“Gone are the days when retailers have an hour, 30 minutes or 30 seconds to win a customer,” said Andy Wolfe, CIO at Shop Direct. “We talk about a three second time period before they swipe past you and do something else.”

Five years ago, 9% of Shop Direct sales came from mobile devices, that figure now stands at 68%, which Wolfe said has been a huge opportunity for the retailer, but it has had to think very differently about small screen media to keep customers’ attention.

Speaking at the Forrester Digital Transformation conference in London, he said: “How are you presenting your offers on a small screen device. How do we create those thumb stopping experiences?”

He believes the answer lies in understanding the customer and presenting them with exactly what they want to catch their interest in that small time period.

“We hold a huge amount of data about our customers. And we can use Facebook and Instagram and use that data to tailor those customer experiences to make them much more personal and more relevant.”

Wolfe said if a sportswear customer is one of the 1.2 million daily visitors to Shop Direct, the retailer will know that customer likes Nike and red it will present red Nike products on the gallery when the customer lands on the homepage.

He added: “It’s not just about creating that gallery, you have to really understand your customers and it's not just about data.”

Wolfe said Shop Direct has also invested significantly in user experience (UX), with the first purpose-built UX lab in the UK. This dedicated area is used to test the website with real humans – around 100 a month – who are analysed using eye-scanning technology and other innovations to understand which parts of the website are working better than others.

“We use those tests to enhance the customer experience all the time,” he said. “It’s a really important part which is driving our success today.”