In an age where customers take the ability to shop seamlessly and instantaneously from a myriad of digital devices, staying relevant to consumers – and putting the technological systems in place to deliver what they want – can be a challenge for retailers.
Retail and technology director at Shop Direct, Jon Rudoe, believes this seamless mobile shopping experience is the biggest problem retailers are trying to solve for customers. From the retailers’ perspective, he explains, it is about being able to stay relevant to consumers in a mobile world – comparing the situation to that of a “three-second audition”. “You are a thumb-swipe away from not being relevant,” he points out. “It is about making sure you pass that three-second smartphone audition. On a small screen, it is about thinking how you put things that are relevant in front of the customer.”
Rudoe explains that this applies not just to the message you are trying to convey to the customer, but also to how you start presenting products to them. “We do a bunch of work to make sure we personalise the page customers land on, and the order of products they see when they search and also the recommendations that they provide,” he explains.
Tracing its roots to UK mail-order firms such as Littlewoods and Kays, which were gradually absorbed by it, Shop Direct changed its focus to digital retail as customers switched to buying products online. It is now the second-largest pure play digital retailer in the UK after Amazon.