Shop Direct moves closer to goal of building the world’s most personalised shopping experience

Digital retail group Shop Direct can now give customers a fully personalised homepage at flagship brand Very.co.uk, in what is understood to be a retail first.

The breakthrough is a major step towards Shop Direct’s goal of building the world’s most personalised digital stores, which will give customers an easier, more intuitive shopping experience. The Personalisation initiatives are expected to add over £20m in sales at Shop Direct in its current financial year.

Visitors to Very.co.uk can now be greeted with homepages designed specifically for them. This means that the twenty something who shops with Very.co.uk for that perfect party frock can find her favourite fashion brands ‘front of shop’ whilst the homemaker looking to furnish their abode can view electrical and homeware offers.

Shop Direct can serve 1.2 million versions of the website to its customers, based on which of Very.co.uk’s suite of promotional messages are used and in what position. With continued innovation and experimentation, Shop Direct expects this to rise to 3.5 million by the end of the year.

Shop Direct has achieved this cutting-edge level of personalisation by harnessing its wealth of customer data. Its dedicated team of data scientists have developed a suite of complex algorithms to predict customer behaviour and therefore optimise the homepage with targeted products and offers.

The algorithm produces 200 million promotion affinity scores, which rank the relevance of offers for each customer.

Tailored homepages are just one part of Shop Direct’s major push into personalisation, which forms a key part of its growth strategy.

Shop Direct has already introduced personalised website navigation across all of its websites, using browsing behaviour and purchase history to order the department store categories based on their relevance.

So customers who regularly search its sites for items for the kids will be presented first with the toys and child & baby categories, at the far left of the navigation panel.

The initiative has delivered a significant uplift in conversion and has added £5m to the top line in its current financial year.

In addition, Shop Direct’s suite of algorithms recommend department categories that the customer is likely to be interested in based on the behaviour of similar shoppers. For example, customers who browse furniture regularly could see the homewares category prominently, regardless of whether they’ve shopped it before, because it proves popular with similar customers.

The personalisation has been driven by the digital retail group’s investment in data science. Shop Direct has been on a recruitment drive to build a market-leading analytics team over the past two years.

Shop Direct group chief executive Alex Baldock said: “We know that relevance wins in retail and right now customers are drowning in a sea of irrelevant choices.

“We’re making it easier for them to shop by tailoring our websites for them. This is the digital equivalent of Selfridges laying out their Oxford Street store for each shopper.”

“We’ve set ourselves an ambitious target to build the world’s best personalised shopping experience – this is a major step towards that goal.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact Gemma Goldfingle on gemma.goldfingle@shopdirect.com / 07795 811742

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.

For more information on Shop Direct, visit www.shopdirect.com or follow us on Twitter at @ShopDirect.