I am delighted to present our first customer guest blog, written by Shop Direct's Head of Site Management, Rhys Billington.
At the 2014 BT Retail Week Technology Awards, Shop Direct was awarded for their progress in becoming a world class digital retailer. Rhys Billington has now written about their journey with Oracle.
Many congratulations to the team at Shop Direct from us all at Oracle!
Now over to Rhys...
Becoming a World Class Digital Retailer
Rhys Billington, Head of Site Management, Shop Direct
A couple of weeks ago, Shop Direct received four awards at the 2014 BT Retail Week Technology Awards for our progress on our journey to becoming a world class digital retailer. We won the awards for BT Grand Prix Winner of Winners, Best IT Operations, Supply Chain and Fulfilment Excellence and Payment Project of the Year. Needless to say, the entire team at Shop Direct is delighted. This topped off a great financial year for us and is fantastic recognition of the work that's gone into shaping the future of the business and the retail sector as a whole.
Being awarded for the progress we've made over the last year is great, and also offers us an opportunity to reflect on how we've done it. In addition to all of the work put in by our own talented people, one of the other key factors in our success has been the partners we've carefully selected to support our business transformation. One of the key strategic partnerships we've developed is with Oracle and we've enjoyed their support at every step of our journey to world class.
In 2008, we outlined our plans to upgrade our technology to support our transition into a digital retailer. From our roots as a catalogue business, we've always stuck true to what makes us special in the fact that we make good things easily accessible to more people through our department store range and unique financial services offer. When evolving from catalogue to digital, we had to find the right kind of technology and the right kind of partnerships that would allow us to continue to deliver that customer promise while maintaining our brand values and driving future growth.
As a business, we've become truly customer-centric and are confident that our uniquely rich data set and the skill we have in analysing and using that data means we're extremely well placed to provide shoppers with the best possible digital shopping experience, no matter how, when or where they choose to shop with us. But it's only with partners like Oracle, who have the right level of technology and market experience to support us, that we're on track to achieving our world class ambitions.
We selected Oracle to provide the core technology infrastructure for our retail operations, investing in a variety of solutions including Oracle Retail Merchandising and Planning applications and Oracle Commerce to replace our legacy systems. These investments have allowed us to increase visitor numbers, improve conversion rates, enhance business visibility and optimise our department store websites for mobile commerce. This in turn has supported the expansion of our experimentation and personalisation programmes and driven continued innovation in the business.
Using advanced technology to drive our digital strategy has helped us to gain market share and grow profitability over the last couple of years. Investing in proven and advanced Oracle technology has placed Shop Direct in a better position to continue to drive innovation and hopefully to continue being recognised for our successes.