JB HOMER Retained Executive Search, specializing in executive search for technology and operations talent in a global market

In interviewing the new breed of Retail/Digital CIOs, Jeff Hunt discovered a superlative passion to enable the customer to have a seamless shopping experience.

President, JB Homer Associates

Technology's Role In Creating an Emotional
Connection With Retail Customers

Due to the rise in consumer usage of digital technologies such as mobile and wearable devices, we're now in an age of unparalleled personalization and people are expecting this convenience in all facets of their lives including the retail shopping experience.

In order to provide an optimized end-to-end experience to its customers in a very competitive and frenetically-paced industry, retailers have become cognizant of the need to create an emotional connection to their brand(s) by leveraging both its digital channels and stores to deliver an integrated technology-driven personalized experience. Due to the CIO searches JB Homer is working on, I recently had the opportunity to speak with retail industry technology, digital and business leaders. These executives provided their insights into how they view technology as a key enabler in creating this emotional connection with its customers:

  • Today's rapidly changing retail environment is predicated on a customer-centric philosophy, and technology is now an integral part of supporting this through the development, delivery and execution of modern, innovative, highly efficient, scalable, nimble and agile technology solutions to enable a high-quality, customer interaction, experience and sales productivity.

  • Gone are the days of building and implementing customer-facing digital systems and tools through iterative and time-consuming Waterfall development.Today the technology solutions supporting Web/e-commerce, Mobile, Wearables, Analytics, and associated releases, are being launched through Agile development to allow systems to be rapidly spun up and down, and with planned obsolescence. The technology solutions also extend to Merchandising/Planning & Allocation, and Fulfillment systems because they are so tightly integrated with the digital/customer-facing ecosystem.

  • Our digital and social media lifestyle generates a wealth of data that is collected and harnessed by retailers through a variety of Analytics and BI tools. A CRM strategy and platform that effectively utilizes this data is vital because the data that flows into these systems helps the retailer develop a 360 degree view of the customer.
The CRM allows the retailer to understand customer shopping behaviors in order to build customer relationships and brand loyalty through personalized programs, integrated across all digital touch points. It also helps the retailer gain insights and develop strategies to leverage the interactions between the customer, stores, and sales associates.

For retailers it is no longer enough to provide the best brand product or service. Having a modern technology environment that facilitates customer engagement is a key driver in fostering strong emotional connections to the brand and to developing a loyal and long-term customer base. The goal-line for retailers is the delivery of a spectacular brand, and a seamless, customer shopping experience, bar none.
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