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Shop Direct achieves 99.99 percent site availability with ecommerce platform in AWS cloud

Matthew Finnegan | May 21, 2014
Shop Direct, the owner of Littlewoods and Very, has improved site availability from an "abysmal" 57 percent to 99.99 percent after re-architecting its front-end ecommerce platform on Amazon Web Service's public cloud.

For example, Shop Direct intends to make greater use of unstructured data, such as information gathered from Facebook, to drive decision-making around sales and services.

"The plan is to create more personalised experiences for our customers, and to leverage the huge amount of data we have today which sits in a Teradata data warehouse," he said.

"We will also leverage more unstructured data - more Facebook, more Open Graph, and apply analytics to that so we can start to do some decisioning with this. We are looking at a big application and infrastructure deployment in that space over the next 12 to 18 months."

Part of this data analytics strategy will involve leveraging the scalability of the cloud through tools such as AWS' Hadoop service Elastic MapReduce (EMR) to gain more insight into customer behaviour.

"Our data coupled with Facebook data can give you unique insights and you can start to see trends that you wouldn't necessarily normally see, for example in terms of what colours are trending the most today and how that may impact what we buy in future terms of our portfolio."

"It is that type of data that we think will be valuable to us in terms of the decisions that we make when presenting products or proposition to customers."

Location data

The company also aims to be able to provide a more personal experience by understanding its customers better. This could involve drawing on site browsing data, whether Shop Direct sites or others, to offer specific vouchers or discount codes.

Enabling location-aware services could also allow the company to target customers with offers when they enter a rival's store.

"Hopefully at some point we will be able to look at where a customer is in relation to their shopping behaviour. So if they have opened up our website, and we know from location that they have opted in that they are in John Lewis, then maybe we will present them with an option to come back to Very with a discount code. It is those types of things we are looking to leverage."


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