I had just finished reading Clayton Christensen’s ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ when we were asked to help this 3Bn euro, family-managed, global, fragrance business based in Barcelona. Some of the lessons of the book rang very true.
Puig was brilliant at what had worked in the past. They were so efficient at managing the 20th century model of retail distribution that they lacked the antenna and attached corporate brain cells to understand the implications of the digital world. Split into a traditional FMCG model of Brand and Market, there was a tension between aesthetics and sales when it came to marketplaces like Amazon. To be fair to Puig, the whole luxury/premium fashion world had the same attitude – why else would Net-a-Porter have been such a run-away success?
Matters that were less open to interpretation included the situation at Macy’s. Macy’s was beginning to sell more for Puig through their on-line rather than their physical stores. There was a global structure handling physical sales and merchandising but almost no-one with expertise to handle the commercial, legal and data elements of these new relationships. Another fact; more Puig product was sold on Amazon than any other channel – but through the grey market. Puig had lost control of its brand. Puig wanted a London based head hunter as they (rightly) saw London as the deepest pool of talent for ecommerce professionals.
Once we had worked out what we were looking for we went to the market. Our candidate had a long track record at eBay working on cross-border commerce and spent five years in role creating a new function and team in Barcelona and across the world.