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Personalisation is key, says new Whistles ecommerce boss

Whistles’ new head of ecommerce Jennie Blythe has emphasised the importance of personalisation to grow online sales at the “retail-heavy” business.

Blythe, who joined the premium retailer in February from men’s tailoring business Charles Tyrwhitt, said Whistles has a “massive opportunity” to boost its conversion rate this year, after it moved the website to a cloud-based platform created by US technology firm Demandware in June 2014.

“We’re in a great position to work on our customer relationship management and personalisation,” she told Drapers.

“The time is right to focus on conversion rate optimisation and to conduct usability studies to make sure the online experience is perfect.”

Blythe, who reports into chief executive Jane Shepherdson, said she wants to double online sales “as soon as possible” by developing a more consistent omnichannel service. She declined to provide figures.

She added: “The new platform is a major building block towards a better omnichannel experience, which is a clear opportunity for us as we are a retail-heavy company. We need to make sure the service in stores and online is integrated and seamless. We are working on resolving allocation issues so customers can buy what they want how they want. Consistency is key.”

Menswear is also a growth area for Whistles and its first unisex collaboration with Swedish rainwear brand Stutterheim has already sold out online.

The Whistles x Stutterheim Stockholm raincoats, which went on sale on March 1, are available in navy with orange and white stripes or grey with white and black stripes in sizes XXS to XL, retailing at £235.

Shepherdson said: “Whistles’ collaborations are about finding experts in the market and working with them to produce beautiful, functional, carefully crafted exclusive pieces; Stutterheim was chosen because it produces the highest-quality rainwear and its simplicity, functionality and timeless style perfectly complements the Whistles aesthetic.”

Blythe was head of web development and trading at Charles Tyrwhitt for three years from February 2012. She replaces Louise Salt, who left in December to join Phase Eight as director of marketing and online trading.


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