Ramona Tudosescu, Head of Innovation of Galeries
Lafayette Champs-Élysées, reveals how she brings the latest
digital technology into the retail experience and how ESCP Europe's
MSc in Creativity Marketing (MMK)
equipped her with the right tools to thrive in her
The Importance of Creativity in an Era of Disruption
How do you bring the best of the online world in to
physical sphere and challenge the traditional department store
In our strategy, there is no split between the digital and
physical worlds. We wanted to position an "augmented mortar"
experience and make it accessible through digital and innovation to
all our clients. That is why, when I first started working on the
project, my obsession was reinventing the core of the experience by
democratising the service of Personal Stylists by making digital
invisible. No screens, no standards, but an organically integrated
digital strategy aimed to redefine the physical space and support
the new role of a sales assistant.
Source: Galeries Lafayette
I led two main projects to bring in this "augmented mortar"
strategy into the store:
- The creation of a completely new IOT: the connected hanger.
Totally unique and trademarked by the group, the traditional hanger
was reframed into an IOT that marks the ambition of organically
integrating digital into the physical world to better serve the
client; it positions the personal stylists and also captures data
for future innovations developed within the Galeries Lafayette
Champs Elysées platform. An intelligent object, the hanger is
capable of recognizing the product, connecting instantly to the
main IT system to answer one crucial question: the garment size
availability in store. The customers that prefer to be autonomous
will be able to select the desired size and have the garment sent
to the fitting room in under 10 minutes.
- Support a conversational retail approach by empowering 300
Personal Stylists to communicate directly with their clients
- a dedicated mobile application for 300 Personal Stylists
- a virtual" assistant presence aimed to bring on-going training
to the staff
- an instant messaging client approach
- a fully interactive website
This continuity of the relationship is crucial not only for our
clients, but also for our staff, the personal stylists themselves.
They are the key audience of the mobile application. Their
functionalities allow them to be empowered with KPI, get on-going
training from platforms such as Tagwalk as well as create a micro-community
supported by team messaging, chat-based interfaces, shared client
pages and support systems.
In reference to your strategies of innovation, how do
you build the omnichannel experience for this high-end leading
In our innovation strategy, we assume that our clients live in a
post-digital society that looks beyond a website, a social media
account; they aspire for meaning, connection, fulfilment, and
digital can help augment all of these aspects. We focus on
augmenting the human connections and making them the link to an
omnichannel experience. Imagine you have a Personal Stylist: he/she
is the one that knows you, delivers you the right message at the
right time, offers you only the services you want, puts products
aside, sends products wherever you are, books a table for you at
the best restaurant in Paris. And all this through digital tools
that help him or her be the link in any channel.
How do you incorporate sustainable product and
responsible consumption into your strategy?
When I started working on the connected hanger, one of our main
concerns was to develop a new IOT that has low energy consumption,
reactive to the client and not always on, so we developed
everything in that sense. Special attention was given to the
product's sustainability: the hanger recognises movement to
activate, has its own autonomous charging system, and uses low
energy technologies to communicate.
Source: Galeries Lafayette
As a marketing leader in today's world, how do you think
business can help shape a sustainable future?
I believe a sustainable future will come about by focusing on
progress and simplicity. One of the main risks I keep witnessing is
the desire to do everything for maximisation of impact. I think
digital, and especially progress in technology, could help us shift
the world as we know it - but in very different ways according to
each company's needs.
I believe that focusing on progress and simplicity instead of
standardisation could bring more efficiency, higher differentiation
and, most of all, more time to vertically control all human aspects
of impact on our planet.
Tell us about your experience as a judge in the 2019 Big
When L'Oréal Professor of Creativity Marketing Marie Taillard asked me to be part of the
judging panel of the 2019 Big Picture, my first reaction was
excitement at the opportunity to dive into the minds and creativity
of the brilliant students at ESCP Europe.
What I found especially interesting in this year's Challenge was
that there was one group that was so imperfect, but they had one
brilliant idea. In another context it might have gone unnoticed
but, maybe thanks to my years of experience, I realised that they
had thought of something that could actually shift the beauty
sector for the next 10 or 20 years. Challenges like this help
students meet professionals that can reassure them that they
are on the right track - maybe even show them how far they can
reach. A project can become more than just that when there is a
spark of innovation in each of them. Dare to think big!
How did the MSc in Marketing & Creativity help you
in your career and in harnessing a creative mindset?
I remember one of the first things we were told on the programme
was that we would not be taught theories; rather, we would be
taught how to think, how to challenge the status quo, and how to
get inspired by any creative industry. The MSc in Marketing &
Creativity is a forward-thinking programme that transforms a
student. It made me understand that I wanted a career in
innovation; to think creatively about problems, find solutions, and
to know that every day is a new day. We have to reinvent ourselves
constantly to keep up with our fascinating clients.
Source: Galeries Lafayette
Feeling inspired by Ramona's career? To follow in her
footsteps, check out ESCP Europe and its Marketing & Creativity