Consumer Goods and Retail CIOs Lead Online Shopping Initiatives

The majority of consumer goods and retail (CGR) companies have accelerated their digital journeys over the last two years to better serve the growing number of online shoppers. But not all are achieving the same levels of success.

According to research conducted by Genpact and MIT, CGR companies with Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who have invested in advanced analytics, customer experience (CX) and cloud processing and storage could see earlier and better results.

Our report, titled Pilots, co-pilots, and engineers, provides more insights into these key areas and how they are contributing to the success of their business.

Spotlighting the Customer Experience (CX)

The research shows that CGR CIOs say CX will be a major priority over the next two years, compared to 37% of CIOs in other industries. The driver here is that CGR companies cannot afford to deliver a poor online shopping experience that sends customers fleeing to the competition.


This need for a flawless CX became even more important during the pandemic, when larger numbers of people shopped online, some for the first time. CGR companies are eager to engage these consumers, which means attracting and delighting them every step of the way — for example, using data and analytics to understand individual consumer preferences, surfacing the right product at the right time, and then promptly delivering these products using customers’ location information.

Connecting Employee and Customer Experiences

CGR CIOs are more likely than counterparts in other industries to focus strongly on improving employee experience (45% versus 32%). The reason is that CGR employees play a major role in delivering world-class experiences that ensure customers are happy and keep coming back. Successful CIOs provide their employees with the right tools and technologies, along with optimal working conditions that help drive productivity and enhance employee effectiveness.

And it doesn’t stop there. These CGR CIOs say that “upskilling employees in data literacy has made important contributions to business outcomes.” In the end, consumer goods and retail companies are shining examples of why CX and EX are inextricably linked.

Arming Sales and Marketing Teams with Essential Technology

CGR CIOs are far more likely to prioritize the sales and marketing function when it comes to technology investments than other industries surveyed (44% versus 32%), because they understand how advanced data and analytics strategies can help these teams succeed. Specifically, they appreciate how internal systems can strengthen customer relationships by providing instant information — about price, financial incentives, etc. — that makes shopping and buying easier and more pleasurable.

Seizing the Cloud Advantage

Finally, CGR CIOs report that cloud is one of their top priorities in the near- to mid-term. Specifically, they are building cloud-based development, security, operations and governance infrastructures. One driver behind this commitment is cost, as many CGR companies are operating with tight margins.

Increased flexibility and on-demand performance are two other key factors. Businesses are shifting away from on-premises infrastructures that require on-site servers with finite storage. In the cloud, providers automatically provide more as needed, such as during peak shopping seasons like Christmas, after which you can scale back to save money. This offers increased agility and less time spent managing IT infrastructure capacity, while dramatically reducing the spend and complexity.

Leading with APIs

Outside of healthcare, CIOs of CGR companies were more likely to say that the use of application program interfaces (APIs) and microservices have helped them adapt to changing business conditions, which makes sense given that these components are vital to succeeding in this environment. The reason why is that these companies have many more touch points spanning customers and channel partners when compared to other industries. By leveraging plug-and-play technologies, CGRs can:

  • Gain detailed customer information such as location, past actions and more
  • Become more agile to meet shifting customer preferences
  • Better forecast supply chain challenges to eliminate potential disruptions

As brands continue to invest in digital commerce capabilities, the role of CIOs at CGR companies will become even more crucial. Those who embrace cloud-based data, analytics and automation technology will be able to deliver superior CX and EX, address each customer’s individual preferences and keep costs down.

Saty Chawla is a Global Digital Advisory Leader, CGRLH at Genpact, a global professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation. In this role, he works with CXOs of cross-industry B2C and B2B clients to simplify their business strategies and drive growth. Prior to Genpact, Chawla was a Managing Director and Partner at Accenture Interactive.

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