In just under one month’s time eCommerce Expo 2019 opens its doors at the Olympia in London. Looking ahead to September, Techerati has sat down with some of the event’s most high-profile speakers to get underneath the tech and find out what makes them tick. Next up is Kristina Kaganer, Global VP of Digital Data and Commerce at US beauty giant Coty
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
I don’t know that I can ever pinpoint one specific ambition. As a child, I was always very excited and eager. I did all the normal things that you would expect kids to do like basketball, football and dance. But I also was very excited about entrepreneurship.
My dad opened his own restaurant when I was about seven and every Saturday was spent preparing the restaurant for the week and then doing something fun. So from an early age I knew ambition didn’t have to be just that. And even making it happen didn’t have to be painful. The most important thing I learned is that ambition alone is never enough. You need a strong support network of people who are willing to be your biggest cheerleaders and a can-do attitude.
Drive or talent: Which translates into success?
Hands down, drive. First of all, everyone has some kind of talent. There will also be someone better than you at something. Drive is realising that and recognising that you need to work together not compete against each other. Everyone brings a different perspective and a different contribution.
What is your current ambition?
To continue to challenge myself and my team. I have a wonderful group of people who have worked alongside me every step of the way. They have risen to some seemingly impossible goals and I want us to continue to keep doing that and of course have fun along the way.
What does digital transformation mean to you?
You can cut the word digital out. Digital transformation is just about transformation. What I know now is that digital transformation is just about changing your ways of working to accommodate the speed of digital.
One thing that frustrates you about the digital transformation debate.
I wouldn’t say I am frustrated. I would say that I am choosing to sit this one out. I am just not sure how you debate something where you don’t have a shared definition.
One of the biggest challenges facing eCommerce today.
I always equate eCommerce to the history of language. Today we are at the point where the written word has not been created. You have stories and best practices being passed down from one eCommerce professional to another but you don’t yet have that single truth we can pass down to the next generation of eCommerce professionals.
What excites you most about the future of eCommerce?
The ability to really understand what matters to our consumers! I spent years hearing mobile first, mobile first but I did almost nothing on my mobile phone. I was almost ashamed to admit that, as if I was in some strange group of people that would never and could never understand technology. Interestingly enough now that I can see the full user journey of consumers, I know that I am not alone.
Sure, mobile is still really important for some audiences. But some people like me, only shop at very set times and prefer the larger screen experience, the more detailed (product detail pages) PDPs and even being able to see everything on one window without a scroll. So I hope the future of eCommerce can continue to educate us that being consumer first is different than being best practice first. We really need to understand what we can do to add to the journey and make sure that we are present every step of the way – whether it’s awareness, education or conversion, different channels play different roles.