Marks & Spencer is continuing its quest to become a digital-first retailer and appointed its first head of data science.

The company hired Mehdi Hosseini, formerly the lead data scientist at broadcaster Sky, who will be reporting to the retailer’s chief digital and data offer, Jeremy Pee.

M&S has invested heavily in becoming a digital-first business, changing its business model to adapt to the new market reality. Customers expect to be able to shop when and wherever they are and to see relevant content in any format and on the device of their choosing.

Analysing the way a customer came to make a purchase is a vital retail tool that can be improved by data science, especially as omnichannel sales has created many different paths to purchase and how a customer found and bought a particular product.

In July Marks & Spencer announced it would open an academy to teach data science to staff from every function in the business to make the retailer more digitally savvy, wrote the Financial Times.

The 18-month in-work skills programme will see employees learn about machine learning and programming languages in order to lead the digital transformation across its entire business.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe told the Financial Times: “We need to change their digital behaviours, mindsets and our culture to make the business fit for the digital age.”

 

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