InformationWeek 500: Retail Buys Into Efficiency, Lowering Costs

Analytics and social media among tactics one company uses.
The two most popular ways to innovate using technology in 2009 are making business processes more efficient and lowering IT and business costs, according to the InformationWeek 500 survey. Some 64% of retailer respondents cited the former and 50% cited the latter in describing their plans for IT-driven innovation.

Luke Friang, VP and CIO of online retailer, says that like most companies, Drugstore .com has sought savings. "But we really haven't slowed down a whole lot from a technology perspective."

Continued investment in IT has supported's growth, including new partnerships with Medco Health Solutions and Rite Aid, and new specialty micro sites for specific product segments, Friang says.

The company is very analytically driven, he adds. "We have an entire department that does nothing but focus on customer- and product-centric data."

The company is also embracing social media. "Where some companies may shy away from letting employees use Facebook, we allow it as long as they're careful."

For a data-centric company, social media's payoff isn't always quantifiable, but Friang says it shouldn't be dismissed.

"We're running toward it rather than away from it," he says.

Industry Snapshot: Retail

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