AS PART OF ITS FIVE-YEAR transformation plan, Marks & Spencer has announced a new Technology Transformation Programme that will enable it to become a digital-first business and deliver an improvement in customer experience. It is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial technology function that will work with the business to deliver growth. The move comes after the retailer set out its transformation programme in November 2017 which sees it concentrating on Restoring the Basics, Shaping the Future and Making M&S Special.
Following an extensive review of M&S’s technology capabilities, the company says that changes are being made to deliver technology that brings real value, at pace, to its business and customers. These changes include: The creation of a new Technology Operating Model, which will drive significant efficiencies in how M&S exploits new technology, including the adoption of industry agile methods, effective from 1 March 2018; The appointment of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – one of the world’s leading technology companies – as M&S’s principal technology partner; A simplification and consolidation of M&S’s technology supplier base. Core supplier services will transfer directly to TCS and the day-to-day relationship and project management of specialist suppliers will move under the control of TCS.
The Technology Transformation Programme will deliver annual efficiencies of c.£30m by 2021/22 and drive clearer accountabilities and a more customer centric approach to technology services. There is a one-off cost to implement of c. £25 million. Steve Rowe, M&S CEO said: “We are committed to transforming M&S for our colleagues, customers and shareholders by delivering digital-first retailing across our stores and offices. Technology plays a huge role in this transformation – and having the right partners and model will enable us to be more agile, flexible and responsive.”
MEN LIKE SHOPPING. That is now an actual thing. Thanks to the web and, in particular the smartphone, retailers have seen men spend more on clothes, shoes and grooming than women each month.
According to research by Barclaycard, smartphones and m-retailing are the key, with 69% of retailers agreeing that men prefer shopping on their smartphones, compared to women. Debunking the myth that women are the biggest spenders, retailers say they have seen an increase in male shoppers both in-store (59%) and online (69%) in the past five years, and have expanded their male product offering as a result. While the majority (57%) of retailers sell their products to both men and women, over a quarter (26%) now cater to a largely or entirely male market, compared to just 17% that target a largely or entirely female market.
With nearly half of British men (48%) saying they prefer to shop online to snap up the latest trends, it’s no surprise that the most commonly deployed tactic from retailers is online and social media advertising (37%). George Allardice, Head of Strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions explains: “It’s clear from our research that while men do want to shop they are put off by the overall experience – which could be causing retailers to miss out on vital sales.” He says that long queues to pay put men off shopping.
VODAFONE HAS OPENED UP its Internet of Things network to consumers, in a move that will allow them to connect items from their cars to their briefcases and their pets to the internet.
The mobile operator says its V by Vodafone network is the largest of its kind in the world and provides a way for consumers to manage both Internet of Things-capable devices and to connect non-Internet of Things devices through Vodafone products including a connected car dongle, a 4G security camera, a pet location and activity tracker and a bag location tracker.
IoT devices can be connected to the network by a V-Sim device that it ships as standard with its own IoT enabled electronics products, and which will be available by third-party retailers in 2018. Customers can also monitor their IoT enabled products via a V by Vodafone smartphone app, scanning a QR code on their product packaging to register them and adding the monthly fee to their existing Vodafone mobile account.
Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said: “The Internet of Things is already beginning to transform how businesses operate. Over the next decade, the expansion of IoT into consumer markets will bring about an equally dramatic shift in how people manage their daily lives, at home and in their leisure time. V by Vodafone makes it simple to connect a wide range of IoT-enabled devices, helping customers keep everyone and everything that matters to them safe and secure. We look forward to applying our world-leading expertise in IoT to help consumers make the most of the next phase of the global digital revolution.”