Successfully turning digital in a retail world

U.K. digital retailer Shop Direct, the company that run two online department stores – both of whom used to be reliant on catalogue shopping - has unveiled a profit increase of 43.6 percent year-on-year following the implementation of big data and machine learning technologies.

In a successful move, the company ceased catalogue production in January 2015, turning to digital-only offerings for the two brands. Shop Direct said that the focus on digital, especially mobile, was core to this growth.

Speaking about this news, our Business Development Manager for Digital Services, Simon Allen, said: “This success shows what you can achieve when your information is digital. The idea of catalogue shopping now just seems ridiculous to most consumers. I personally don’t really make purchases if I can’t look at them, research and buy them on the internet. Actually picking up a physical catalogue, manually turning pages, filling in a paper form? No way! Far too much effort. And for Shop Direct, it would mean all information is wasted if it’s just on paper as it can’t be searched - the intelligence within all of the information lies dormant”.

He continued “So let’s look at this from another perspective. It won’t be long before it’ll seem strange to get paper files delivered to your office when you want to know something. Some people feel that the cost to digitally convert paper documents is prohibitive. However, stories like this demonstrate the untapped value within an organization’s inventory of paper records. I wouldn’t always suggest digitally converting every historic record, but certainly begin with a thorough analysis of: what you have, how and why it’s created, who uses it and how long it needs to be kept for. Then you can create a clear strategy to make the best use of the information you own. Not doing so means missing revenue generating opportunities, the chance to reduce risk and improve efficiency of business processes.”

Read more about how Shop Direct’s customer buying behavior developed.