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Shop Direct calls time on catalogues after 80 years

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Shop Direct has taken a giant leap in its digital transformation and called time on the catalogue.

The retail group, which has produced catalogues for more than 80 years, has made the decision based on its customers’ changing shopping patterns.

Shop Direct group Chief Executive Alex Baldock said: “This is a big step in Shop Direct’s transformation and importantly, it’s one that’s been led by our customers. They’ve embraced online at a phenomenal pace - this is where they’re browsing and where they’re buying.”

Shop Direct, which owns department store brands including Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, has dramatically cut down the number of catalogues it produces already. Last season it sent out less than 300,000 books, compared to more than 5m five years ago.

Its shoppers are increasingly browsing and buying on its websites with online now accounting for more than 90% of sales - more than half of which are made on a mobile device, and its websites receive over 1m visits per day.

Communicating with customers through its digital channels allows Shop Direct to be more responsive to their needs and react more quickly to emerging trends. The retailer also serves its shoppers more personalised messages and products digitally by harnessing its customer data.

“Undoubtedly, we’ve sped up their migration online.  Our investment in improving and personalising the online experience is driving our customers’ decision to click rather than flick,” added Baldock.

The decision to cease catalogue production comes two years after Shop Direct kick-started its strategy to transform itself into a world class digital retailer.

Stopping investment in catalogues means that Shop Direct can invest more to give its customers a world class digital experience.

The retailer has already reaped the rewards from the investment it has made in cutting edge technology and customer analytics over the past two years. It posted a 512% jump in profits in its last financial year.

“We want to spend in areas that really matter to our customer. We know they want a slick, easy online experience and they want it tailored for them. We’re going to give them what they want,” continued Baldock.

“Now that we’ve fully committed to digital, we’re determined to make ours the best website in the world.”

The retailer will continue to distribute regular short form brochures to customers, showcasing more seasonally-relevant product.

Published on Monday 11 May by Veebs Sabharwal

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