Britain’s oldest continuous clothing manufacturer, John Smedley, becomes big data pioneer


One of the world’s oldest clothing manufacturers, John Smedley, is using state-of-the-art e-commerce intelligence software to improve its online store – making changes that have so far seen the number of products added to basket rise by 11%.

Providing a superior customer experience has been key to John Smedley’s ( success since the company was founded in 1784. Now, the luxury knitwear brand, which continues to manufacturer clothes from its original mill in Matlock, Derbyshire – the oldest industrial mill in the world – is taking a data-driven approach to improving customer experience online, using ecommerce intelligence platform Ometria (

Analysing data from hundreds of thousands of website visits, the Ometria platform revealed issues in the buying journey that were causing visitors to leave the site without purchasing. And by addressing these issues, John Smedley witnessed an 11% increase in add-to-basket conversions.

Bruce Slater, e-ccommerce manager at John Smedley, said: “Historically speaking – and John Smedley has a lot of history – we’ve been very good at driving forward our global e-commerce operation, achieving consistently high growth year on year. We have excellent customer loyalty online, and customer acquisition is equally as strong.

“However, we realised there was a great opportunity for revenue growth if we increased our conversion rate online – key to which was site usability.”

For example, the Ometria platform revealed that when compared to the website average, a significant number of visitors from a specific segment were viewing product pages, but not adding those products to the basket. Further inspection revealed a specific usability issue at product-page level that the team was quickly able to resolve.

Slater said: “Ometria’s platform has empowered us to take action to improve our conversion rates online. With access to this data we were quickly able identify general usability issues for all traffic, as well as those for a specific customer segment, such as those from a certain country or using a particular type of device.”

Ometria’s intuitive web-based dashboard enables online retailers to use their customer, product, order and on-site interaction data to better understand customer lifetime value, the profitability of marketing channels, and the performance of their product mix.

Retailers can delve deep in to the stories of individual customer engagement over time or create holistic views of thousands of customers, split into segments such as ‘hero’ customers, or customers interested in a particular type of product.

To date, Ometria has raised funding of $2m, and has attracted the support of some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors in the ecommerce, retail, technology and SaaS spaces.

Ivan Mazour, CEO at Ometria, said: “This particular project has been truly unique – it has enabled us to combine the cutting-edge experience of Ometria’s team of data scientists and software engineers with the centuries of experience that John Smedley has in retail. Few brands have proven such an ability to stay ahead of the curve, and we’re proud that John Smedley has chosen Ometria to continue this trend.”