Sona Chawla, president of digital and chief marketing officer for Walgreens, spoke of her passion for retail and the ever-increasing role of technology in a recent interview with the National Retail Federation Foundation.
Named as a “Power Player” on NRF’s List of People Shaping Retail’s Future 2015, Chawla said she embraces “the art and science of retail” but notes that “there is no cookbook for success,” as data and insights can inform decision-making at every step of the process. She also noted that the notions of online, offline and even omnichannel retailing no longer apply because “each influences the other and changes everything,” calling for a far more integrated approach.
Chawla also told NRF that today’s continuously connected and well-informed customers are in charge and that new niche retail players and a new generation of retailers will emerge. The latter, she said, are “born digital and customer-obsessed.”
“There is ample room for individual creativity, stimulated by a keen understanding of customer needs and aspirations, the competitive landscape, product innovation and technological evolution,” Chawla said.
At Walgreens, Chawla leads the Digital and Marketing Division, comprising e-commerce, enterprise-wide marketing and customer loyalty and insights. Previously, she served as president of e-commerce before being promoted to her current position in February 2014. Before joining Walgreens, she was vice president of global online business at Dell Inc.