The careful thinking behind Winning Group's new retail offering, Andoo

Winning Group is creating a house of brands with the introduction of new retailer, Andoo, to its stable. We delve into the value proposition and customer service approach guiding efforts

Care, delight and range are the three propositions driving Winning Group’s latest online retail offering, Andoo, its chief marketing officer says.

Winning Group last week officially debuted its new online furniture, bedding and appliances retailer, Andoo, to sit alongside the Appliances Online and Winning Services brands. On offer through Andoo is a curated range of products from brands such as Sleepmaker, LG, Bosch, AH Beard, Rug Culture and Sealy, supported by the group’s next-day delivery services, free removal of old products and 24/7 customer support.

The new retail brand also has a strong sustainability bent, with recycling of old appliances and mattresses part of the offering.

Winning Group CMO, Sven Lindell, said the motivators for Andoo’s launch stem from a broader repositioning of the business around providing the best and most caring shopping experience for customers. It’s also clearly fuelled by an ambition to extend out of appliances and into the wider homewares and living categories.

Having built a supply chain to deliver big and bulky items to 95 per cent of the Australian population, as well as a customer service-oriented approach, Lindell argued Winning Group already had a strong differentiation point to work with.

“We have seen the way customers get treated and realised this care-based approach is the way we can bring new brands to the world,” Lindell told CMO. “Andoo is more about how we do better in the world, care for customers more and lead the way as we do that.

“For example, we have seen what’s happening with mattresses, bedding and furniture categories with landfill. As a business, we have to take a stance because we are part of the problem as well as the solution. As we started building this proposition, we wanted to make sure the brand orients around care, delight and range. Those are the big propositions we feel we are offer and build a strong business around.”

Covid sentiments

It’s an approach partly informed by the Covid pandemic. Lindell noted more people are working from home and remotely than ever.

“Within that, we have been welcomed into people’s homes more than ever before,” he explained. “We get a unique insight every time we walk in. We have always been able to install appliances in homes, take away the packaging and recycle the old product. Through Covid, that’s been quite unique. As we expanded through these times, we have also realised people wanted that TLC and human connection onsite - not just through a PC screen or pixels on the page, but in their homes.  They want to know you will come in and reposition the rug, move the couch, or like we have done with Appliances Online, install items and make sure the product is working when it’s in customers’ homes.

“That need was only amplified through Covid. Our business proposition is built around that and that’s helping ramp and scale our Andoo offering.”

What was equally clear, however, was the 17-year-old Appliances Online brand was going to make marketing propositions outside of appliance goods difficult.

“As we discussed what we do as a board, we realised it was an opportunity to create a new megabrand for the business. Andoo is vehicle for our growth going forward,” Lindell said. “We also have appliances on Andoo and we will keep adding categories under the portfolio where it makes sense. We are specialists at delivering big and bulky products into people’s homes. We will continue to build that under Andoo but do it our way. Andoo is about feeling good and leaving customers with a smile on their face.”  

While taking advantage of existing operational and process capability, Lindell confirmed Winning Group has stood up new technology to deliver on the Andoo proposition, as well as to scale operations into New Zealand.

“We are now building a house of brands underneath Winning Group; potentially we’ll continue expand as we see other opportunities,” he said. “However, Andoo is the vehicle for growth in big and bulky and we will put a lot of our support behind building this brand over the next 3-5 years.”  

The marketing plan

As to how he’s going to do this, Lindell pointed to Winning Group’s strong background in digital marketing as well as unique, often guerrilla-style efforts will be key. An example is on Instagram, where the brand is sponsoring the ‘Andoo team X’, a collection of the worlds’ best lifestyle sports teams.

Sven LindellCredit: Winning Group
Sven Lindell

“From a blip in the sky to a V8 supercar, we do look for unique ways to get our brand out there,” Lindell said. “We will continue to look for guerrilla-style marketing, but we’ll also use our smarts and data to grow properly via digital performance, our 1 million-strong email database in the group, and the ecosystem between our brands. It makes sense when we have a lifestyle luxury brand in Winning, mixed in with Andoo, to utilise smarts across the organisation.”

