Shop Direct: aligning UX metrics with business goals

Shop Direct is the UK’s leading multi-brand digital retailer, with annual sales of £1.7 billion. Its digital department store brands include,, and and receive an average of 880,000 website visits every day.

Shop Direct exists to make good things easily accessible to more people. With their department store range, unique financial services offer, and market-leading eCommerce and technology capabilities, they are well placed to deliver on this promise.

Shop Direct sell more famous brands than any other UK retailer, including big-name labels and their own exclusive brands, and deliver 46 million parcels each year to five million active customers.


Being a multi-brand digital retailer with a unique financial services proposition it was imperative that they were able to align UX research to business metrics within an integrated ‘User-Centered Design’ process with high stakeholder engagement.

Lab-based Usability studies in the past highlighted that “customers found it annoying” to select a payment option every time they wanted to add a product to the basket, therefore a checkout optimization project was initiated.

Following further investigation, it was identified that only 0.4% of orders confirmed using a combination of different payment terms whereas 8% of baskets had two different payment options available.

Objectives were:

  1. Improve conversion on ways to pay and ease of use of their checkout process
  2. Test prototypes iteratively in an agile methodology
  3. Obtain concept validation with large data samples
  4. Engage with existing and new customer segments
  5. Measure the ROI


Over a 3-month agile development process Shop Direct conducted five remote unmoderated usability studies collecting insightful qualitative and quantitative data across 680 participants (existing and new customers). The tasks were designed to simulate the checkout process on two competing HTML prototypes, which were hosted by UserZoom between iterations.

The tasks completed were adding specific items to the basket, selecting ways to pay for the goods from the options available, and proceeding through checkout.

With advanced validation of task success, strong effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction metrics supported by behavioral data they were able to identify significant usability issues and potential failure rates on both designs, leading to a final validated solution to be rolled out across all brands.


Throughout the project 54 usability issues were identified and resolved prior to release. Post rollout the uplift on the ‘ways to pay’ checkout page increased significantly leading to an annual ROI of £millions on customers paying for goods with a financial product.

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