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Drapers Digital Forum: Conversational commerce is the next big thing, says Shop Direct boss

“Making strategic choices, understanding customer intelligence with the use of data and analytics, and transforming customer culture – the way they behave – are the ingredients of a world-class digital success,” Gareth Jones, deputy chief executive at Shop Direct told the Drapers Digital Forum in London this morning.

Making the exclusive announcement at the conference that its premium etail platform, Very Exclusive, is launching menswear, and already has 15 brands signed up, Jones admitted, “There is still a huge amount to do.”

Customers are “drowning in choices, options, and brands”. Using the insight from data and analytics, Jones said: “We are a lifeline for them” – ”making wants easily accessible without friction” and the ecommerce experience seamless.

However, Shop Direct faced tough competition from within and outside fashion ecommerce.

“We have to be up there with the new fearsome tech players,” said Jones.

“We are swimming with sharks. And we need to face that we don’t have all the answers but get we can get people excited and rewarded for their good behaviour.”

“Conversational commerce is the next thing,” predicted Jones. “It’s the end of apps as we know it.” Very is close to the 1 million mark with app downloads.

With the addition of Very menswear, Shop Direct’s next challenge is going to be growing its appeal further and getting to “Mr Very through Ms Very”.

He added: “Everyone knows she’s buying his clothes.”

“Delight customers, engage them and motivate them,” concluded Jones. “That is how you keep them at the centre.”

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