Matalan has appointed Ali Jones as its first chief customer and omnichannel officer as the fashion and homeware retailer restructures its marketing division.
Jones joins the business tomorrow (19 April) and will begin by establishing a new customer function at Matalan, with the aim of joining up the business’s customer touchpoints and providing “clarity and accountability” for customers.
Matalan is also moving its marketing, ecommerce and international teams into its customer and omnichannel function, creating “one dedicated team” that will work collaboratively.
Jones was previously customer and community director at the Co-op Group, a role she departed in October 2022 after almost five years amid a wave of redundancies. Across a career spanning 30 years, Jones has held senior marketing positions at Debenhams, former fashion giant Arcadia Group, Marks & Spencer and Woolworths in Australia.
I believe there is a great opportunity to transform the customer journey and bring more consumers to Matalan, more often.
Ali Jones, Matalan
At Matalan, she will report into the company’s CEO, Jo Whitfield, who was Co-op’s food chief executive from 2017 to 2022.
“I am both excited and honoured to be joining such a great brand and look forward to working again with Jo and with Karl-Heinz [company chairman] and the wider team at Matalan,” says Jones, who notes the brand’s “value proposition is ever more important to customers in the current inflationary environment”.
“I believe there is a great opportunity to transform the customer journey and bring more consumers to Matalan, more often, via a seamless omnichannel experience,” she adds.
From Next to Debenhams to The Co-op: One marketer on what it takes to build a career in retailWhitfield adds: “I am really excited about the opportunity that this appointment will give us, building on the great foundations and plans already in place. Working closely with Ali and her team, we will build a connected strategy and stronger brand experience, however our customers choose to shop with Matalan,” says Whitfield.
In an interview with Marketing Week about her career to date in 2019, Jones emphasised the importance of changing how marketing is perceived by businesses more widely, in a nod to the task she is taking on in her latest role.
“Particularly in fashion retail, marketing is often seen as the colouring-in department. What I’ve tried to do is move marketing to be seen as a customer team, a business partner that helps bring the customer into the room all the time,” she said at the time.
“That’s done by looking for new opportunities, being more strategic and not just being at the end of the journey. [You need to be able to] show how great marketing can really drive business performance, which hasn’t always been the case in a lot of businesses.”