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Confluent helps shape the shopping experience for millions of AO customers

AO is one of the UK’s leading electrical retailers, operating predominantly online for the last 20 years and selling over 9,000 electrical products to millions of customers across the UK and Germany. A business that not only prides itself on putting customers first, AO is just as dedicated to creating an amazing place for their 4,000 employees to not only work but thrive.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic shift in consumer shopping habits, which led to a sharp increase in growth at AO. John Roberts, AO Founder and Chief Executive Officer, underscored the scale of the change when he explained that “the pandemic accelerated a shift in customer behavior towards online shopping – we saw ten years’ change in consumer behaviour in just ten weeks.”

Helping to enable the rapid changes needed to support this surge in growth is a real-time event streaming platform based on Confluent and Apache Kafka®. This platform enables the AO Customer Personalization team to deliver hyper-personalized online experiences by combining historical customer data with clickstream data and other real-time digital signals from across the business. Just as importantly, it is enabling AO development teams to accelerate the rollout of new business capabilities.

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Respond rapidly to dramatic changes in retail consumer behavior as sales shift from in-person to predominantly online interactions.


Use event streaming with Confluent Cloud to enable the accelerated delivery of new capabilities that support improved customer experiences and increased operational efficiencies.

Confluent features used

  • Schema Registry
  • KSQL
  • Lambda Connector


  • Customer experiences improved with real-time hyper-personalization
  • Customer conversion rates increased by up to 30%
  • Pace of innovation increased
  • Developers focused on value-add features, not operations
  • Data at the speed of business

Jon Vines

Software Development Team Lead

Our hyper-personalized approach is delivering measurable results. In our A/B testing, we’ve seen a significant increase in customer conversion rates. That’s proof that our decision to adopt a real-time event streaming approach was the right one. I expect even bigger benefits as we continue to grow our capabilities.