March 1, 2013, 12:09 PM

Who's the boss?

(Page 2 of 2)

To move forward, retailers must drive cross-channel from the top levels of the company and ensure that a strong leadership team is in place to facilitate it. They need to make sure they are coaching this leadership team and giving them air cover. They should insist that departmental people who need to collaborate are put in proximity to each other. Most importantly, they need to send a strong signal to the entire organization that this is the mandate for the company by promoting top people from within into key roles, or decisively recruiting from outside to find the strongest candidates for the job.

The reality of the cross-channel world dictates that retailers must have people in these core functional areas that conceive, plan and execute business across channels. That means having people in place who understand cross-channel shopping behavior, cross-channel fulfillment, how to drive demand and brand loyalty, and how to implement systems and integrations that enable all this. At this stage of the game, it's e-commerce executives who have the edge and the potential to steer the future of retail.

Cynthia Kounaris is chief resource officer at FitForCommerce, an e-commerce consultancy.

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