Career Story

New ways of working are shaping the future of retail at Stockmann

Retail is a highly competitive industry and changing constantly. New players are entering the landscape all the time and the old ones are working hard to keep up with the expectations of the customers. Andres Alango, who works as Head of Group Business Control at Stockmann, follows the development of the industry from a top spot.

”To succeed in the retail business, we have to be relevant for the customers. What kind of experience do they look for, how do they want to buy, what is important for them in the purchase journey. Therefore, everything we do, starts with the customer.

This means that we have to listen very carefully to our customers and make sure that we are open for the change that is needed to serve them well at every level.”

“We are working hard to personalize the customer journey as much as possible”

Stockmann has made significant changes to the organization during the last couple of years. This has had a huge impact on the way people work.

“We’ve had some difficult years, during which we did not listen to our customers well enough. With the organizational change we are more agile and able to better listen to and respond to the needs of the customers, who are constantly looking for more personalized services and products.

The ways we offer service and products both in our web store and our physical stores and the way we can combine these two, outruns a major part of our competitors. The goal is always to find solutions that are the most convenient for the customers. Convenience often means personalization of services, products and even communication.”

“Working together across borders and units helps me develop professionally”

“The organizational change we made, also means that people no longer work in separate silos. The people in different units work as a team and bring together experts from all countries. And when the plans we make are cross functional, it makes it easier to reach the targets we have agreed upon. Regardless of role, everyone is working towards the same goal of creating a better customer experience.

Real teamwork across country boarders motivates me personally and the opportunity to work with talented people from different countries, has helped me develop professionally in many areas.

The results of our new way of working are already reflected in the financial result, and enabling investments for the future.”

“My career path has been filled with opportunities”

“I started working at Stockmann as a part time helper and sales assistant in different Fashion departments, while still at school. After graduating I was offered a position as a department manager, where I had the opportunity to put the management skills I had learnt into practice. In 2012, I started my international career at Stockmann, during which time I worked on various ERP projects in Finland, Baltics and Russia.

A business controller position in 2015 was again a different task and took me to the finance function and in 2018 I was promoted to CFO for the Estonian operations. Since the beginning of 2022, I have been working in my current position as Head of Stockmann Group Business Control.

Looking back on my career path, it has been full of different learning curves when it comes to developing new skills and building know-how. It has really been a great journey with a lot of opportunities.”

“I want my team to be motivated, flourish and grow”

As Head of Group Business Control, it means that people are reporting to Andres. An important task is to constantly inspire and empower his team and make sure everyone is working in sync towards the same goals.

“I personally think that the best way to inspire people is to understand what motivates them and to give them the freedom to make decisions concerning their job. At Stockmann we also strive for transparency in the decision-making process, which is another good way of motivating people and build trust.

Trust is king and learning will happen where mistakes are allowed. Actually, my objective is to help my team to manage without me and to make myself useless.

In my view Stockmann’s customer centric and international operations provide employees a favorable place to flourish and grow. There are not many companies like Stockmann and I am really excited to be part of a team that will reinvent the retail industry.”