Retail has undergone a tremendous transformation in the recent years. The industry has also seen a rise in women leading technological innovation in the digital era. Recently, RWRC published their Tech 100 index that celebrated women shaping a tech-led world of retail. The list included stalwart women like Tisha Livingston, the Chief Executive of US brand Infinite Acres, famous for turning vertical farming into a reality.
Setting new records in the business world, 41 female CEOs are now going to be leading Fortune 500 companies. According to McKinsey’s recent report, the number of women in C-suite professional grew from 17% to 21% from January 2015 to January 2020. In the context of the retail world, the annual Crist|Kolder report states that the industry has the largest number of female board members at 32.8%.
Women have played quintessential roles in many industries, and with their leadership in the retail industry, the sector has a huge potential of witnessing immense growth.
Digitisation in retail and skill sets of women retailers
Digital transformation in retail has been evolving for a long time. Retail businesses with a digital presence are thriving in the current marketspace and are ahead of the curve. Women leaders in retail are data-savvy and are embracing technology-led business transformation. According to a reportby KPMG, 69% of global female leaders stated that their company did not financially suffer from investing in the wrong technology. The report also highlights that 77% of the global female leaders believe that technological disruption is an opportunity rather than a threat and 72% already acknowledge significant transformation process within their industry.
Furthermore, the report outlines that when asked about technologies, 48% of the female leaders feel they are comfortable with topics such as AI and blockchain. . Lorraine Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, in an interview with CNBC, shared her thoughts on female leadership in retail, saying, “There will continue to be an acceleration of women into these top leadership roles and as it relates to retail, I think we potentially may see even more of it in that there is so much transformation happening in retail right now.”
Unlocking technology, one woman at a time
Now that we have delved into the world of women leader-led retail world, let us take a look at some of these noteworthy women who are helming technological disruption in the industry.
Trina Gladwell, DVP, Merchandise Process, Bealls
With 40 years of retail expertise, Gladwell serves as the DVP of merchandise process at the American retail corporation - Bealls. Utilising the SAS technology, Bealls has worked on automated planning and allocation, along with working towards 95% automation in its allocation function. “Automation has been the predominate technology that has helped Bealls drive sales and efficiencies,” says Gladwell in an interview. Before her role at Bealls, Trina worked for Stage Stores for 24 years, where she was responsible for store management, buyer, and was VP of planning and allocation. With years of knowledge and leadership qualities under her belt, she plans to make automation an absolute necessity for Bealls.
Angela Hsu, Senior VP of Marketing and eComm, Lamps Plus
When Angela joined Lamps Plus in 2003, the manufacturing company had just forayed into e-commerce. Over the years, Hsu has become a prominent figure in the expansion of their e-commerce vertical from scratch. “Over the past decade, we have progressed from personalized product recommendations to personalized site content and layout based on browsing behaviour, historical purchase, device type, geo location, referring URLs, and weather”, Hsu says in an interview with RIS news. In one of her most recent success, her team deployed a Customer Data Platform (CDP), achieving to create a single unified view of the retailer’s customers.
Eileen Mahoney, CIO, PVH
Mahoney is leveraging technological transformation to bring a change in the fashion merchandise lifecycle. She is overseeing PVH’s North America, South America and Asia’s Information Technology areas, as well as their Global Network and Infrastructure. With years of retail expertise, she has actively helped develop a roadmap for the company using 3-D design for product creation and digital assortment planning.
Women leaders in retail are leading the digital age
While retail has a long way to go, when it comes to gender diversity, it can be said with a positive affirmation that some women retailers who are fostering a culture of technology and innovation are beginning to make a long-lasting difference. Female leaders in the retail universe are bringing about an optimistic change with their professional and interpersonal skills, making them succeed in the digital landscape.We, at Intellect Commerce, encourage women leaders actively and promote a culture of fair employee participation. To foster equal performance metrics in your retail business, try iRetail suite of services, and empower women to climb the corporate ladder and change the retail landscape.