, startups will be set up with expert mentorship, opportunities to trial products at scale and potential investment from L Marks and AO.

Simply put, your business will be set up for success.

Applications are now closed

Working with AO World

At AO, we never stop asking, “What else can we do?” That’s why we’re partnering with corporate innovation specialist L Marks to launch AO Innovation Lab. We’re proud to challenge the ordinary everyday. Now, with AO Innovation Lab, we have the chance to embrace the extraordinary. We’re looking for innovative solutions and transformative technologies to help us deliver the very best service to our customers.

AO Innovation Lab is built on the experience and expertise of our people and successful startups can expect first-class mentorship. Collaborating with teams at AO’s office, startups will have the chance to trial their solutions and receive essential customer feedback.

Like we said, it’s a better way to build your business.

Our mentors

Areas of interest

In-store experience online Towards a digital salesforce

We want to breathe new life into our website. Our goal is to do away with the self-serve model and replicate an in-store experience whereby shoppers benefit from the knowledge and advice of proactive, digital sales-assistants. Can you help us build a digital salesforce and, in turn, improve our conversion rate, reduce call centre calls and minimise returns?

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Getting personal Creating unique shopping experiences

We know that there is potential for greater personalisation on AO.com. Our goal is to create a bespoke and unique shopping experience for our customers by first understanding their past and present behaviour. Having collected the relevant data, we want to be able to use it to serve customers as individuals, providing them with personalised offers and messages. Solutions should similarly optimise our marketing channels so that we’re still speaking to our customers even when they have left the website.

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Growing pains IT scalability solutions

Help us grow our IT operations without the growing pains. We’re looking to scale smoothly and at speed with solutions for our checkout and payment teams. What’s the best way to solve the problem of the separate, non-responsive platforms slowing us down? Can you help us develop a payment aggregator to integrate all payments? What other scalability solutions exist?

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A better route Optimising delivery

There must be a better way to make 50,000 deliveries per week. We’re looking for technologies with the ability to optimise routing, paving the way for narrower timeslots and a better overall shopping experience.

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Picture It AR technology

We want our shoppers to experience our products as if they were seeing them in-store. We’re looking for advanced AR solutions to enable customers to gain the insight required to make more informed decisions. Our goal is to create a seamless experience for customers using technologies that can be implemented direct from the website rather than through a separate app.

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Wildcard

Before the answers come the questions and, in particular, the relevant questions. Tell us what we have missed. If your startup is working on an agile technology with the potential to propel our business, please submit a Wildcard application.  

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Timeline

Online electricals retailer, AO.com was founded in 2000 by entrepreneur John Roberts following a £1 bet in a Bolton pub. In February 2014 the company floated on the London Stock Exchange as AO World plc.  AO.de was launched in Germany in 2014, with AO.nl following in 2016.  2016 also saw the opening of a 441,000 sq ft, purpose-built HQ located in Bergheim. 

AO.com stocks over 9,000 products and delivers millions of electricals every year from its 740,000 sq. ft. warehouses in Crewe.  AO.com also offers customers free and next day delivery on thousands of products, as well as installation and recycling.  In 2018, AO acquired Mobile Phones Direct – now AO Mobile – making it the UK’s largest pureplay mobile phones retailer.

ao.com

L Marks is a leading advisor in applied innovation and experienced investor in early-stage technologies. Led by Stuart Marks and Daniel Saunders, L Marks has created the UK’s largest network of corporate accelerators and launched over fifty innovation programs across Europe, Israel, Japan and the US. Their unique approach and methodology is building bridges between large organisations seeking to innovate and young companies looking to scale.

They work with some of the world’s best-known brands, including BMW, Lloyd’s of London, Arsenal FC, and British Airways to identify business challenges and transform them into opportunities for growth. The L Marks collaborative, results-driven programs provide insight and access to startups whilst embedding their pioneering technologies into corporates to enhance operations, improve customer experience, and cultivate an entrepreneurial ethos across the business.

Through creating these relationships and experiences, L Marks is achieving rapid digital transformation across industry sectors and bringing about the future of business, today.

L Marks