The chief information officer of US footwear giant DSW has warned retailers they must transform or face extinction and has shared her tips for successful retail reinvention.

Ashlee Aldridge said critical to transformation is having a vision and making sure you revisit this vision throughout the process.

Aldridge said that defining the problem that you are trying to solve is critical to forming this vision.

However, Aldridge advised retailers to organise themselves for success.

DSW, which has 500 stores in the US, built what it termed its ‘Office of Transformation’ – a team responsible for reinventing the retailer.

Key employees from around the business were brought into the office for two years as it underwent its transformation.

Aldridge’s final piece of advice is to “be committed”.

She used the example of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. “The caterpillar is completely committed. It will die if it doesn’t transform.

“It’s the same with retail. You need to be all in. If you don’t transform, you will die.”