"Digital technology will be the biggest driver of change in retail for the next five to 10 years," says Doug Murray, CEO of The Foschini Group (TFG). Among the group’s brands are clothing chains Foschini and Markham, sports retailer Totalsports, and homeware retailer @Home.

TFG has aimed to prioritise the adoption of technology and Murray says that two group directors are charged with keeping track of the latest technological developments and their application in areas relevant to the group.

Among these is the use of big data gleaned from sources such as loyalty programmes and shoppers’ in-store and online product-buying preferences.

"Our marketing is highly targeted to the preferences of individual customers," adds Murray. "Using data analytics to understand our customers and communicate with them in a meaningful way is a key element of our strategy." 

There are other challenges too, the magazine reports. Clicks, for example, is working to resolve the often lengthy queues at its in-store pharmacies. "They are the biggest source of complaints we have from customers," adds CEO David Kneale.

Turning to technology for a solution, Clicks has recently introduced a mobile app, which enables pharmacy staff to inform in-store customers when their medication is ready for collection.

Other articles in the latest edition of the magazine include an analysis of how artificial intelligence may impact the future of advertising and a look at breakthroughs in neuroscience that will benefit marketing and sales professionals.

The IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing is published by the IMM Graduate School and is available in print and digital formats.

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