According to Lindell, about 50 per cent of the group’s customers are repeat, a figure growing year-on-year.

From a neuroscience perspective, there are nevertheless distinct differences in the customer sweet spot for Andoo versus Appliances online. For one, Appliances Online is about accessing products today and delivering something you need tomorrow. By contrast, Andoo gears towards a planned and curated experience around the home.

“You can get that same next-day service, but customers can also plan what their home looks like in the future, looks they are after and how it comes to life,” Lindell said. “This entire home proposition is what we are going after. This kind of brand does lean towards the caregiver of the home. So it’s less about immediate need and more about focusing on the cohorts who are caring, helpful, compassionate and nurturing. They’re the ones we can start to build more of a relationship with Andoo.”  

Content will therefore be a massive component of the marketing strategy for Andoo, and Lindell said the focus for the next year is doubling down on editorial capabilities. Currently, the group has its our own studio for all shooting.

Personalisation is another significant play. “In our category experience with Appliances Online, we focus on different types of consumer behaviour to put the right products in place,” Lindell explained. “For example, if you’re a bargain hunter, versus the highest rated product, or drawn by social proof. We seed these elements into the category experience to give customers the opportunity to search and navigate their way. It’s a similar philosophy with Andoo – and we’ll continue to bring that leading user experience into what we do.”

Where Lindell saw the focus of personalisation realigning is realising the care aspect of the Andoo brand and how the business helps care for the planet. The team plans to launch green rooms looking at the most efficient products and wants to help customers understand how to get the most out of the products they purchase.

“We have to do this as citizens of the world. You’ll see a big focus over the next six months in our Andoo user experience on how to care for products, longer life, how to search to buy a product that comes from a sustainable manufacturing process,” Lindell said.

Andoo has also struck an alliance with charity partner, Good360, to provide assistance to flood-affected communities in New South Wales and Queensland including $500,000 worth of furniture, mattresses and appliances for those in need. 

“That care giver around the home we know cares about their family, community and planet. It’s important we live to these ideals too if we want to have a strong relationship with those customers,” Lindell said.

Dos and don’ts of retail brand building

Having spent over two years at Winning Group and many more both marketing and digitising retail brands, Lindell is quite clear on the dos and don’ts guiding Andoo’s brand approach. His first is to stand for something.

“If you don’t bring the passion, it’s not worth it,” he said. “That flows through to how to you build brand, content, support the product offering and last-mile experience.”

Another big learning is around loyalty. For Lindell, Winning Group’s service approach is all the loyalty program it needs.

“A loyalty program or any means of trying to trip a customer into a next sale is not worth it. We are fortunate to be able to deliver into homes. That last mile and one interaction makes all the difference,” he said. “We can do an amazing job on our website, on content, but when a product is just dumped out the front door and a customer has no idea what to do with it, you have eroded and destroyed that confidence you might have built through the entire process.”

Lindell is also well aware that when it comes to ecommerce, two areas of fear have to be addressed if a brand is to build customer trust. The first is the checkout and handing over credit card details. The second is the timeframe between sales and delivery.

“You almost can’t communicate to customers enough during that time,” Lindell said. “We are putting in delivery tracking software so people can follow our trucks as they turn up to their homes. That tested well with customers as a way to keep them informed with what is happening.”  

As to other trust to-dos, bringing time down between when someone can order a product and when they receive it is critical for Lindell and the Winning Group team. It’s why he sounded a note of caution around the growing marketplace and drop-ship models emerging across retail in Australia.

“Where you are buying off marketplace or drop ship, you are handing that trust over to another person and hoping it’s ok. A lot of time it’s not. There’s another merchant of record in that supply chain,” Lindell commented. “The growth of marketplaces might look like a profitable proposition for retailers, but unless they have vendors that live and die by their brand and experience, something falls down.

“Winning has this right – we control the experience all the way through. It’s exciting to be with a business where it’s not just products online, but a model driven by care about what we do. Right now with Andoo, that’s big and bulky products around the home. But watch this space.”

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