The Long View on Retail Digital Transformation with CSC CEO Justin Yoshimura

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CSC Generation has mastered the craft of transforming challenged retail brands at the brink of liquidation into high performance, digital-first operations. By using their fine-tuned omnichannel technology platform, CSC Generation has a data-driven recipe for retail digital transformation, which is undoubtedly the driving force behind the company’s rapid expansion.


What we learned:

  • Create a career path that works within your strengths
  • Crafting a company culture early on will help maintain long-term goals throughout management transitions 
  • Retailers should expect a gradual recovery from 2021 and 2022 constraints


Listen to the full episode wherever you stream podcasts or read the highlights below.


Crafting Your Own Career Path

Justin Yoshimura realized in high school that his classes were not going to give him the opportunity to learn about the online world. While he wanted to understand software development, digital marketing and ecommerce, his school did not offer these subjects. Taking matters into his own hands, he left high school and began founding start-ups to get hands-on experience. 

After entering the tech world, Yoshimura briefly considered going back to school and attending university but quickly realized the university path was not for him. While he acknowledges classroom learning may work for some people, Yoshimura believes everyone should find a career trajectory that works within their own strengths. Through founding and selling start-ups, he was able to get hands-on management experience without a university degree.

To hear more about creating an individualized career path check out our episode with Wayfair’s CMO Bob Sherwin. 

Use Experience to Capture Value

When Yoshimura was 20 years old, he founded 500Friends, a software company that allowed omnichannel retailers to increase their customer lifetime value through loyalty marketing solutions. While he was working with some of the top retailers, Yoshimura realized about 10-15% of smaller brands were filing for bankruptcy every year. He understood that no matter how great the software was, retailers without scale were never going to be able to compete with ecommerce retailers like Amazon. Through this experience, he saw an opportunity to build a modern operating system for omnichannel retailers to capture scale and expertise and allow them to succeed.


Creating a Culture Rooted in Long-Term Decisions

Begin with the End in Mind

In 2016, Yoshimura founded CSC Generations, which is in the business of retail digital transformation and works to convert challenged retail brands into high-performance operations. While starting the company, Yoshimura made sure to keep in mind the company culture he wanted for CSC Generations. As Yoshimura says, “If you don’t initially think about company culture you’ll likely end up with a bad one.” 

Retail and ecommerce are plagued with short-term thinking, according to Yoshimura. When the average CMO tenure is less than two years, it can be difficult to maintain long-term goals. Instituting a strong culture from the beginning will help to maintain company values throughout management transitions. 

Allow Company Culture to Grow

Yoshimura says, “Culture is the decisions the company makes every day, it’s what the company does that drives the culture.” As CSC Generation has grown, Yoshimura is no longer able to oversee smaller decisions made on a day-to-day basis. Harvesting the company culture he wanted for CSC Generation from the beginning has allowed for its continued success, even without Yoshimura’s direct input. 

Avoid Overestimating Growth

These early decisions also help further down the line when it comes to the company’s growth rate. When private equity firms take over operations for retail companies, they often want to receive massive gains. With money injected into the business, firms expect to see large growth rates. However, Yoshimura says this forces retailers to grow faster than they should. While fueling money into the company may keep revenue high, this activity is not sustainable and retailers will eventually run out of new customers.

By establishing a company culture early on brands can avoid these missteps. Deciding your company’s risk tolerance and sticking to it will designate whether decisions should be made to harvest growth or to learn. 


The Future of Retail

Yoshimura believes shipping constraints are a great indicator of the next year of retail. Due to the continued shipping delays and high costs, he believes many 2021 trends will continue throughout 2022. He predicts continued supply chain constraints, a competitive labor market, trade disruptions and high costs due to these shipping issues. For more 2022 trend predictions check out the webinar recap blog for Lessons Learned and Advice for 2022.

However, even as these obstacles grow smaller, Yoshimura cautions against betting on 2022 Q4 results. Recovering from 2021 and 2022 constraints will be a gradual adjustment, and companies shouldn’t rush back to normal. 

Justin Yoshimura provided great insight into the decisions that go into retail digital transformation at CSC Generation. Listen to the whole episode to hear more about creating your own career path and for more retail predictions.