Clearly hires its first CTO

Alex Buhler gets oversight of the eyewear retailer's analytics, digital and merchandising teams as it redefines its tech strategy.

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Clearly has brought on Alejandro Buhler as its chief technology officer, the first time the online eyewear retailer has had someone in the role.

Buhler comes to Clearly with more than 20 years of experience in information technology management roles, such as CIO at retailer MEC and director of information technology and infrastructure at Sierra Systems.

The Vancouver-based company hopes having someone with Buhler’s level of experience on the executive team will help it redefine and implement its technology strategy. Buhler’s hiring has also come with a minor change in reporting structure, with analytics, UX/UI, web and merchandising teams now reporting in to the CTO to ensure all changes and upgrades are fully integrated.

His role will also include working very closely with other members of the leadership team – including chief marketing officer Nicole Oliver, chief brand officer Keith Baker and recently-hired managing director Arnaud Bussières – to work on providing a more seamless overall customer experience.

While Clearly has experimented with bricks-and-mortar locations – it currently has two in Vancouver and one in Toronto – it remains first and foremost an online retailer, so it makes sense that Buhler’s main priorities are all related to improving the customer experience. That’s been an ongoing journey for Clearly; last year, the company worked with Huge Toronto to redesign what had previously been a purely transactional website. That redesign included a “MyFit” feature, helping customers ensure the frames they browse will fit them properly without having to try them on in person.

“There is always room for improvement as we continue to refine our customer service, product offerings and overall brand experience,” Buhler says. “We have a long list of UX/UI and functional improvements like search, mobile and re-orders for contacts that we are working on and utilizing personalization features from our tools.”

Internally, Buhler is making some changes to ensure these improvements can move forward quickly. Besides the new reporting structure and some new roles, processes have been implemented that prioritize projects that will have the greatest impact on customer experience, as well as the company’s KPIs.

Buhler adds that “change and innovation [are] at the core of Clearly” and is exploring ways for more emerging technology to enhance the company’s accessibility and customer experience, pointing specifically to AR and AI. He says Clearly in the process of creating a roadmap for upgrading Clearly’s key systems, so it can take advantage of the newest features to improve its service.