by Stephanie McDonald

CatchOfTheDay lets its customers lead technology changes

Apr 20, 20124 mins
Technology Industry

When you’re operating in an online retail environment that gets bombarded by customers at the same time every day, efficient technology underpins a business’ success.

With a background as an Australian information lawyer and computer forensics expert, chief information officer, Seamus Byrne, joined CatchOfTheDay in September last year and has been responsible for growing the company’s IT team and technology resources.

“In terms of the company and the stage that it’s at, the company has been on a very significant growth trajectory for a period of time,” he told CIO Australia.

In order to maintain this growth, Byrne said CatchOfTheDay’s IT strategy is to deliver what customers want and expect.

“Most recently, this month [we] introduced a new customer service platform for CatchOfTheDay and GroceryRun. That’s been well received and it’s delivered some real good insights into our customer service issues so that we’ve been able to identify issues before they become an issue,” he said.

Byrne said CatchOfTheDay has also implemented other customer service changes and improvements. For example, in March this year it released its first mobile application with an incentive of a 5 per cent saving for using the app to make purchases.

While the exclusivity of the iPhone-only app caused some angry responses from disgruntled non-iPhone customers on the company’s Facebook page, Byrne said the app was developed only for iPhones because it made sense from a commercial perspective.

“We were able to see that a large amount of our customers were accessing the CatchOfTheDay website from an iPhone or an iPad — a significant proportion compared with Android and other smartphone operating system users and that made the choice, in terms of priorities, to deliver an app for the iOS,” he said.

Byrne said the company has plans to release an Android app, but would not divulge when it might be released. Instead, he said the focus was on developing a mobile app for GroceryRun and was exploring its options as to whether the app would also only be for iPhones.

The release of the company’s mobile app appears to be a relative latecomer to the mobile app game in terms of group buying websites, with LivingSocial and Groupon already releasing apps. However, Byrne said CatchOfTheDay’s sister site, Scoopon, was one of the first with a mobile app in September 2010.

“In terms of CatchOfTheDay, we want to make sure that the experience, in terms of the ability to buy and interact with Catch on a mobile app was a superior experience, and that took time,” he said.

The challenges ahead for CatchOfTheDay include those facing any Australian business — finding the right resources, according to Byrne.

“You’re only as strong as the weakest link in your team and whether that comes down to the people, the hardware, the software [or] the services, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. The biggest challenge for us is making sure all of our links are strong,” he said.

Yesterday, CatchOfTheDay announced it had acquired a majority shareholding in daily wine site Vinomofo in order to get a foot in the door to the online wine, beer and spirits market.

“We wanted to shake up the wine category with something fresh and exciting and were very impressed with Vinomofo’s take on the space, with a daily deal site that brings together expert recommendations and carefully curated wine deals at amazing prices,” said Gabby Leibovich, co-founder of the CatchOfTheDay, in a statement.

The investment gives Vinomofo access to over two million CatchOfTheDay subscribers.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @steph_idg