Liverpool-based Shop Direct scooped three gongs at the retail industry Oscars, the Oracle Retail Week Awards, including the coveted Pureplay Etailer of the Year award.
The digital retail group, which runs Very.co.uk, emerged as the big winner on the night, also taking home the Retail Technology Initiative of the Year and the Supply Chain Initiative of the Year awards at the glittering ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on Thursday 12th March.
The accolades come on the back of an impressive two years for Shop Direct after it kick-started its new strategy to transform a catalogue business into a world class digital retailer. This is based on making good things easily accessible to more people through its famous brands, easy-to-use website and credit offer.
Shop Direct emerged victorious in the hotly contended online retailer category, where the shortlist included Ao.com and ASOS.
The judges, who comprised influential figures from the retail sector including Asda president and chief executive, Andy Clarke, and House of Fraser chief executive, John King, declared: “In 2013/14, the business delivered a 512% increase in profitability – a stunning achievement. It did so by building the business on three pillars: good things, easily accessible and more people. Shop Direct is now very much the etailer to watch.”
Shop Direct group chief executive, Alex Baldock, said: “These awards show that people are sitting up and taking notice of Shop Direct’s transformation. When other retailers say we’re setting the pace online, it makes us even more confident we’re on the right path. Our ambition of becoming a world class digital retailer is in reach.
“We’re investing heavily in cutting-edge technology to help us move closer to that goal. But it’s not just about technology – our people are driving this transformation of a catalogue business into a digital leader, and I’m proud to be working with them. We’re determined to put Liverpool on the map for etail.”
Shop Direct was awarded Retail Technology Initiative of the Year for its experimentation at scale programme. The retailer is constantly testing ways to make the online experience easier for shoppers and has built a state-of-the-art user experience lab in its Speke headquarters to bring customers into its business to see how they shop and navigate its websites.
It conducts 50 experiments a month, which judges of the Oracle Retail Week Awards commented was more than the yearly output of some of its rivals.
Shop Direct also scooped the Supply Chain Initiative of the Year gong for improvements to its delivery service. With supply chain partner ArrowXL, the business has dramatically reduced delivery times for larger items which require two men to fulfil and rolled out its speedy, two day and next day delivery services. It has also launched in-home services, including furniture assembly.
Baldock said: “These awards are particularly gratifying as we constantly strive to enhance our customers’ experience. A frictionless shopping journey and fast and easy delivery are a big part of that.”
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ABOUT SHOP DIRECT
Shop Direct is the UK’s fourth largest online retailer, with annual sales of more than £1.7 billion. Our digital department store brands include Very.co.uk, which is now a £800 million brand, and receive over a million visits each day.
We exist to make good things easily accessible to more people. With our department store range, market-leading ecommerce and technology capabilities and unique financial services offer, we’re well placed to deliver on that promise.
We sell over 1,000 famous brands, including big name labels and our own exclusive brands, and deliver 48 million products to our four million customers every year. Our click and collect service, Collect+, delivers to more than 5,500 stores across the country, increasing ease and convenience for customers.