Across Germany and beyond, the e-commerce industry continues to boom. Covid has shown the possibilities e-commerce can offer.
Many consumers switched their mindset during the pandemic to think digitally first and transitioned to shopping mostly online. The growth of e-commerce in recent years clearly indicates its profitability, especially in the luxury segment.
To find out more, we sat down with Björn Kastl – Chief People Officer (CPO) at mytheresa.com, an international leading eCommerce luxury platform. Björn has shaped the HR organization at mytheresa in the past few years and shared exclusive insights.
The global luxury e-commerce market is expected to grow further until 2026. Does that also apply to a digital multi-brand retailer like Mytheresa?
Mytheresa is excellently positioned to accompany future growth, even to drive it ahead. Our customers appreciate the curated selection we offer them across brands while with everything we do always focusing on what he/she desires.
Expanding enables us to tailor to our customers‘ needs and react even faster to geographic trends.
We have grown tremendously in recent years, expanding our high-end customer base and further internationalising – most recently with the openings of offices in New York and Shanghai. This moves us even closer to our customers in North America and Asia, two important markets for growth in the luxury segment. It also enables us to tailor to our customers‘ needs and react even faster to geographic trends.
Next year, we will also open our logistics centre at Leipzig Airport, another milestone in our ability to deliver even faster internationally. We are confident that we have set the right course for our customers.
Is the need for HR roles in e-commerce stronger than ever?
HR in most e-commerce businesses has focused on accompanying growth in recent years, so recruitment has received special attention. For those that continue to grow, such as Mytheresa, attracting talent remains an essential part of the HR function.
I see demographic change and reassessment of work by employees creating other important fields of action for HR in most countries.
The variety of HR work has also increased. For businesses like ours, it’s becoming more important to consider an international employee base, manager and employee engagement, diversity, sustainability and group-specific communication. I also see demographic change and reassessment of work by employees creating other important fields of action for HR in most regions.
What are the major challenges for HR in the e-commerce sector?
The challenges are not fundamentally different from those in other sectors of the economy. In Germany, we will have a shortage of 3 million workers in the foreseeable future so attracting and retaining employees will remain a priority.
The e-commerce sector is particularly dependent on international employees. Businesses are enormously diverse in terms of their workforce.
The demands of employees have changed and businesses are well advised to recognise that the HR function is just as important as others such as finance, since future challenges are not necessarily financial resources but the lack of talent.
The e-commerce sector is particularly dependent on international employees and businesses are enormously diverse in terms of their workforce: employees in fashion, IT, logistics and many other areas are at the heart of a company like Mytheresa. In this respect, I trust that politicians and administrators will rethink the need for immigration to a greater extent.
What are your focus areas for the next weeks and months?
As mentioned, the opening of our logistics centre in Leipzig over the next few weeks will be a focus. This is the engine room of the company and we are looking for over 500 new colleagues to support us in the „world’s largest luxury cabinet of clothes“.
To achieve this, our HR processes need to run even more smoothly to cope with the volume. Against this background, further automatization and process efficiency in HR is important here.
I am convinced that there is a great power of change on the topic of “new work” that is urgently needed.
We will also focus even more on development opportunities for people managers and employees, supporting our international locations in growth and organisational management.
I myself continue to work on the topic of “new work” – which is far from just a buzzword: how do companies offer an attractive working environment in the long term? I am convinced that there is a great power of change in this topic that is urgently needed – such as making working hours or work locations more flexible, cultural change, value orientation, etc. In this respect, the next few months will remain exciting!
Thank you very much for this interesting conversation and your time, Björn. We appreciate the insights you shared. We wish you a lot of success for the upcoming projects.