Marks and Spencer partners with True to drive “digital innovation”

Marks and Spencer is pushing forward with its strategy of becoming a ‘digital-first’ retailer by partnering with True, Europe’s only specialist retail and consumer investment firm to access the latest retail-specific innovations and technologies to advance its “digital innovation”.

In a press release, Marks and Spencer stated that the move mean that it would have “pre-emptive access to True’s deep-rooted retail and consumer expertise, emerging technologies, proprietary research and sector-specific international network,” that would “generate investable opportunities”.

True’s business model and live network will enable Marks and Spencer to see more than 2,000 enterprise-ready technology and consumer-product businesses each year. Allowing the retailer to draw on the live network to access the latest innovative technologies and expertise from within the sector that can best support its digital ambitions.

Marks and Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said in a press statement: “Our partnership with True will give us unparalleled access to the latest innovations and technologies that have the potential to transform the way we operate and run our business.

“As Marks and Spencer seeks to become a Digital First retailer, we will be on the front foot thanks to True’s deep sector knowledge and the exposure they will give us to new enterprise-ready technologies which will benefit our customers and make us fit for the future.”

Marks and Spencer pushes forward with strategy to become a ‘digital-first’ retailer

True chief commercial officer Mike Tattersall added: “The explicit focus of our partnership activities is to deliver positive commercial outcomes with clear and tangible ROI for our partners. Marks and Spencer exemplifies a business that has not only helped shape the British retail landscape, but understands the need to evolve – and the importance of innovation to achieve this.

“Through the True live network, we will support Marks and Spencer in enhancing its operations and ensuring it’s a retail business that is strongly positioned to navigate a continuously changing landscape.”

The move is part of the retailer’s five year transformation programme set out in November 2017 that aims on “restoring the basics, shaping the future and making Marks and Spencer special”. This has included news that it is expanding its partnership with First Insight, the US-based firm that helps retailers make product investment and pricing decisions, and the creation of a Retail Data Academy with Decoded to allow its staff to “get hands-on” with technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence with the aim of becoming the “most data-literate leadership team in retail”.

Image: Marks and Spencer website