Guest Column | September 8, 2014

Rethinking Retail IT: Three Ways Retailers Can Strike A Balance Between Marketing And IT

Robin Copland, Vice President of Retail, Americas, ThoughtWorks Retail

By Robin Copland, Vice President of Retail, Americas, ThoughtWorks Retail

The retail landscape has evolved dramatically in the last 20 years – and what an understatement that is. We have seen the transition from a singular brick-and-mortar outlet, to an arsenal of consumer channels that has shifted the power from store owner to shopper. It’s all about the customer’s omnichannel experience, and retail organizations are realizing that all efforts, marketing and IT, should revolve around delivering on customer touch points that provide the most engaging and rewarding shopping experiences. This means that the two-way neighborhood street between marketing and IT must look more like a high-speed freeway - it’s full speed ahead for retail IT. C-suite executives must realize that marketing and IT are the drivers of success in responding to constantly changing customer expectations, and the two departments must be in sync to develop best-in-class digital solutions that answer those needs, and answer them now.

These vital concepts to success in retailing concentrate heavily on the need for speed. CMOs and their teams work closely with IT to create the products and experiences customers want, but conflicting budgets, bandwidth and skill sets make for a rocky road ahead for timely digital innovation. So what’s the answer? CMOs and CIOs must join forces and if necessary bring on expert outside resources to fuel a marketing tech powerhouse that can analyze customer demands, build relevant solutions with speed, and deliver it on the right channels at the right time.

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