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Woolworths beefs up digital team to grow omnichannel capabilities

In its drive to be a "leading omnichannel retailer", Woolworths is accelerating investment in tech talent to fast-track the connection and integration of its online, mobile and app channels to offer a best-in-class customer experience.

Source: Reuters/Mike Hutchings
Source: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

“Over the last 3 years, we have invested more than R1bn in our digital capabilities in South Africa, providing new and innovative experiences that meet evolving customer needs and that differentiate us in the market. We’re now accelerating this investment to support the exponential growth of our digital channels. We’ve adapted the way we’re structured to ensure we can innovate at speed and scale,” says Liz Hillock, head of Woolworths online and mobile.

The retailer is actively looking to recruit more than 100 specialists to take its digital strategy forward, including product management, UX and UI design expertise, scrum masters as well as technical and design leads.

Woolworths is the latest SA retailer to state its intentions to build up a digital-focused team, as companies aim to ensure that they are appropriately structured to respond competitively to changing shopper behaviour.


“Being a truly omnichannel retailer requires deep business integration and not the creation of more tech silos. With our new digital product management structure already in place, integrated into our business, and with cross-functional teamwork at its core, it’s incredibly exciting to see the progress and agility of this new way of working,” adds Hillock.

Rollout of innovations


The Woolworths digital team has delivered a number of new innovations to the market in the last few months, including the launch of the virtual try-on for Beauty as well as virtual beauty consultations; WCellar which includes a standalone liquor store, online hub and NFC enabled shopping; AI-driven recommendations, ratings and reviews; as well as the launch and scaling of Woolies Dash, the first on-demand retailer in the country with full cold-chain.


“Our vision of being a truly connected, omnichannel retailer means delivering the Woolies difference our customers love, anytime, anywhere, anyhow. Adopting a new operating model and agile working style allows us to truly listen to customers, respond to change, and deliver much quicker.

“We’re experimenting, learning and iterating to ensure we constantly optimise our services, while exploring and utilising the latest technologies and services. We are now looking for the best, most curious minds in the country to join us on this journey to build Woolworths quality digital services,” says Hillock.

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