September 14, 2021

177 | How the Pandemic Impacted Digital in the Fashion Industry with Joanne Joliet

Few retail industries were disrupted by COVID as much as the fashion industry. And yet, many of the biggest brands out there have managed to weather the storm and create digital transformations that kept them agile and relevant.

Joanne Joliet is currently Head of Worldwide Fashion and Apparel at Amazon Web Services and has had a long career in research and analytics in the retail industry. Previously, she was senior research director in retail at Gartner and has led digital innovation in executive roles at Belk and Family Dollar Stores, Inc.

She shares her take on how retail has digitally transformed, how the COVID pandemic affected that transformation, and where we go from here.


Unified Commerce

  • With the pandemic, there was an exponential increase in digital sales. That’s going to continue even as situations in the world change.
  • Supporting the physical aspect of retail is still paramount.
  • Unified commerce is about converging the digital and physical touch points to deliver a holistic customer experience.
  • This enables and empowers our customers to browse, shop, transact, and acquire products anywhere and everywhere.

The Role of AI in Commerce

  • AI is the central nervous system for retailers. The better decision you have across the enterprise, the better you will be in serving your customers.
  • Retailers have an exorbitant amount of data at their fingertips, so finding the best way to use that is going to give them an edge.
  • Looking at that data independently of the silo in which it’s occurring and really creating actionable insights is what’s going to separate the retailers who will ultimately be successful from those who will continue to lag and struggle.
  • AI is used to ensure that the product is in the right place, that the forecast is right, that retailers aren’t over-purchasing (and, ultimately, ending up with billions of dollars in debt, inventory, and impact to their sustainability goals).



About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.