Luxury retail has become a highly competitive business.
Gone are the days when it was easy to sell luxury goods based on the allure of the brand alone. Luxury retailing has been evolving dramatically during these past few years: a wide range of formats and concepts have emerged, posing new challenges to managers. Luxury players are constantly striving to innovate, create new emotions, and design new products and distribution strategies. Today, retail has become a key battleground in the crucial quest to find and keep the best customers.
1) it is a center of profit and loss, in which international distribution strategies are applied to anticipate the customer needs in term of products and services;
2) it is expected to provide a unique ambiance and atmosphere, reflecting and reinforcing the values of the brand;
3) it should offer an exceptional and unparalleled shopping experience in which consumers develop long-lasting and emotional ties with the brand;
4) and, in order to accomplish this, it should be managed by a team of highly trained professionals, who understands the operational and managerial facets of their job, the sensorial and emotional dimensions of the luxury brand, as well as the ever-evolving customer demands and expectations.
I had the fantastic opportunity to teach at IUM University. It has been a great adventure both personally and professionally. I gave a thirty hours class on Retail Merchandising and Buying.
Anyone interested in working in the Fashion Industry should actually study Retail because it's the focus, the ultimate center of it. Everything in Fashion Industry is done for the retail.
Retail is the true moneymaker; Retail is the field where Brands play against each other; it is where their success is determined.
In Retail stores, Brands express themselves: they can expose their collection as they like, conveying the desired message. Retail is the School of Fashion Industry.
The Master of Science in Luxury Management (Retail Management) is a unique specialization designed to meet the specific needs of the luxury retail major brands. It prepares young students to make their first steps into an international career. It seeks to educate the next generation of retail managers and international marketing managers specifically within the Luxury Retail sector.
The MLUX Retail avails oneself of a mix of academic content and professional collaborations and it is designed to train and develop specifically-educated managers able to craft innovative solutions to the highly complex problems that arise in the luxury retail environment.
Students learn the complexity of the luxury industry and the interrelationships between all business functions within a luxury retail environment, and develop the skills and behaviors to become trustworthy brand ambassadors.
The program provides all the theories and practical knowledge necessary to develop the skills that can lead to careers in:
- Retail Management (Retail Manager, Area Manager, Store Manager),
- Luxury Distribution,
- Merchandising and Retail Buying,
- International Marketing
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and subject to change
This course focuses on the critical elements impacting the quality and nature of the luxury purchasing experience. It also analyzes the different distribution networks as well as the business models and strategies behind each: retail (directly operated stores, flagships, concept stores, shop-in-shop, corners, etc) and wholesale.
Students will learn how to adapt the luxury retail outlet to conform to customers' expectations in terms of services, mood, atmosphere, physical impression, and sensation; and will appreciate the importance of the tactile elements of the luxury shopping experience in communicating the brand message.
This practical course aims to create the link with the Marketing and Business departments in retail oriented businesses. The course is designed to ensure students gain a practical understanding of how the retail buying and product development divisions within a retail organization work and to explain the interactions with the other departments.
This course enables students learn how to develop and buy a collection, and how to calculate the purchase budget: understanding of the Collection Plan and Purchase notions, understand what is at stake in the various industries with a wide vision, and be able to understand and develop a Purchase Plan.
Retail marketing activities are based on strategic plans and detailed operations and many decisions are taken with regard to merchandising, business analysis, sales processes, sales force management, in-store communication and a host of other challenging aspects. The course will enable students to learn how marketing and branding strategies can support and facilitate the business.
The course focuses on a broad theoretical framework as well as the tools which are fundamental to luxury retail management. Participants will understand the luxury retail landscape and also learn about key retail marketing issues and instruments. Particular emphasis will be placed on effective retail operations management with a strategic approach.
This course focuses on what luxury operations managers do, how operations management involves a range of business functions, and the tools that operations managers use. Supply chain and logistics issues are assessed and discussed using topical examples from the luxury retail industry. Stock management techniques at the point of sale are also addressed. This course explains also the significance of inventory management in retail – with a strong focus on the apparel and luxury segments.
We will describe the fundamental techniques to manage different types of inventories, and when to use these in practice. We will discuss how uncertainty impacts inventory systems, and will focus on demand forecasting techniques, through a very practical class exercise using fashion products.
This course will develop a framework for understanding the essential elements of the real estate market related to luxury retail assets. In particular, the students will have an overview of real estate as asset class with the objective to understand the main dynamics of market both from an investing and operational stand point.
This course introduces the Emerging Markets' diverse and unique business environment; it also examines the key elements and common themes of business management and doing business in these countries. Students will identify the key value drivers in your business and they will study how the luxury retail industry can increase the business in the emerging markets.
Luxury business in mature markets is going to change radically in the next 10 years.
The objective of the course is to free mental resources and rethink afresh a new luxury model for mature markets. Using the learning from the experience of the industry leader; students will also be able to mix the elements of the retail toolbox to obtain a higher return on investment, playing by the rules and innovating at the same time.
After having worked for many years within companies such as Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent in product and distribution-related positions, I am now Wholesale Director at Sonia Rykiel.
Why Luxury Distribution is a pillar course in the Luxury Retail program?
For the last two decades, international Luxury Groups have been focusing on various topics in order to improve the profitability of their Brands. They first focused on Global Image and Product portfolio, so that their offer was lean and clear to the final customer, plus well-advertised.
Once this cleaning work had been done, they had to focus on how to distribute the said products in the most efficient way. Distribution covers everything related to business, i.e. finding the right locations and format of business, managing the right people, implementing the right processes, always at the service of a vision that needs to make sense. This is why this course is to me quite crucial for students willing to enter a Luxury-related career.
The students in the MSc in Luxury Management have to follow a Career Development Seminar, which is divided in 3 main sequences, and thus supporting the Msc students in their internship or job search strategies.
Some of the companies where IUM Luxury Alumni have interned or are still working:
Cartier, Christian Dior, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Hermes, Yacht Club Monaco, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Salvatore Ferragamo, Saint-Laurent Paris, Bottega Veneta, Chalhoub Group, Lanvin, Façonnable, Valentino...
The amazing academic experience offered by the MLUX program was for me the ultimate way of entry into the professional world.
Now working in the luxury industry, I realize on a daily basis how valuable is the 'know-how' provided by MSc in Luxury Management courses and professors.
This course consolidated my passion towards luxury retail management and gave me the keys to better understand and develop my future in the industry.
As a student in the MLUX program, I was exposed to different aspects of the luxury business. It's a once in a lifetime experience, hard to be found anywhere else.
The well balanced curriculum not only strengthened my knowledge of the luxury business, but also allowed me to reflect on it in depth.
During my time at IUM, I was also able to build invaluable relationships with industry professionals and with my colleagues.
Working in merchandising is challenging but very interesting at the same time: it requires continuous patience and attentiveness. It's not just related to understanding the trends and selecting merchandises for specific countries/regions. To be a good merchandiser implies transferring all the company’s messages and thoughts to our front line colleagues, retail team, and allowing them to eventually influence and anticipate the customers' purchasing habits and behavior.
I think I'm very lucky, because I was chosen by a company which not only understands my enthusiasm for luxury industry, but is also willing to give me a chance to dedicate my passion for the brand.
Now I'm really looking forward to my future in Bottega Veneta, the people I will meet there and the new experiences and challenges to come...