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January 26, 2016updated 30 Aug 2016 3:18pm

Shop Direct customers given a personalised bargain by IBM’s cloud

News: Retailer aims to offer more personalised financial services to its customers.

By James Nunns

IBM’s Cloud is being used as a key component of Shop Direct’s personalisation programme.

The £50 million personalisation programme is aimed at redesigning the company’s financial services platform, which will now be hosted and managed through IBM’s hybrid cloud.

The platform will give Shop Direct customers’ personalised financial services products that aim to make the retailers brands more affordable.

Shop Direct is a multi-brand online retailer that was established in 2005 as a result of a merger between Littlewoods and Shop Direct companies, its brands include Very.co.uk.

Essentially this is part of a large digital transformation that the retailer is going through and it extends the existing relationship that was in place between IBM’s Cloud and the company’s consulting services.

David Stokes, Chief Executive, IBM UK & I said: "Consumers now expect an increasingly personalised and flexible user experience across all of their digital interactions, personal or professional. There has been a boom in cloud computing to meet the demands of this marketplace, offering access to unlimited computing power as required and easier ways to process large amounts of information.

Shop Direct has been transitioning its company to better deliver customer requirements in an increasingly mobile and cloud centric world. This means that the company needs to be able to quickly deliver applications to both its customers and staff so that it can be a major digital retailer.

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The financial services provided by Shop Direct make it one of the largest non-bank lenders in the UK, according to the company.

The reason behind this offering is so that it can differentiate from its competitors and it is using cloud technology to help both better respond to the market and demand in order to drive growth.

Work between the two will see the retailer change its credit offerings and provide customers with a broader set of financial services options in addition to a more personalised experience with more options to self-serve.

As part of the project the financial systems will be separated from the retail systems, with a new financial platform being provided on IBM‘s hybrid cloud. This will help to bring together applications and data from public and private clouds and give a more flexible credit product.

The benefit of using a hybrid cloud in this situation comes with the added data security benefits. It means that personal and sensitive data can remain in a private cloud, making sure that regulations are met.

Alex Baldock, Group CEO, said: "I’m proud to announce our Personalisation Partnership with IBM today. We already work closely with IBM in areas such as data security and the way we personalise the retail shopping journey.

"This deal will broaden that relationship as we work with IBM to give Shop Direct groundbreaking capabilities to use our unique understanding and relationship with our customers to offer financial services products tailored to them."

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