Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/04/20/how-mobile-transformed-an-80-year-old-catalogue-retailer/

In four years Shop Direct has gone from selling the majority of its products via twice yearly catalogue to an entirely digital operation that sell the majority of its products via the mobile web.  

British catalogue retailer Shop Direct has transformed itself from a paper-based into a pure-play digital business.

In 2012, 72% of sales came from catalogues. In 2016 it will be 0%. Today Shop Direct’s £1.8 billion business is 100% digital.

The first mobile web sale was booked in early 2010, now mobile accounts for a whopping 61% of revenue and is still growing strongly. And how has it effected the bottom line? Well, last financial year pre-tax profits for the group were up 78%.

Jonathan Wall, Group ecommerce director, explains to ClickZ how mobile came to dominate Shop Direct’s business. 

Tell me about how things have changed since you put out your last catalogue.

There has been a huge transformation of the business from being a catalogue to an online retailer. Our last catalogue was produced in April 2015. It was a huge piece of work preparing for this as a business, but in the end the last catalogue went quite quietly.

You might have thought that a business that had been producing catalogues for 80 years would have a bit of a fanfare or even a civil ceremony around the last catalogue. But thankfully as a business we had already moved on.

We didn’t want to remove our catalogues until our customers were predominantly online. But we had reached the stage when our customers had started to say: “Why are you still sending this to me? That’s not what makes me buy from you.”

Littlewoods catalogue

Are you able to tell how much business you might have lost, presumably there were some customers who didn’t shop online…

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