Senior Business Transformation Leader, Shubho Chatterjee says visionary leadership and a fresh take on hierarchy are essential for luxury brands who want to win in the digital era
In Part One and Part Two of the series, we discussed how retail store and digital integration, technology, and user experience design, can be drivers of global success for luxury retail. Leadership and talent are critical components to enable it all. In this segment we discuss some important aspects of leadership requirements and present some key challenges and solution ideas.
“ Most senior management do not have a clear grasp of current and future technology ”
The topics discussed in Part One and Part Two of this three-part series require incredible leadership and talent to succeed. As technology is a big part of this, I will focus on the leadership requirements for technology needs.
Currently, most senior management in luxury companies do not have a clear grasp of current and future technology capabilities and trends. A company’s board is often also in a similar situation and often do not possess the technology literacy, big data savvy, and an understanding of its impact. Senior technology leaders are often not part of the senior leadership team as well.
This creates an enormous chasm in understanding the skill requirements necessary because most of the current web facing technology is understood and implemented by the 20 or 30-somethings who often are not engaged with senior leadership and do not have face time with them.
This needs to change – senior technology leaders must find a way to engage the junior staff to identify present and future opportunities and then engage senior leadership and the board.
“ For businesses to be competitive there is no choice than to embrace technology ”
Why are the above topics important for luxury? First and foremost is due to the need to serve a very aspirational, well informed, and wealthy customer base who are used to worldwide best-in-class experiences.
Secondly, for businesses to be competitive there is no other choice than to embrace technology and leverage it to the fullest for an integrated business and a complete customer experience.
Thirdly, for integrated businesses, product and service processes need to be well designed and centered on user experience.
Finally, human talent and leadership is necessary to realize these ideas. Thus, based on the discussions above the following are some ideas for enhancing the competitiveness and user experience.
• Growth in the luxury segment will likely be modest; luxury players must find ways to differentiate themselves and their offerings with enhanced user experience, personalized products and services, and an increasingly efficient and nimble product design and manufacturing supply chain.
• Technology is an indispensable strategic ally to business growth and must be used to the maximum extent possible. Some examples are:
- The use of 3DCAD and 3DPrint technologies, where possible, for vast improvements in design and manufacturing flexibility;
- Implementation of true customer intelligence systems by integrating various customer input platforms – webmail, social media, web searches – with CRM, POS, internal systems, and analytics, to design products, processes, and services;
- Tighter integration of replenishment and manufacturing and supply chain to actual sales and internal ERP systems;
- Use of AR/VR technologies in websites and mobile devices to assist customers in visualization;
- Investment in wearables in fashion.
“ It behooves senior leadership to critically examine talent gaps within itself ”
• User experience centered design in all facets of the business – product and process design to cater to different product life-cycles, capture of product CTQs early during design, superior store design with traffic flow and comfort considerations, with each supported by clearly defined quality processes with appropriate metrics.
• Leadership and talent management – Implementing the ideas above will require incredible talent. It behooves senior leadership to critically examine talent gaps within itself and at the board level, especially in technology, and alleviate the needs.
This three-part series discussed broadly the current landscape in luxury retail with global economics, the integration needs of retail and digital footprints, technology state and future trends in technology, user experience centered design for product and process differentiation, and leadership and talent necessary to enable a differentiated business. The series concluded with some key integrative ideas to truly enable superior global competitiveness for the luxury retailer.
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