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People essential to successful digital journey

Leaders of retailers face a bleak future unless they accept the idea that digital will account for a significant proportion of their future revenues and that they therefore have to adapt their businesses, and re-structure their employees capabilities, around this new thinking. By Glynn Davis in Madrid

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

People essential to successful digital journey

Leaders of retailers face a bleak future unless they accept the idea that digital will account for a significant proportion of their future revenues and that they therefore have to adapt their businesses, and re-structure their employees capabilities, around this new thinking. By Glynn Davis in Madrid

This was the warning given by Manel Jadraque, former CEO of fashion chain Desigual, when speaking to delegates at The Everywhere Store Conference, hosted by Tlantic in Spain: "We're now going through a revolution with retail becoming 50% physical and 50% digital in the future. Retailers need to have their heads and mindsets on this concept and think through this."

He stated that as little as 5% of CEO's time is currently dedicated to this and that it is no surprise therefore that many merchants are stuck with their online revenues at merely 5% of their total sales.

"There needs to be a rethink of whole organisations, which involves breaking down the silos," says Jadraque, adding that there also needs to be a building of teams that have skills across the channels because at present he suggests only 10% of companies have so far made the decision to do this cross-channel talent creation.

Recognising that people - both employees and customers - are an essential component in the way retailers successfully make the journey to become more digitally-focused is vitally important, according to Paulo Magalhaes, CEO of Tlantic, who says much of the hype around the 1990s was around technology and not people.

"Technology was seen as being the business and lots was invested in it. But technology is not the business [it's people]. Retailers need to recognise that the business model is changing and that customers need to be connected to this," he says.

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