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Ex-Argos digital product development boss joins Culture Trip

A key player in the growth of Argos’s digital proposition over the last few years, Melissa Dunn, has joined Culture Trip – an online travel company.

Dunn, who became head of digital product development at Argos in 2015, has taken on the vice president of product management at Culture Trip, which has offices in London, New York City and Tel Aviv.

Her tenure at Argos coincided with year-by-year growth in online sales at the general merchandise retailer, which was acquired by Sainsbury’s in 2016. Dunn led the user experience, user experience research and product management teams, helping develop the look, feel and functionality of the retailer's website.

In its 2019 annual report, Sainsbury's says Argos is the third most visited website in the UK, adding that around 60% of Argos sales started online in 2018-19 helping drive £3 billion-plus worth of sales during the year.

Prior to her time at Argos, Dunn held techy roles at Microsoft, Amazon and US retailer Sears.

And before officially starting at Culture Trip this week, Dunn was a panellist at eTail Europe in London on 18 June.

In a wide-ranging debate about use of technology in retail, she told delegates struggling to work out where to place their digital investments that it is not always advisable to pick “the thing that will get you the biggest bang for the ROI buck”. Instead, she said, it’s crucial to put the fundamental infrastructure in place first before deploying the ‘wow’ features.

“Sometimes you have to build something nobody sees before you can build all the things people do see,” she explained, suggesting that this process is often difficult to explain to non-digitally-minded c-suite representatives.

Her new employer is a content-heavy website, which utilises an extensive in-house creative and editorial team, and a global network of freelancers, to tell travel stories around the globe via articles, video, photography, and animation. The company says it attracts almost 20 million monthly unique users.

[Update on 25 09 19]: Dunn has resigned from the role.