Shop Direct, owner of Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk, has announced revenue of £1.86bn for its first full year as the retailer puts technologies such as big data and machine learning at the heart of its operation.
The company ditched its traditional catalogue business in January 2015 and turned to digital-only offerings for the two brands.
The move has paid dividends. The firm turned a profit of £150.4m, a 43 per cent increase year on year, and said that the focus on digital, and especially mobile, was core to this growth.
Traffic to Shop Direct sites grew 12 per cent to 1.2 million visits a day, while traffic from smartphones grew 42 per cent to a daily average of 638,000.
This led to a 46 per cent increase year on year in orders made via smartphones, while the company's app has now been downloaded almost a million times across iOS and Android.
Shop Direct is using machine learning technology to continue to refine its offerings, including personalised recommendations based on customers' buying habits.
“Driven by machine learning, the group is now personalising more customer touchpoints than ever, from customer emails and off-site advertising to homepage content, on-site sort orders, top navigation menus and product recommendations deeper within the shopping journey," the firm said.
"We have also begun trialling personalised services with the aim of building deeper relationships with customers."
Shop Direct CEO Alex Baldock explained that the success is down to a focus on technology and that the firm will continue this push.
“This was the year our investments in technology really started to pay off. We’ve made big strides in m-commerce, big data and personalisation. But there’s a lot more to play for in these areas," he said.
"In particular, we believe that artificial intelligence can change the game for us in data and personalisation. We’re deploying it already and are serious about going much further."
The success from a focus on major tech trends like big data and machine learning gives an indication of their importance in delivering measurable benefits particularly around revenue and profit.
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