retail summitWhile it is a blast to be in sunny South Beach at any time of year, this week it is particularly fun to share this venue with so many, smart, capable women leaders in retail at Retail Online Magazine’s Women in Retail Leadership Summit.

This morning, we heard from Heather Thomson, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Yummie by Heather Thomson.  She talked about her career and a particularly important turning point in her career where she really found her voice as a retail leader.  At the time, she was working with the Sean Jean brand and it was P. Diddy himself who helped Heather to find her voice and as he called it, “her inner gangsta.”

Clearly a demanding and challenging customer, the lessons learned in the Sean Jean engagement gave Heather the confidence to go forward and stand up for many ideas, projects and people in the years thereafter.

It made me think about the notion of advocacy and standing up for what you believe in.  In retail ecommerce these days, we hear a lot about putting the customer at the center of everything you do.  If that is truly the case, then all of the IT investments and technology projects that are on the docket should tie back, in some way, to the notion of customer centricity.  As such, it is incumbent on those with the title of CMO or head of Customer Experience to lead the charge and advocate for the projects that truly deliver an improved customer experience.

Does your investment improve trust between you and your customer?  Does it improve their onsite or customer service experience?  Does it help them to interact with, find, try and purchase your product or service?  If it does, it’s your job (and ours too as technology suppliers) to make sure you advocate and prioritize those investments over others.  Standing up for these projects now, will translate into measurable results tomorrow.