2023 eCommerce Expo unpacks diversity and inclusion in retail

Sainsbury’s, IKEA, Ralph Lauren and Just Eat executives discuss

The 2023 eCommerce Expo and Technology for Marketing wrapped up on 28 September with insights from Sainsbury’s, IKEA, Ralph Lauren and Just Eat executives on diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives.

Hosted by Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, the final day opened with a keynote session on diversity in retail, unpacking how businesses have adapted to the modern needs of digital customers.

Members of the panel sat down to discuss why businesses need to accelerate D&I initiatives and how employees and customers are driving changes.

Explaining the UK supermarket’s approach to D&I, Karen Brown, Deputy Chief Technology Officer at Sainsbury’s said, ‘We always think about how we promote diversity across the brand, but it’s driven by the culture of the organisation.

‘Internally, our employees are asking more and more about why they’re doing the work in the first place and what their purpose is. In turn, we’ve started to ask ourselves a lot more about our own values and how we can take a more human approach to our work.

Jessica Hall, Chief Product Officer at Just Eat, agreed, ‘Diversity and inclusion (D&I) isn’t just about doing what businesses feel is the right thing.

Hall said that studies have shown that diverse teams bring better creativity and innovation.

‘At Just Eat we’re always looking for the latest innovation to give us a leap forward and make sure our customers keep coming back. Therefore, ensuring a diverse array of voices are heard within and outside of the business is incredibly important for success.’

Cristina Rutgers-Astolfi, Global Head of Analytics at IKEA, said IKEA’s changing customer base means the company must stay on top of new and diverse needs.

‘Because we lead through our countries, we need to understand what is driving trends around the globe at a regional level. Whether it’s by country, age, or if they’re male or female, it’s all really important to look into the levels of diversity in each field that impact us.’

Cristina Rutgers-Astolfi

The information age has also changed how consumers shop online, with Kelly Coutinho, Senior Director Data Science & Analytics at Ralph Lauren, arguing that retail needs to get smarter in selling to customers.

‘Customers these days are so savvy and well educated. They know what they want but they also want different things depending on the generation,’ she said.

The event took place at ExCel, London on 27 and 28 September.

Featured image: eCommerce Expo / LinkedIn