Littlewoods was formed in 1923 by Sir John Moores as a leading retailer in UK .It’s a privately owned by Moore family which started in Liverpool as a football pool business .Little woods is a home shopping online catalogue offering 40 thousand personal and household products. This is done differently from other retail shops whereby customers select wide range of products from along compiled list of products and order online. The products includes furnishings, furniture, storage solutions and accessories for home and garden ,women, children clothing and accessories, kitchen and cleaning appliances, sports and leisure equipment, gifts and toys among others. All delivered within 48 hours. Payment is done with credit cards. People work from the comfort of their homes and recruit others nearby who are then paid on weekly basis for goods shown in a catalog. Each paying a shilling a week .In a weekly draw the first winner secures her purchase and then others follow according to Charles (2004).
Littlewoods has several divisions and if sales were combined for all division a £1,731 million profit was made after the company moved from retail to mail order. The most significant one was the shop direct group formed when Littlewoods merged with Great Universal Stores which also operated initial as a mail order retailer. This was a strategic move to reposition the brand as online retailer. Shop direct has digital department stores. It is reported that in 2013 Littlewoods together with the digital departmental store reported a pretax profit of £6.6 million after ten years of operation (Bourn 2005). After the upgrade of this home shopping to become the fastest growing automated credit system, it produced a big turnover of £933 million, and profit, £53.5 million. It chain stores also had a £623 million turnover and £29.4 million profit. Very minimal financial records are available but it still holds 77% of UK pools business.
The company has witnessed structure changes with emphasis being on the name. Littlewoods derive its strength from three key teams comprising of its design team, quality assurance and merchandising team. These are specialized teams formed to ensure that customers value is highly maximizes, therefore its principles lean towards operational efficiency. Each team has major tasks to ensure dynamism and quality writes Roberts (2005). The design team travels across the world to analyze to acquire the best of the best prices to ensure customers get great value for their money at the best price while the company generates good returns. The team analyses new market trends and tailor its product to match these trends. Their quality team look at all aspects of quality since the store deals with a variety, the quality checks include size, packaging, among others for customers satisfaction. They work closely with suppliers and buyers. The merchandising team is concerned with pricing. They also ensure products are available and create new ways of working to ensure the production teams have the right information to make meaningful decisions. Management teams are strengthened to inculcate hard work to build strong platform that drives business. All potential suppliers introduced to the business go through a similar process of engagement according to Roberts (2005).
In helping Littlewoods solve essential quality of data which was a concern to the company, it adopted trillium software. The software was designed to solve organization specific challenges in data management .Quality problems were identified as hindrance to the company’s’ growth. This was identified when the user set up a profiling and discovery section and issues that are found across data sources displayed this will be used to support moving of data and keeping projects as a master data management (Thomas 1992).With a built- in data, quality regulations users organize the process of cleaning and standardizing to enrich data after this is done data profiling tools provide users with a report on current state of data within the entire organization. This has transformed business in the past years. For Littlewoods, selling their stores and merging to improve home shopping business taking the lead in UK as the largest home shopping retailers with 9,500 staff. Initially the database available did not provide enough, capacity, was not flexible with limited functionality to support the growing market the new system focused on a combined inquiry and customer account data centrally. This strategy considered ambitious increased the speed at which digital retail shopping was being conducted as it utilized the unique features of ecommerce and data financial services. Personalization is the core of the company in considering sustainable strategies to achieve growth whereby customers are offered spontaneous relevant shopping setting.
For over 20 years the company has been faced with data quality challenges because the in-house database was outdated this necessitated the need for flexible effective tool to facilitate the name and address matching procedure. This was to create integrated view for home shopping for Littlewoods customers. Initially data process targeted 42 million forecasts, 5.4milion enquiries and 0.2 million customer accounts updated weekly this is anticipated to grow. Marketing cost has greatly reduced as the system identify people compared to account previously .It has also offered platform to interact with customers (Thomas 1992 ) .In my view the company’s focus on innovation is the paramount factor that has kept the company on the lead with its branding process always eliciting strong customer response.
Bourn, J ( 2005).Enforcing competition in markets. Buckingham palace road, Victoria London .
Charles, D. Tino, F. Bill, M(2004) .E-retailing. Rutledge: 2 square park Milton, Abingdon.
Roberts, P (2005, July14). Home shopping jobs go west. Manchester Evening news.
Thomas, D. Adele, H (1992) International Directory of Company Histories. Chicago: (St. James Press, 1988).