Yossi Erdman, AO.com’s head of brand and social media, is the first person to admit that white goods is not the most exciting product category in retail.

“A 9KG washing machine tells us nothing – no one weighs their clothes before washing them,” he said.

But in a bid to make white goods sexy, Erdman uses social media to engage with AO.com’s customers and get them excited about both the products and the e-tailer’s service.

Speaking at the BRC Customer Insight event in London this week, Erdman said customers still visit stores when they want to buy a new washing machine, oven or fridge. “But they can’t do much, maybe open the door and feel it’s sturdy – you don’t bring your dirty laundry to the shop, I hope  so why go to the store?”

And Erdman pointed out that unless a customer has a very big car, they are going to have to opt for home delivery, so AO.com’s online proposition solves those challenges. “The solution is to go online, but how do we convince people?” he asked.

He said the e-tailer’s warehouse has 4,500 different products, but it is customer behaviour that needs to change. “We need to bring the products to life and make them exciting and tell the customer about the service they will get from us, which is probably the best.”

Using social media tools, predominantly Facebook, Erdmand said the e-tailer can experiment with new campaigns for a minimal spend.

“Luckily, in this category, everybody needs an appliance at some stage of their life – unless they're very dirty – so we can amplify via social media and create competitions,” said Erdman, who has been developing social media for AO.com for five years.

He said many of the campaigns are not very formal, such as asking customers to guess how many beers are in a fridge-freezer, how many clothes fit into a washing machine or even how many rubber ducks were sat in a Bosch dishwasher.

“3,000 people on Facebook showed us they could count ducks,” said Erdman. “People on social media love to show they can count.”

He also pointed to video as an important tool for engaging with customers. AO.com ran a campaign with two vloggers which cost around £600 and was amplified via social media. “You don’t have to use massively expensive agencies,” he advised.

AO.com also has its own lifestyle blog which generates SEO value for the eCommerce site and provides customers with recipes. “We have people linking and talking about it – they’re not talking directly about the appliance, but it’s a category close, which is food.”

As well as products, Erdman has to get customers excited about AO.com’s service and next-day delivery proposition.

The e-tailer had a problem with its drivers, who did not understand the power of social media. Customers who had a bad experience with AO.com drivers would turn to Facebook to vent their frustration, but the drivers would not see the comments. Erdman said the company decided to create a feedback book for drivers which would be sent to their homes every two weeks.

“Firstly, the wife or partner gets the book and if they see negative feedback, they are in the dog house and it’s a little embarrassing,” joked Erdman. “But the driver has good visibility of what is going on and feedback is a good incentive and the drivers now ask customers to write on Facebook about them, therefore it’s encouraging a really good service.”

Erdman also said AO.com’s CEO, John Roberts, will write personal thank you or apology letters after customers comment on Facebook about the e-tailer’s service.

“And when people get these letters, they post them back on Facebook. It’s a nice thing to do and people get really excited.”

AO.com – which has a Trustpilot score of 9.7/10 – even put customers onto its homepage. “The conversion wasn’t hurt and it worked pretty well,” he said. “We took the stories and made a spontaneous TV advert – it’s not going to win any advertising awards, but it did the job.”