Defining the “CXO”

“CXO” stands for “Chief Experience Officer,” and it’s becoming a hot commodity in many retail organizations. The question posed by RetailWire is how to define the job and its realm of responsibilities. Here’s my opinion:

Kohl’s seems to have gotten this right with last year’s hiring of Michelle Gass from Starbucks as the “chief customer officer.” In this case, she has direct responsibility for all aspects of the company’s “customer engagement strategy,” including both marketing and omnichannel efforts. It’s important for the CXO position to be empowered in this way, not to be treated as a staff support job without real authority to drive change.

At the same time, the most important customer-facing element of most brick-and-mortar or omnichannel retailers is the shopping experience in the physical store. Aligning the strategic view of a CXO with the operating realities of a Director of Stores may require a broader portfolio for the “experience officer”…or a CEO prepared to deal with natural internal tensions in a productive way.


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