Digital all in.

Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pure-play retailer, uses Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise to drive forward its mobile-first online department shops.

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After the merger of Littlewoods and Great Universal mail order businesses
Employees: 4,700
Head office: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Mobile-first design to match mobile demand



Transformation into a world-class digital retailer

Keep pace with fast-changing world of e-commerce with delivery of compelling creative quicker and more accurately than ever before

Develop great user experiences based on inspiring designs that guide the customer journey


Mobile-first design to match mobile demand

Share assets with teams around the world

Visualise the customer journey in real time

Flexible any time, anywhere work schedules

“We need creative technology that can keep pace with the challenges of online retailing. Adobe is the market leader and the partner we need.”

Derek Boyles

Head of Creative, Shop Direct

Becoming a digital leader

Shop Direct can trace its roots back more than 100 years, to the early days of mail order retailing in the United Kingdom. Today, with more customers choosing to shop on their mobiles, the company has left the paper mailings behind to become the second largest pure-play digital retailer in the United Kingdom. Its well-known brands, which include and, sell everything from clothing and toys to furniture and electronics through mobile-optimised digital channels.

By post order days, Shop Direct teams of more than 180 creatives produced massive 1,400-page catalogues twice a year. Today, the creative expectations have shifted to align to the fast-paced world of e-commerce. Rather than two large annual deadlines, the creative teams are expected to act quickly to market new products and provide customers with the latest deals and trends.

“Now that e-commerce is the mainstay of our business, our technology requirements have completely changed and the bespoke systems we created for catalogue production are obsolete,” says Derek Boyles, Head of Creative at Shop Direct. “As we transform our business, we need the best creative technology to meet our new challenges.”

More than 70% of all transactions on Shop Direct sites are performed on a mobile device, which reinforces the company’s mobile-first strategy while making it necessary for the company to expand on its use of Adobe software with Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise. Through Creative Cloud, Shop Direct gains access to a wide selection of digital-first and collaboration tools.

“Our ambition is to become a world-class digital retailer,” says Boyles. “We need creative technology that can keep pace with the challenges of online retailing. Adobe is the market leader and the partner we need.”

“Adobe XD will revolutionise the way we work by allowing user experience and creative teams to share, comment, build and test experiences in real time.”

Derek Boyles

Head of Creative, Shop Direct

Breaking down creative barriers

Adobe Creative Cloud includes familiar desktop apps that Shop Direct’s creative teams have used since the days of catalogues. In addition to using Adobe Photoshop for enhancing images, Adobe Illustrator for designing illustrations and graphics and Adobe InDesign for creating page designs and layouts, creative professionals now also have access to newer apps that encourage them to experiment and take designs further.

For example, rather than relying on paper-based mock ups to communicate ideas, designers can now use the Adobe Comp mobile app to quickly capture ideas and bring them into desktop workflows. Desktop apps such as Adobe Animate and Adobe XD help creative professionals create more fully functioning layouts and prototypes to easily share with key stakeholders.

Adobe XD will help traditional creatives and user experience designers to collaborate in designing, creating and prototyping digital journeys.

“Adobe XD will revolutionise the way we work by allowing user experience and creative teams to share, comment, build and test experiences in real time,” says Boyles. “When you’re dreaming of something new, you don’t want barriers. Adobe Creative Cloud gives our creative teams the freedom they need to create anything they can imagine, without being hampered by the tech.”

Collaborating across borders

Shop Direct offices and its partners are spread throughout the United Kingdom and the world. Previously, the creative team developed and distributed brand collateral and rules of application using internal servers, email and file transfer applications.

Using Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, teams can now instantly share the latest versions of logos, fonts, colours, product images and other assets with internal and external teams through central libraries. People know exactly where to find what they need, saving time that designers once spent distributing assets. It also helps eliminate the inconsistencies that can arise from someone unknowingly using the wrong version of an image or logo.

Shop Direct anticipates that creative professionals will be able to share their work faster and more efficiently than ever before. With multiple projects per month, this gives teams more time to focus on new campaigns and valuable site enhancements.

“We recognise that collaboration is going to be the heart of our new digital workflow,” says Boyles. “Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries allows us to share and collaborate with greater ease. As a result, our creative teams spend less time managing assets and more time contributing to the business through thoughtful design.”

Shopping any time, anywhere

Shop Direct’s transformation into a leading online retailer is also affecting when and where design teams work. People may want to create a new image and post it to social media after a key event. Adobe Creative Cloud gives creatives the flexibility to download apps and access their work from the road or at home.

“We need to be there all the time pushing out relevant stories that keep our customers engaged. That should be able to happen from anywhere, not just in the office,” says Boyles. “Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise helps us to take the barriers down so that we can be really flexible about the way that people work.”

Looking to the future

Delivering new, fresh creative that sells the diverse product lines under Shop Direct’s brands—from furniture to fashion—can be a challenge. Designers look forward to using Behance to expand creative reference and find new inspiration.

“Creative thinking sits at the heart of our transformation,” says Boyles. “To be world-class we’ve got to put design thinking at the very start of the journey. We need to think about every digital touchpoint and design an effective and exciting customer journey.”

New innovations in Creative Cloud have Shop Direct excited about what the future holds. The team can see the potential of using Adobe Fuse to influence the photography process so the team can position 3D characters wearing outfits. It is possibilities like this that keep Boyles and his team excited to come to work each day.

“To realise our ambitions, we need the best tools available,” says Boyles. “Adobe Creative Cloud is a game changer for us. We’ve found a strong partner in Adobe who will challenge us and help our company succeed in the age of e-commerce. It’s exciting for our creative teams to see how we can really play a part in transforming our business.”

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