Ksenia Ternyuk is a powerful name in retail industry. Heading brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, Ksenia is a trail blazer in retail industry. She recommends women to pursue career in retail as this sector prepares individuals to lead businesses successfully. Here is the wisdom she discloses to guide women you are starting off with their career in retail.
Seventeen years ago, I started my professional career as a trainee in Marketing in luxury division of L’Oréal in France. Then I moved to Louis Vuitton Paris as a professional and fell in love with retail as it allowed me to make a direct impact on the business. Then I evolved into project manager position, worked on store plans and opened around 100 stores around EMEA region at Louis Vuitton. I was lucky to be able to work both on the strategy and field implementation.
After almost 10 years at Louis Vuitton I moved to a worldwide position in London to drive business transformation from wholesale to retail for Alexander McQueen where I have worked with Middle East, China, Japan and USA. During pandemic I saw a tremendous growth in the Middle Eastern market and loved the changes innovation made possible. I joined Christian Dior Parfums as a Commercial Director, which my current role as well.
I strongly believe that difficult experiences in life lead to tremendous growth. You need to trust your intuition. How could I predict that 15 years later all luxury business would start to switch to direct to consumer retail model. I couldn’t. I just trusted myself and my gut feeling, which was the right one! I fell in love with retail and that experience has taught me the most valuable skill – how to manage people and grow business through your team.
Retail career for women:
Women may thrive in retail and the scope of retail is widening even after the ecommerce revolution. Three-quarters of all retail luxury sales are forecasted to occur offline this year. In addition, by 2025 50 % of work across all industries is expected to be automated, many jobs will be replaced by technology and AI. However human interactions offered by retail will always be there because brick and mortar stores offer closer interaction with customer and continue to be strongest marketing point. For the full experience with a brand, customers have to see the architecture, touch the products and feel the scarcity factor. Expect mainstream retailers to find ways to set their stores apart in the next five years.
Retail sector offers opportunities to develop more skills in HR, finance, operations, training, and building clientele. We are on the crossroad of all company’s departments – HR, Marketing, Finance, IT. It allows to polish communication across diverse workforce. It grooms a person so well, they may run a complete business in future all on their own.
Motivation and Encouragement:
Woman have an incredible capacity not only to have a sharp brain, but also big hearts. We can think and feel at the same time. Where men struggle to find solutions, we see them immediately. We are capable to link people together and work together. We inspire and motivate employees to open and give their best. We see solutions where men get stuck. We are capable to link different people and different departments toward one commercial objective.
We are naturally driven by emotions, we feel people and are capable to step into the shoes of others, hence we decrease number of conflicts at workplace and are able to hold things together. I encourage women to know their value and appreciate themselves. To be not afraid to pursue their professional goals.
How women in retail may achieve more success:
Women in retails will lead efficiently and create greater impact by focusing on building authentic connection with teams and clients. They will have to walk extra miles to know people deeply and meet them on their ground. They will have to have superior emotional intelligence to connect better with teams, clients, and employees. As always a stronger relationship is the backbone of retaining customers who make your business grow.
Majority of retail businesses focus on people and the experiences the brand offers them because people will always remember a great experience and would come back for it. Therefore, greater success can be achieved with a good strategy, people centric approach and care. For a relationship to last, there must be mutual respect, trust, understanding and appreciation.
I advise to all women to use our natural emotional intelligence to deal with their teams. To lead with their hearts. People follow people, and your people will always stay with you if you have invested in them. They will give their best.
Emerging perspective in AI and Metaverse:
Taking into account the fact that by 2024, AI-generated speech could empower machines with more than half of all human interactions, we are entering the world of “phygital”—physical and digital at the same time. Here there is not a physical world or digital world in retail, but rather a connected one where integration of these create new ways of automating processes and communication.
We enter an era of personalised experience, where by 2030, each touch point with client will be personalised across all channels.
It is difficult and potentially unwise for luxury brands to ignore the facts that global spending on virtual goods is expected to be at least $135 billion by 2024. Innovative fashion brands over the next 5 years could generate up to 5 % of their revenue from activities in the metaverse (McKinsey research). The scope of retail growth is different with the way AI and Metaverse has opened new avenues.
Virtual skins in digital worlds will be a big driver of that revenue stream, while NFTs can help to solve industry pain points and bolster customer loyalty. We can clearly see – virtual ecosystem overlaps and offers an alternative to physical reality.
I believe it’s now clear that one brand in retail is not destined to overthrow the other. Innovative retailers can lead the way by connecting traditional retail, e-commerce and metaverse capabilities to offer customers greater control and flexibility over how and where they shop. Ecommerce will continue to rule. Around 50% of luxury sale will be done online, but another half will remain in physical retail through “showrooming” its newness, expressing brand values, providing a community or the “money cannot buy” entertaining experience in-stores.
Message for Corporate Leaders:
Treat everyone with the same level of kindness and respect regardless of their status or position. Great leaders are always compassionate and approachable.
Leaders, please use the human-to-human approach when dealing with employees. It is people you are dealing with, not just numbers in your P&L.
Connect with Ksenia: