The Electronic Retailing Association

In the Hot Seat: Paolo Iacono, the new CEO of HSE24 Italy

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Paolo Iacono is the new CEO of HSE24 Italy

 

Paolo Iacono joined HSE24 Italy from Giocoplast, a leading Italian company specialized in the distribution and commercialization of articles for seasonal festivities, where he held the position of Managing Director since 2014.

His previous companies include the famous Finnish company Fiskars, for which he directed the Italian subsidiary, and the Hasbro toys factory. He also founded and led Atari, Italy, and worked in major multinational consumer goods companies such as Unilever and Sara Lee.

Paolo Iacono graduated in business administration from Bocconi University in Milan.

Contact:

HSE24 S.p.A.

Viale delle Arti, 171

00054 Fiumicino (RM)

Italy

phone: +39 06 94511205

email: m.mari@hse24.it

website: www.hse24.it

ERA Europe: Thank you for taking the Interview Hot Seat for ERA Europe. Please introduce yourself to the ERA Europe members.

PI: I studied business administration at the Bocconi University of Milan, the city where I grew up and the heart of the Italian economy. I have huge experience in marketing and sales that I gained in the field by working in renowned international companies such as Unilever, Sara Lee, Fiskars and Hasbro.

I like challenges and I have chosen to face a new one in the home shopping sector, which is a very different market compared to those I have previously explored during my career.

ERA Europe: Why have you chosen to work in the Home Shopping Industry?

PI: E-commerce is growing gaining a greater share of the retail market sales. Home Shopping is an interesting experience where clients can’t immediately touch the product with their hands.

No longer focusing only on TV shopping, the HSE24 sales model now consequently integrates multiple channels of distance selling such as TV, online and mobile platforms to offer the customers a multi-media shopping experience anytime and anywhere.

On TV the expert demonstrates and explains the product, on the website customers can discover details, search with filters and finalize purchase anytime and wherever they are, and then there is social media, where we face the community and consumers receive the most interesting proposals directly on their own wall.

I want to be part of this world and steer it into a huge success in Italy.

ERA Europe: You joined HSE24 Italy as the new CEO on 1st February 2017. What has surprised you most in your first few weeks on the job?

HSE Italy set featuring a live fashion presentation on the catwalk.

PI: I have been impressed by the incredible machinery behind the cameras. I realized that TV Shopping is incredibly complicated and requires a lot of specialized professionals from different areas from both the world of television and from the retail industry. It’s an engineering opera involving many departments, all part of an accurate and detailed integrated plan, calibrated to seconds. A surprising and impressive world that you can only fully understand when you physically experience it yourself, live.

ERA Europe: Which Home Shopping product has impressed you most and what was the first product you bought?

PI: I am not exactly the typical HSE24 customer, who is usually female, but I tried the food supplements, which are undoubtedly among the most successful products in our portfolio and meet the needs of a varied target audience. I am impressed by the strong growth that the wellness industry has had in recent years, a sign of the great demand. The experts that are on TV are very reliable and so they have become really very popular wellness consultants for our customers.

ERA Europe: Which of your accomplishments were instrumental in shaping your career?

PI: My experience at Hasbro, the second largest manufacturer of toys in the world, gave me great satisfaction. The challenges within an international holding company with such high volumes are not a “game”, but the US experience is very educational and in the case of Hasbro, the playful theme makes it fun to face even the most difficult tasks. The game world also fascinates me personally. I love the fun side of life and, in my opinion, entertainment is essential for every human being. So, today I am dealing with entertainment in the shopping world.

ERA Europe: You are no stranger to the international retail environment. How would you describe the challenges of the retail market in Italy?

PI: The retail market in Italy has to deal with the giants of globalization that offer innovative products at competitive prices, subverting market rules. Amazon, for example, is a player who taught most of all, even Italians, a smart way to shop from which it is difficult to go back. Today the challenge is to keep up with the rules of the global market. Consumers, hungry for opportunity and innovation without boundaries, do not intend to miss out!

HSE24 Italy delivers a omni-channel shopping experience tailored to each client's needs: TV, Internet, Mobile, Social Media.

ERA Europe: Where do you see the specific strength of HSE24 Italy?

PI: HSE24 Italy, supported by our headquarters in Germany, has reorganized its internal structure to deliver an omni-channel shopping experience. Every instrument of contact with the public is for us an opportunity for dialogue with them, to create a shopping experience tailored to each client: on TV the expert explains the product in detail and entertains the audience, the website offers the entire catalogue of 10,000 products regardless of where you are or on which device, and via social media we bring our world to our clients personal wall. The strength lies in the integration of all these points of contact and others that we will develop.

ERA Europe: What do you personally hope to accomplish within the next year at HSE24 Italy?

PI: To drive TV shopping and to make it a popular method of making a purchase, as recognized and appreciated as was the case for e-commerce.

ERA Europe: Where do you see HSE24 Italy focussing its efforts in the coming years?

PI: The search for brands and exclusive products which would win over an audience of young, modern women with hectic lives, whose days are filled with lots of stimuli and many commitments… this is for me a mission. I'm focusing a lot of efforts on the part of my staff in the selection of excellence tailored to this business model.

ERA Europe: Who are your biggest market competitors and how do you plan to differentiate yourself from them?

PI: In Italy there is only one other company that makes TV Shopping. We have a common goal, spreading knowledge of this business model to a more widespread audience who do not yet know this shopping experience consisting of simplicity, convenience and reliability. There is still much to do, and we will get better results by joining our efforts.

ERA Europe: We are delighted that you will be taking part in the MCMS panel discussions at the ERA Europe Venice Conference in June. Without giving too much away here, would you say you are well prepared for the digital future? Do you think that home shopping is in a good position?

PI: Thinking of home shopping as an omni-channel experience, yes!

ERA Europe: Paolo Iacono, thankyou for your time. We are looking forward to seeing you in Venice!