At Retail Week Live 2017 Shop Direct chief executive Alex Baldock will discuss how new technology will reshape retail.

After another year of growth, Shop Direct chief executive Alex Baldock will share his insights on how to create that holy grail of retail at present – creating an agile business fit for the future.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are likely to become increasingly important, and Baldock is well placed to discuss how technology can transform performance.

Under his direction Shop Direct has become 100% digital following the cull of its last remaining catalogues in 2015.

That was a big shift in comparison to 2012, the year Baldock was appointed, when catalogue orders accounted for three-quarters of sales.

Last year, Shop Direct reported a jump in underlying full-year pre-tax profits and a rise in sales as it reaped the benefits of technology investments.

Underlying pre-tax profits rose 43.6% to £150.4m. Sales increased 4.3% to £1.86bn.

The performance was driven by a 15.9% jump in sales at Shop Direct’s online department store Very.co.uk, which has become a £1bn-plus brand.

Shop Direct’s performance won it the AlixPartners Growth Retailer of the Year Award at this year’s Oracle Retail Week Awards.

Personalisation is playing a big part. The retailer aims to “offer each customer an experience as unique as she is,” Baldock said at the time.

He continued: “We’ve tailored her online experience, including the marketing that brings her in, the online shop she then enters, and the way we engage with her after she’s bought. Our investment in big data and technology has started to pay off and is making these new levels of personalisation possible.”

“The competition is ferocious so we must and will continue to invest heavily in our digital future, and keep up the pace on our transformation”

Baldock feels there is still more work to be done. He says: “We’ve only scratched the surface of the full potential here. The competition is ferocious so we must and will continue to invest heavily in our digital future, and keep up the pace on our transformation.”

Further realising that potential, and sharing some of his thinking, will be a highlight of Retail Week Live 2017.

  • This article is based upon others originally published on Retail-week.com earlier this year.

Retail Week Live 2017 takes place on March 8 to 9 at The Intercontinental Hotel, O2, London.

To book your ticket to Retail Week Live 2017 click here or email andrew.falconer-borgars@emap.com