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Three of the largest UK retailers made significant data plays in 2020 by appointing new directors either specifically to manage data strategy or who have data management as a key part of their job spec.

Tom Betts arrived from the Financial Times to take on the newly created group data director role at B&Q parent Kingfisher, while Currys-PC World owner Dixons Carphone appointed Mark Allsop as chief operating officer with responsibility for data. In September, Steve Pimblett became chief data officer (CDO) at The Very Group.

They aren’t the first to create such data-specific leadership roles, or indeed the only organisation to do so this year. But the fact three sizable UK retail businesses have made these moves is evidence of the importance of data strategy in modern commerce.

Retailers are prioritising doing something productive and business beneficial with the swathes of data flowing into their organisations.

It was therefore apt for online retail trade association IMRG to run a full week of webinars dedicated to the subject of data, under the banner of Data Week, between 14-17 September.

The event comprised four days of webinars featuring senior representatives from retailers, including Hobbycraft, Andrew Martin, and Wilko, and those working for research bodies and solution providers. It also contained unique IMRG insights, revealing several data points the wider industry can use to help shape their strategies.

There were in-depth examples of how customer and business intelligence data analysed by retailers during the coronavirus pandemic has helped them forge new strategies and enabled them to get to grips with a highly unusual period of trading in 2020.

Focusing on the retailers’ insights, this report capture the key talking points from Data Week 2020, giving a greater insight into how 21st century businesses are running their operations.

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