As various brands and retailers concentrate on their digital operations, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has appointed Samir Desai to serve as its chief digital and technology officer, a newly created role at the brand.
Desai will oversee the company's digital strategy, including its efforts to optimize user experience, harness consumer data and analytics, and improve the digital experience across each portfolio brand the company announced last week. He will report to CEO Fran Horowitz and serve on the company's executive steering committee.
Before joining Abercrombie & Fitch Co., he served as the chief technology officer at Equinox, where he created and executed the company's data strategy, launched its direct-to-consumer digital media business and developed omnichannel customer experiences, per the announcement.
As consumers continue to shop online for both apparel and basic necessities, having a robust online presence is proving to be a critical part of a retailer's growth.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. joins a lengthy list of brands and retailers that have hired new chief technology or digital officers, including Cole Haan, Chico's FAS, BJ's Wholesale, Neiman Marcus Group and Purple. Even Levi's Strauss & Co. made changes at the executive level to enhance its digital strategy.
Desai's "robust background and deep knowledge of technology innovation will be incredibly valuable as we continue our transformation journey to being a digitally led retailer," Horowitz said in a statement. "Over the past several years, we have prioritized investing in our digital capabilities. With Samir's leadership, we look forward to further enhancing our omni-channel experiences and technology practices to remain close to our global customers."
As Abercrombie & Fitch Co. focuses on enhancing its omnichannel strategy, research suggests that e-commerce sales will become critical for retailers, but physical stores will still account for much of their sales.
A report from eMarketer predicts that retail e-commerce sales will rise by 13.7% to $908.73 billion, a slightly lower growth from last year's 18% surge. Meanwhile, a Forrester report found that e-commerce sales jumped by 30% in 2020, but the firm predicts that the bulk of retail sales (72%) will occur in brick-and-mortar stores in 2024.