Mastering the Art of Omnichannel Transformation, and Understanding its Business Impact

Produced by


Katia Berlin

VP Strategy & Business Transformation, APP Group (Mackage / Soia & Kyo)

Sonal Gandhi

Chief Content Officer
The Lead

Ron Ijack

SVP, Head of Information Technology

James Reid


In the fast-paced realm of retail, the journey towards omnichannel transformation is fraught with challenges, yet it's essential for brands aiming to create seamless shopping experiences. In this session titled "Mastering the Art of Omnichannel Transformation," industry leaders from AllSaints, Roots, and APP Group (Mackage / Soia & Kyo) gathered to share their insights, facilitated by Sonal Gandhi, Chief Content Officer at The Lead. This gathering of minds explored how technology underpins the shift towards unified retail operations, aiming for profitability, high-performing store associates, and cultivating loyal super fans.

James Reid, CIO of AllSaints, emphasized the importance of accessibility, detailing their global operation that spans 200 stores and various online platforms. AllSaints’ approach to omnichannel retail involves a robust online presence, including dropshipping and marketplace operations. Reid highlighted the challenges of maintaining profitability while increasing customer accessibility, describing how the pandemic necessitated a swift pivot to fulfill online orders directly from store inventories. This strategy, while challenging, underscored the necessity of agile and integrated retail operations to meet evolving customer expectations.

Ron Ijack, SVP, Head of Information Technology at Roots, presented a case for digital-first transformation rooted in a rich understanding of customer expectations. With 140 stores in North America and significant international presence, Roots has embraced omnichannel capabilities like BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) to meet customer demands. Ijack's narrative stressed the accelerated push towards omnichannel strategies during the pandemic, where the brand sought to enhance the user experience through technology like line busting, highlighting the journey from conceptualization to implementation.

Play Video

Katia Berlin, VP Strategy & Business Transformation at APP Group, shared insights from the luxury outerwear perspective, focusing on the seamless delivery of high-end products to customers, regardless of the channel. Berlin’s account of joining the company at the onset of COVID-19 painted a vivid picture of the challenges in overhauling technology platforms amidst global uncertainty. She underscored the critical role of an Order Management System (OMS) in realizing omnichannel ambitions, making inventory accessible across channels to satisfy customer demand while navigating the logistical complexities of international retail.

A recurring theme in their narratives was the selection of technology partners. The speakers agreed on the importance of modern, open-architecture solutions that allow for flexible, tailored implementations. This partnership approach extends beyond mere transactions, requiring mutual investment in success and a deep understanding of the retail brand’s evolving needs.

Addressing the challenges, James Reid pointed out the difficulty in maintaining profitability amidst increased accessibility. He detailed AllSaints’ strategy to efficiently manage inventory and fulfill orders without compromising the customer experience. Similarly, Ron Ijack and Katia Berlin emphasized the importance of data-driven decision-making and the integration of technology platforms to streamline operations and enhance customer service.

Looking to the future, the panelists highlighted the critical role of data in understanding and segmenting customer behavior, aiming for personalized marketing strategies and improved service. The aspiration for a seamless integration of online and in-store data to optimize inventory planning and enhance the customer journey reflects a collective vision for the next phase of omnichannel retail.

This session illuminated the complex landscape of omnichannel transformation, showcasing how brands like AllSaints, Roots, and APP Group navigate the interplay between technology, customer expectations, and operational challenges. Their stories serve as beacons for other retailers embarking on similar journeys, offering valuable lessons on the importance of flexibility, strategic partnerships, and a relentless focus on the customer experience.

APRIL 2024