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Survey: Retail CIOs prepare for IT innovation

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Retail CIOs are preparing to take advantage of innovative technologies such as mobile, cloud and social, although they are less involved in efforts to leverage Big Data analytics. A new study of retail CIOs from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Forrester Consulting, “The Global Agenda of Retail CIOs,” retail CIOs plan to rapidly implement an array of mobile technologies, with context-aware tech (32%), mobile payments (28%), digital signage (24%), and mobile POS (22%) leading the way.

Perhaps with an eye toward further improving customer service and logistics, six out of ten (59%) retailers plan to invest in mobile-enabling their partners and vendors over the next three to five years. While 41% of retail CIOs currently use SaaS (software-as-service) for back-office functions such as supply chain and product life cycle management or ERP, more than half (52%) intend to do so in the next five years.

In addition, eight-out-of-10 (80%) retail CIOs leverage social media for sales and marketing, with customer service and recruitment the next most common functions. However, almost half (46%) of retailers plan to link social insights to R&D and product design during the next three to five years, unlocking customer-centric product designs.

Retail CIOs are less active in the area of Big Data. Almost seven-out-of-10 (68%) retail CIOs report that they collect data, but agree they are not maximizing its full value. Only 47% have invested in cross-channel analytics, and only a fourth (25%) of retailers have plans to invest in big data analytics to support customer service.

Acquiring the talent needed to support IT innovation is a challenge for retail CIOs. Almost seven-out-of-10 (67%) retailers surveyed consider attracting and retaining talent a critically important challenge during the next three-to-five years.

"Retail CIOs are uniquely positioned with an enterprise-wide perspective to overcome operational silos and become true change-agents, critical to future cross-channel customer engagements and business growth," said Pratik Pal, president of retail, CPG, travel, transportation and hospitality for TCS. "They are primed to expand their leadership role in the dynamic new world of retail by spearheading the digital and innovation agenda."

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Zappos Couture website gets makeover

BY CSA STAFF

Zappos Couture’s website has a new look thanks to new artistic director Andre Leon Talley. Talley and Zappos Couture created the imagery for the new editorial in New York City’s Industria Studios in December 2013.

Shot by fashion photographer Francesco Carrozzini, the visual content was inspired by a day in the life of a woman infused with vibrant colors. Talley styled models who posed on sets of ordinary, pedestrian situations, but in extraordinary, bold hues. Talley is international editor-at-large of Numero (Russia) and member of the Board of Trustees, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). The site will also include editorial content and a digital video series from Talley. Customers will be able to click through to buy products.

"We are excited to unveil the re-designed Zappos Couture, especially the new, original content," said Jennifer Sidary, head of couture at Zappos Couture. "Andre has done a magnificent job as artistic director in translating and editing what’s happening in fashion to provide our customer base with a fresh perspective."

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Brown Shoe Co. deploys Agilence reporting solution

BY Dan Berthiaume

St. Louis — Brown Shoe Company has selected Agilence Retail 20/20 as its exception reporting solution. The next-generation exception reporting solution will provide Brown Shoe Company with a platform for reporting on point-of-sale transactions, e-commerce, inventory adjustments, financials, and customer loyalty.

"We have a vision to combine all of our data into a central reporting application that will give us insight into day-to-day operations so that we can improve top line growth and minimize losses," said Jon Grander, VP of asset and revenue management, Brown Shoe Company. "With Agilence’s new Retail 20/20 application, we found a platform that is well positioned to help us achieve our goals."

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