Postcode News: The Summer of Sport
This summer we are surrounded with sporting spectacles that will be watched the world over. In July alone, sports fans will be treated to the FIFA World Cup Final, Wimbledon, Tour de France and the British Grand Prix.
As the sports industry is showcased, people all over the world will be wanting to wear the same clothing as their heroes and many will look to one of our customers - Pro:Direct Sport.
We tell the story of their growth from a single sports shop to becoming the UK’s leading supplier of high-end sportswear online, and how AFD solutions have helped them deliver excellent customer service.
In April’s edition of Postcode News (PN91) we told the AFD story – from an attic in Scotland 35 years ago to becoming the UK’s market leader in personal data validation solutions.
All of your organisations have their own stories of growth and we are proud to have assisted on that journey by helping you get your customers’ data right.
When talking to Pro:Direct Sport, we found all sorts of parallels in their story of becoming the world's largest online multi-sport specialist.
Managing the world’s largest online Football, Tennis, Rugby and Cricket stores comes with its own set of unique challenges. We caught up with Nick Marlow - Project Manager of Platform Operations at Pro:Direct Sport - to find out more.
From Humble Beginnings
“Starting life as a sportswear goods store in Torquay in 1981, Torre Sports served customers in the local area for 17 years before re-branding as Pro:Direct Sport. Fully embracing the dot-com boom, the online business was launched in 1999 - and has since become a household name and the go-to place for many sports enthusiasts.”
Aiming specifically at the exclusive sportswear market, Pro:Direct Sport now hold the largest market share in the UK for this sector. Through a mixture of exclusive products, the latest available technologies, brand positioning and excellent customer service - the company has been able to achieve their growth objectives.
Keeping up with the ever-changing trends online as well as customer preferences takes a lot of work, planning and system flexibility. Nick continues “We use email extensively when communicating with our customers – and we are careful to tailor our messages appropriately to the customer’s gender and sport interest – as well as taking account of their brand and range preferences.
Communication is not just limited to emails and visitors to the site. We have channels on all the popular social media platforms to help us engage with as wide an audience as possible.
Interviews with sports stars, ‘unboxing’ exclusive products and training tips are just a few of the 1000+ videos on our YouTube channel that has over 50,000 subscribers.”
Accurate, Flexible, Managed
Having exclusive products and the largest range of sports apparel online is a key factor in customers choosing Pro:Direct Sport; another highly important factor of course is making sure the orders get to the customers - this relies on contact data being correct.
"We had the option for an installed or hosted solution and went down the hosted route to ensure our customers can still place orders in the event of our own systems failure. It gives us one less thing to maintain and worry about."
For the past 14 years, AFD Software has provided Pro:Direct Sport with address lookup functionality for the UK and for the past 8 years for International addresses too.
Nick goes on to say “AFD’s solution was initially used as a desktop service for telephone orders. As the focus switched to online so did our requirement from AFD. Postcode Plus and WorldAddress are both deployed on the website to ensure speed and accuracy during the customer’s buying journey, regardless of where they need the product delivered.
Our customers expect the data entry process of ordering goods to be seamless, easy and error-free. Only allowing correct addresses to be entered eliminates lost orders and ensures customer satisfaction – essential to our business.
During a planned upgrade from our legacy Enterprise Relationship Planning (ERP) system, we had to be confident services would be uninterrupted during the changeover. Ensuring our customers would continue to be served with excellence was a key requirement - and AFD delivered.”
Both the UK and International address validation are deployed as managed services. Nick explains “It gives us one less thing to maintain and worry about. We had the option for an installed or hosted solution and went down the hosted route to ensure our customers can still place orders in the event of our own systems failure.”
Pro:Direct Sport facilitates a customer experience that is quick, accurate and hassle-free. Through flexible deployments and changing requirements they have been supported by both UK and International address validation provided by AFD Software.
Call Joel Miller on 01624 811 709 or email email@example.com to learn more about AFD’s range of data validation solutions and how we can ensure they will benefit your organisation today.
Pro:Direct Academy is an initiative set up for aspiring football players aged between 2 and 18. At various locations the academy prepares its players for their future, whether that be playing professionally or being involved in the sport in another capacity. This is done through a mixture of coaching, University visits, playing full-time, part-time employment and work placements in multiple industries.
