In Conversation with a Digital Customer Experience Intern at Shop Direct

Written by: on January 30, 2019
Tags: Day in the life of, Inspiration, Interviews, Role Model, Women in Tech

Shop Direct is the second largest pure-play online retailer in the UK and their HQ is just on our doorstep in Merseyside. Their online retail brands include household names like Littlewoods and Very.

Lucie at Shop Direct

We wanted to find out what it’s like to work for this online retail provider, so we spoke to Lucie Farrington who is currently on a year-long placement at Shop Direct.

What are you reading now?

Currently, I am reading Creative Confidence by David & Tom Kelly. Taking quite a corporate perspective, the basic theme of the book is that creativity and being artistic isn’t the same. Creativity is a skill that can be learned. I chose this book to encourage me to consistently think creatively to utilise the muscle memory. The authors deem creative thinking as a ‘muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets’.

What do you do in your role at Shop Direct?

I am a Digital Customer Experience Intern on a year-long placement. I will return to Liverpool John Moores University in September to complete my final year. For the first six months, I was on a rotating role; spending time with each discipline within the Customer Experience and Digital Product department. I have worked on different projects, to give me a rounded experience of the roles within each function. I have run my own usability tests in the UX lab, independently produced projects from research, from design to development and have presented my ideas to many different teams and levels.

Lucie and team at Retail Tech Week

After spending time with all disciplines within CEDP, I have chosen to focus on UX Research and Design for the rest of my placement. UX (user experience) focuses on the customers wants and needs, whilst also dealing with stakeholder in the business, to provide a fluid customer journey. The research aspect can take place in many forms such as usability tests, A/B tests and guerrilla testing. The aim of this research is to thoroughly understand the customers’ thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes and to feed this back to the team to illuminate how we can use tech as a company to improve the user experience. The design work is to meet the customer needs that the research highlights, whilst also considering the needs of the business.

What I love about this is that technology is used to nurture the relationship between the brand and user, to help us as a company be more intuitive with the customer and give a more personalised experience. The aim of this is to increase brand confidence and cement the user into brand longevity. Designing and implementing the UX as a unique and innovative process is something that challenges every day because of the rate in which technology moves forward.  

Have you always been interested in working in tech/digital?

Working within the tech/digital field is a fairly recent passion of mine. I think this is because prior to my placement I did not have the level of understanding of what career opportunities were available in tech/digital. At a younger age, I presumed tech roles were just engineering and that wasn’t something that had piqued my interest. It wasn’t until studying Marketing at University that I was made aware of the wide range of roles there are available within this industry.

UX Away Day

UX Labs are rare and working within such a forward-thinking company has enabled me to look at the ways in which tech affects the customer experience. It has also helped me to apply academic theory, to look at and evaluate how tech can be developed in the future for the benefit of UX to increase brand trust. It really is fascinating!

What’s your favourite thing about being an intern at Shop Direct?

My favourite thing about working at Shop Direct has been the rotating nature of the role within CEDP. This has given me a really strong grounding in the company as it has enabled me to meet and experience many different technological elements. It is really inspiring being surrounded by people truly passionate about what they do, constantly motivating me to be proactive, ask questions and learn more every day. My colleagues are striving for the company to be seen as forward-thinking and as a market innovator, meaning no day is the same, as we adapt to the ever-changing tech world.

Do you have any role models in the digital and tech sector that you look up to?

My role model in the digital and tech sector is my manager, Kate Rylance. She inspires me to be a proactive thinker and has made me feel that I can achieve anything I put my mind to by applying this approach. She has the customer at heart, consistently going the extra mile to ensure that their needs are fully understood and met. She has inspired me to have a voice and to trust my instincts. As well as introducing me to many forward-thinking groups, including InnovateHer, that have empowered me to aspire to be the best I can be.  

Lucie on UX Away Day

I hope that one day, I can be as successful and happy in my career as she is, showing true passion for what I do. After all, the old adage states if you love your job, you’ll never do a days work in your life.

What advice would you give to young girls who want to pursue a career in tech/ digital?

I would say do it! I would look into the vast amount of jobs available within this sector and try to keep up with reading about market trends. I would also say don’t expect to know everything straight away, the nature of this sector is ever-changing and there is always stuff to learn. Don’t let uncertainty put you off. This sector needs strong, forward-thinking women to evolve and learn with the research and to challenge the urban myth stereotype of a ‘techy’. Being proactive is vital. Contact people within the industry, put yourself forward, go for it!

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