Today, we feature the new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at AIR MILES, Rick Neuman, who will lead the technological innovation, development and dissemination ahead of its 30th anniversary. He brings a wealth of experience from Flipp, Sears Canada, Canadian Tire and Walmart. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Rick, we are looking forward to the new initiatives that you are in charge of!
1. Please tell us about yourself and your role with AIR MILES?
I’m joining AIR MILES with more than 17+ years of experience in the retail, marketing, e-commerce and technology sectors, and with an MBA, Marketing, from the Schulich School of Business, York University, and a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University. Plus, I’ve worked for some of the most-recognized retailers in the country including Canadian Tire, Sears Canada, Walmart Canada and, most recently, Flipp. In my new role as Chief Technology Officer at AIR MILES, I’m responsible for overseeing the development and dissemination of technology for our collectors and our partners to help achieve our business objectives. One of my goals in joining AIR MILES is to encourage an environment of collaboration – with associates, partners and collectors alike – and innovation in order to design customer experiences that build meaningful connections with consumers and foster long-term loyalty.
2. Why did you decide to work with AIR MILES?
AIR MILES is Canada’s most recognized loyalty program with 10 million active collectors, a collector card swiped 1,000 times every minute, a reward redeemed every 2 seconds, and more than 100 billion Miles issued over the past 30 years. AIR MILES represents value and trust among Canadian consumers and I wanted to be a part of that. And, there couldn’t be a better time to be joining the AIR MILES Reward Program team. I’ve been so impressed with the recent changes AIR MILES has made to their program, including the new direction of the brand and changes to leadership. I’m particularly excited about the digital transformation we’re embarking on; it will see AIR MILES focus on data-driven insights to inform change and utilize personalization. Plus, AIR MILES hasn’t had a CTO for a few years, so this is an opportunity to really build the digital transformation from the ground up. AIR MILES is changing what it means to be a loyalty program, and I’m excited to be a part of this loyalty revolution.
3. What expertise do you bring to AIR MILES?
My expertise spans across the retail, marketing, e-commerce and technology sectors. I’m joining AIR MILES from Flipp, where I was the Chief Product and Technology Officer. Prior to that, I spent nearly a decade with the largest retailer in the world – Walmart. As the Vice President, Technology Strategy and Merchandising Technology at Walmart International, I created product and technology strategy for Walmart teams around the world and, as the Executive Vice President of eCommerce and Technology for Walmart Canada, I led digital growth programs including the launch of Online Grocery, the creation of the Walmart Marketplace, the launch of the online baby registry program, and the introduction of a nationwide in-store pickup program. Aside from my practical experience, I have a solid track record of leading large teams and improving strategy, collaboration and delivery. But what I’m really known for is being “customer-obsessed,” so I’m excited about bringing to the table my passion for building customer-centric technology to improve the customer experience and, ultimately, grow revenue.
4. What initiatives are you working on that collectors can look forward to?
Through our digital transformation, we’ll be looking at ways to use our data to inform change for our partners and collectors. A tangible change we want to see in the immediate future is to improve our mobile app. Our app only has a three-star rating, so we know we’re not meeting our collectors’ expectations or needs in this space. With the app, and across the program, there’s an opportunity to utilize the power of our data to build personalization at scale. We can increase the relevancy for collectors, based on their individual expectations of what the program can do for them, while working with our partners in new and exciting ways to improve the collector experience on a national scale.
5. Thank you for your time, any closing thoughts?
I’m really looking forward to spearheading the growth potential of an iconic Canadian brand with 30 years of first-party, behavioural data on millions of Canadians. I see so much potential in the growth trajectory of AIR MILES and I’m energized about the prospects ahead. Yes, there are certainly areas we can improve upon but, with a willingness to invest and a focus on technology to transform the business, we’ll deliver on the expectations of the millions of Canadians carrying our card in their wallets and having our app on their phones.
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