Joann fills CIO role ahead of in-store technology push
- Fabric and craft retailer Joann Stores named Varadheesh Chennakrishnan as chief information officer, reporting directly to CEO Wade Miquelon, according to an announcement Wednesday.
- In October, Joann announced a CEO shuffle, making then CFO Miquelon the interim chief executive. By February, Joann confirmed Miquelon would permanently maintain the CEO position. Last spring, when the company elevated former CIO Matt Susz to CFO, it left the role vacant, according to Amanda Hayes, corporate communications manager at Joann, in an email to sister publication CIO Dive.
- Chennakrishnan was with Ulta Beauty for eight years in various roles, most recently serving as the SVP of applications and enterprise architecture, according to LinkedIn.
The company is in a "watershed moment" with the launch of its concept store in 2018, according to the announcement. The store's technologies include touchscreen kiosks and live streaming solutions which the retailer intends to integrate into its 865 stores in the U.S.
Joann's concept store was in response to the DIY revolution spurred by online platforms like Pinterest. It was also in retaliation to online shopping.
"Technology means we can help people share their creativity in new ways," said Hayes. Beyond mobile connection, the retailer is launching more in-store experiences.
As a traditional brick and mortar store, Joann has had to adapt to the evolution in customer's digital behavior.
The retailer is revamping its digital solutions in part by acquiring tech startups. In December, Joann acquired a 3D laser printer company and will continue to oversee its evolution. It also placed Joann slightly ahead of other retailers in customized production processes.
At the same time, the craft retailer adopted a software program called MyFabric that allows customers to customize fabric choices by color, scale and pattern. Joann eventually intends to allow customers to upload their own fabric designs.
The craft store is in the midst of integrating customer-facing technologies in stores and finding avenues to further interact with customers on IoT devices. The Joann mobile app has more than five million monthly active users where customers find inspiration, coupons, shop and share projects like a social site similar to Pinterest.
- Retail Dive Joann unveils new concept store
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