AFD Software: GDPR Approved
Just over a month has passed since the General Data Protection Regulation became law around Europe. I’m sure you have received enough emails containing the subjects; “GDPR” “opt-in” and “subscribe” to last a lifetime! Many of these coming from organisations you had never previously heard of or remember giving any details to.
At AFD, we took the approach to work on our data validation solutions behind the scenes, ensuring that they and all their users were compliant with the new law. We felt this approach would have real value and effectiveness without needing to bombard all our customers with yet more GDPR emails. If we’ve achieved our objective – and thanks to some hard work over the past couple of years – you’ll hardly have noticed the significant changes we’ve had to make!
Perhaps the most significant part of this process was to change the data update process for our Names & Numbers product by providing free weekly suppressions to deal with data subjects who wish to opt out of our data streams. Under the new regulations, any individual who chooses to exercise their right to have their personal data removed (suppressed from data) must have their request met within a one-month timeframe. Your latest Names & Numbers update will have taken care of this obligation on our products – and on you as a data processor - and has been done behind the scenes, at no additional charge.
As always, if you would like friendly advice from a real human being with a name – and the knowledge and skill to help you - do get in touch with me, Oliver Lenihan, Head of Customer Services by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01624 811711.
Stephen Dorricott - Technical Infrastructure Team Leader
Looking at the surname gives you the clue that it’s fair to say Stephen has grown up with AFD Software. Having spent the vast majority of his 20 years’ official employment at AFD working in technical roles, Stephen is now the Technical Infrastructure Team Leader, looking after and supporting the considerable technical infrastructure at AFD’s headquarters at Mountain View Innovation Centre on the Isle of Man, as well as the technical kit at AFD offices in the UK.
To relax, Stephen enjoys both playing and watching football (there has been plenty to watch this summer!) and supports Liverpool Football Club, taking his daughter “Across” (as they say on the Isle of Man when visiting GB) to games each year. Continuing the hobby front he also enjoys watching Formula 1, Scottish Rugby Union and taking part in local race walking events. As an active member of Ramsey Baptist Church, and putting his technical talents to good use, Stephen is involved in the Sound Desk team, regularly helping to set up the Public-Address equipment and ensuring that the Word can be heard!
Holidays have been enjoyed in various places but none as significant as Le Pas Opton (“LPO”), a holiday park in western France. This is a site run by Spring Harvest Holidays (www.springharvestholidays.com), an associate company of AFD Software’s parent company ZipAddress Ltd. It’s a special place for Stephen, as it is where he met his wife Rachel, with whom he has just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Stephen and Rachel have holidayed at LPO a few times since they first met there in 2006, and he and Rachel regularly meet up with friends they made at LPO. Here’s to friends and family!
Data News - Q. 3/18
Between April and June 2018 there were significant updates to data on the Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF). These included 21 new localities; 6,898 new postcodes; 108,225 new delivery points and 29,687 delivery point changes.
|Postcode||Double Dependant Locality||Dependant Locality||Post Town|
|AB21 7||PARKHILL CROSSROADS||NEWMACHAR||ABERDEEN|
|BH21 4||WIMBORNE MINSTER||WIMBORNE|
|CA6 4||CARLISLE LAKE DISTRICT AIRPORT||CARLISLE|
|CO15 4||OAKWOOD BUSINESS PARK||CLACTON-ON-SEA|
|EH54 7||KIRKTON CAMPUS||LIVINGSTON|
|KA11 4||NORTH NEWMOOR||IRVINE|
|NE1 3||STEPHENSON QUARTER||NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE|
|NE23 8||THE FAIRWAYS||CRAMLINGTON|
|NE24 5||HUTTON PARK||BLYTH|
|NE29 6||SMITHS DOCK||NORTH SHIELDS|
|NE4 5||NEWCASTLE HELIX||NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE|
|NE63 0||ESSENDENE RISE||NORTH SEATON||ASHINGTON|
|SP10 5||WALWORTH BUSINESS PARK||ANDOVER|
|UB7 8||YIEWSLEY||WEST DRAYTON|
|UB7 9||YIEWSLEY||WEST DRAYTON|
|ZE2 9||AITHSETTER||CUNNINGSBURGH SHETLAND|
The most up-to-date PAF data is available now in our latest Q.3/18 update. You can order updates for any AFD Software solution by calling 01624 811711 or email (mailto:email@example.com)