1. As the CIO and EVP, what are some of your key roles and responsibilitiesthat you take while serving at Dollar General?
Every day, myfocus isleading our technology teams to serveour customers in our stores, distribution centers and through our digital channels. In my role, I am responsible for leading and guiding the DG IT team to modernize our information technology and continue onour transformation journey—all aimed at improving our customer experience. Dollar General is a high-growth retailer and it is critical that technology support and enable this growth in all aspects of our business.
Dollar General currently has more than 18,000 locations with a considerable footprint in rural America,and in somecommunities, we may be the only retailer.I’m proud to say the IT team is behind the scenes working to support each community on various technology levels. I always tell our team that if we really do our jobs well, we have the opportunity to positively impact millions of lives in America.
“Everything starts and ends with people and it is critical that your team knows what you stand for when it comes to their careers and the culture that starts from the top”
Additionally,our teams work hard to ensure every solution we bring to Dollar General is designed with our customers in mind.Weput ourselves in our customer’s shoes, focusing on digital capabilities like deal-finders to help our customers save money.
2. What are some of the challenges existing for the leaders looking to establish key digitalretail programs at their organizations?
In today's retail environment, technology leaders must be prepared to deal with nonstop curveballs. Increasing cyber security risks, changing climate conditions that impact severe weather events, and ever-changing conditions associated with the pandemic are just a few. With the speed of digital and innovation becoming increasingly competitive factors, it is imperative to modernize and embrace opportunities through technology while managing the risks. Doing all of this on top of complex ecosystems takes an amazing team, including strategic partners.
3. Maintaining a digital presence has become a minimum during the pandemic, as in-store shopping was largely put on hiatus. Businesses have a tremendous opportunity in this digital commerce landscape. While the cost of acquisition is high, retailers are able to mitigate much of that amount by investing in wholesale, retail and other omnichannel areas of focus. A dollar here saves hundreds down the line. What are the new trends which this changing security scenario is bringing about?
• The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that brick and mortar is anything but old.Customers value a quality shopping experience. The continued evolution of the store experience is a trend Dollar General knows well.
• While we did accelerate our deployment of buy online pick up in store and various other digital capabilities, our main intention was to optimize the store visit experience for our customers and to begin personalizing that as much as possible.
• Our teams have been learning as much as possible about the customer through multiple channels. We consolidate and triangulate data to better understand her needs including product assortment optimization, discount and promotion personalization to save her more money, and many other use cases to improve how we serve her.
4. What would be your piece of advice for your fellow peers and leaders?
Everything starts and ends with people and it is critical that your team knows what you stand for when it comes to their careers and the culture that starts from the top. Actions, and not just talk, must follow. By taking the initiative, by being curious and by raising your hand to take on a new challenge or learn a new skill, you’ll be so much further ahead, and will find answers and inspiration along the way. People who are curious, who focus on the people around them, the people they serve, are the ones who will go far.