Shop Direct, the UK’s leading multi-brand online retailer, has formed commercial partnerships with two Israeli start-ups after successfully trialling their innovative new ecommerce technologies with customers in its in-house user experience lab.
Cimagine Media has created the world’s first truly markerless augmented reality app, allowing customers to visualise how items of furniture would fit into and look in their homes without the need to print a reference marker and place it on the floor. yRuler has developed technology that enables consumers to virtually try products before they purchase by comparing them to a model in their size or to items they already own. The platform works with a wide variety of items, from handbags and wallets to furniture, appliances and toys.
Over the last six months, Shop Direct has worked with customers in its in-house user experience lab to understand how they might interact with the Cimagine and yRuler technologies and adopt them into their typical shopping behaviour. These studies have helped to ensure that first time usage of the new technologies is easy and intuitive for customers. Both the Cimagine and yRuler platforms will now move to live site testing across Shop Direct’s six digital department store websites.
Jonathan Wall, ecommerce director at Shop Direct, said: “We were introduced to Cimagine and yRuler by the UK Israel Tech Hub at the British Embassy while on a research trip to Tel Aviv in 2013. Each company had invented an innovative technology that had the potential to improve the shopping experience for our customers.
“Cimagine was in the early stages of developing its augmented reality app when we started working with the team. When we first put the technology in front of customers in our user experience lab, only a proportion could understand how to operate it properly. We worked with the team to identify the challenges that customers were facing and, in the final round of testing, every customer could easily work out how to access and use the technology. It’s that kind of partnership approach that we’re looking to develop with other emerging start-ups.”
Yoni Nevo, CEO and co-founder of Cimagine Media, said: “Thanks to the usability lab testing, we learned that having the most realistic 3D visualisation technology is not enough to create a great user experience. Shop Direct’s team encouraged us to speed up the introduction of our markerless capabilities and provided crucial feedback that resulted in an intuitive visualisation solution that is launched at a click of a button. Working with Shop Direct has two-fold value – being both a customer and a real partner.”
Eliad Inbar, CEO and founder of yRuler, added: “”The work process with Shop Direct has been amazingly efficient and smooth. The team embedded yRuler’s one-line script in no time and pilot provisioning took less than an hour. Thanks to the optimisation effort by Shop Direct, the yRuler button was redesigned and relocated on-site, resulting in an 8% click-through rate within the first month of the pilot. In addition, we received detailed feedback from the usability team, which enabled us to further optimise the yRuler experience for Shop Direct’s customers.”
A delegation from Shop Direct now travels out to Israel every few months, with the most recent trip taking place last week. While there, the team works closely with the UK Israel Tech Hub to meet the country’s most innovative technology companies.
Director of the UK Israel Tech Hub, Naomi Krieger Carmy, commented: “The UK Israel Tech Hub has been proud to work with Shop Direct in realising its pioneering approach towards online retail by partnering with cutting edge Israeli technology companies such as Cimagine and yRuler.
“These new partnerships demonstrate the great potential for collaboration between the UK’s leading global retailers and Israeli innovation in ecommerce, augmented reality, analytics and other areas. We believe there is much more room for growth in this sector, connecting Israeli innovation with the world’s leading internet economy.”
Jonathan Wall added: “Israel is undoubtedly the world’s hotbed for emerging ecommerce technology. Cimagine and yRuler are great examples, as are Kenshoo, who we work with to optimise our digital marketing, and myThings, our retargeting provider and our longest standing Israeli technology partner. We began working with myThings in 2011 and they’ve helped us to drive millions in incremental sales.
“All of the companies and entrepreneurs we meet in Israel are extremely welcoming and keen to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships with UK retailers. There’s nowhere else in the world where we can meet 20 or more exciting technology companies in the space of 24 hours, all of which have interesting concepts with the potential to revolutionise the shopping experience for our customers.”
Shop Direct Lauren Young firstname.lastname@example.org 0844 292 4799
ABOUT SHOP DIRECT
Shop Direct is the UK’s leading multi-brand digital retailer, with annual sales of £1.7 billion. Our digital department store brands include Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com and isme.com and receive an average of 880,000 website visits every day.
We exist to make good things easily accessible to more people. With our department store range, unique financial services offer and market-leading ecommerce and technology capabilities, we’re well placed to deliver on this promise.
We sell more famous brands than any other UK retailer, including big name labels and our own exclusive brands, and deliver 46 million parcels each year to five million active customers.