The Arcadia Group, which owns popular brands such as Topshop, Topman and Dorothy Perkins, has signed a £50 million deal with Oracle to boost its investment in digital technologies and platforms.
In an interview with the Telegraph, boss Sir Philip Green said that the Arcadia Group had to improve the company’s engagement with customers through technology.
“Good, bad or indifferent, if you are not investing in new technology you are going to be left behind,” Sir Philip said. “I personally believe that people have been going to shops forever. It’s part of their pastime.
“But the experience is going to have to improve. Service is going to have to improve. You are going to have to romance with your customers.
“This [deal] is about having better information, better communication.”
The deal will also allow Arcadia to better manage its supply chains, with the view to manage inventory in a way that allows customers to buy what they want, when they want.
“You are forced to have the best data capture, the best information – when you have goods in hundreds of factories around the world, the question is: 'Where is everything?’ And how do you bring it all together?” Sir Philip said.
“My frustration is we are not there. Having the capability to go into a store with your phone, swipe it [and buy something] – we’ve got to get there.”
He added: “We want to improve everywhere we can. Design, quality, service – we want to be the best in class.
“If you show people something wonderful, we want to know we’ve got it and we can deliver it to you.”
Sir Philip also said that Arcadia should be considering investments in technology start-ups in an attempt to understand how younger generations interact with technology.
He said: “We as a company need to be doing that kind of seed corn investment,” Sir Philip said. “There are so many people who are entrepreneurial.”
Arcadia has invested in the deployment of cloud technologies in the past, where it rolled out CA’s on-demand software service to support its IT and e-commerce projects.