Shop Direct invests in SAS to improve personalisation

Shop Direct has signed a deal with SAS to help the retailer provide more personalised web pages to customers, it revealed in its full-year results.

The retailer, which owns the brands and Littlewoods, said it had selected SAS as “decision engine partner to drive real-time, on-site personalisation this financial year, with intiatives including personalised homepages and top navigation already delivered”.

It is one of the ways in which Shop Direct is hoping to “develop an easier customer experience”.

In its full-year results to 30 June 2014, the retailer also said it has made “significant” investment in its data analytics capability, including funnel analytics and customer lifetime value modelling, in preparation for the “next phase” of its personalisation programme.

Further, during the year it became the first UK retailer to open an in-house user experience lab, to which it invites customers to test ideas, website changes and new technologies.

Shop Direct revealed last month how experimentation was important to its ecommerce innovation. It runs 55 tests a month live on its sites, and plans to increase this to 140 tests a month in 2016.

The company added that its customer experience had been improved after it completed its largest ever single IT project, to move its websites from a home-grown, not fit-for-purpose platform, onto Oracle’s “more stable and flexible” ATG10 cloud platform.

Mobile commerce as a ‘game changer’

Shop Direct said that mobile commerce was key to its strong financial performance this year, and reiterated its plans to become a “world class digital retailer”.

Its group sales rose three percent to £1.74 billion this year with pre-tax profit growing 512 percent from £6.6 million in 2012/13 to £40.4 million.

Shop Direct said that 84 percent of sales were completed online, up from 78 percent last year. Some 44 percent of all online sales were made on mobile devices, up from 27 percent last year.

More than half (54 percent) of customers browse and shop across more than one device, with a fifth using a combination of desktop, tablet and mobile, the firm said. Daily visits to its websites are also up, by 19 percent, to 950,000.

Alex Baldock, Shop Direct group CEO, said in the results: “These are strong results, driven by the outstanding growth of and the unrelenting boom in mcommerce. Mobile continues to be a game changer for us, with more than half of our online sales now from smartphones and tablets.

“It’s clear that our strategy is working and we’ve made some big strides toward building a world class digital retailer. But we’re nowhere near the full potential of this business, there’s a ton more to do, and we’ll invest heavily to get it done.”

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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