Presented the results of the 16th International Retail Congress 2019

Transformation. The business model of the sector demands new focuses that appeal to investment in technology and creativity to seduce the consumer, in addition to knowing their consumption habits.

Amazon developed intelligent robots that run operations in their distribution centers. The Mexican chain Oxxo included financial services in more than 16,000 convenience stores. In Spain, the Inditex emporium applied the intensive use of cloud computing and big data to detect the changes and fashions that arise among its potential clients and Leroy Merlin created a social network for DIY users.

According to their market and target, these corporations in the retail sector presume to be the ones that lead the way for others behind them and are characterised by agreeing on some aspects that some experts in new trends call disruption. Others coincide with speed in learning and adaptation to consumer needs, the axis of today’s retailers.

The president of the Bolivian Association of Supermarkets (Asobsuper), Sergio Weise, said that consumers are the ‘rockstars’ of physical and digital points of sale, who are not afraid to question the service provided if they feel they are not served in the areas of interest. “You have to be fast and flexible to be strong to the rapid changes in the economy and invest to meet the needs of the user,” he said.

Market research firm Nielsen profiles the regional user as withdrawn and with low levels of confidence. Their statistics show that eight out of ten Latinos think their country is in economic recession and a similar number have already ‘adjusted their belts’ to save; they want to make their money count, according to Nielsen Retail Services and Solutions Manager Martin Contini.

The consultant’s characterization details that the consumer is not only attracted to low prices, but also the proximity of the place of purchase, the assortment and the specific product, in addition to seeking to spend as little time as possible in stores: they are enemies of long lines to pay and prefer to have all services in one place.

Along these lines, the tendency to want things fast shifts from time frames to forms of delivery, also connecting the logistical field. Logistics infrastructure specialist Pablo Bobba emphasized that to optimize an investment in distribution centers it is essential to structure the operational processes and functionality of the business and the next step is the development of facilities for any activity or business.

In this aspect, the inclusion of technologies comes into play, such as an operations management software to know the traceability of retailers’ initiatives, who often fall into the error of focusing only on stock management, according to the executive, who landed his ideas in the International Retail Forum, developed at the Chamber of Industry, Commerce, Services and Tourism of Santa Cruz (Cainco).

“More than deceleration, this is a stage of concentration of demand; the best service concentrates the benefit of the consumer, where not only prices play, but also value proposals where the efficiency of processes, delivery times and guarantees are sharpened. They are elements that the consumer prefers to a company,” said the CEO of Dismac, Luis Fernando Saavedra.

Meanwhile, the manager of Chavez Pharmacies, Leonardo Salvatierra, coincided with these perspectives and assured that the use of logistic tools and technologies is fundamental for the search for productivity and efficiency in times when labor costs tend to rise, while arguing that the technical part is essential for the development of points of sale and new business initiatives.

In this way, the pharmacy chain relies on new axes such as the construction of a distribution center, the consolidation of its franchise model -Santo Remedio- and the transformation of the internal structure of the corporation. “It is necessary to be in a constant change of the business model. The market has its limitations and is hit by counterfeiting and smuggling. Of course you have to adjust the belt without touching people,” Salvatierra explained.

The third manifestation to complete the harmonious triangle of retail – in addition to knowing the consumer and focussing on logistics – falls on the change of mentality that appeals to emotions and consumer comforts, according to branding specialist Edner Granados.

“In the retail sector, many companies do not understand the rules that affect rapid learning and immediate execution, constant reinvention, the application of new trends and being attractive to the consumer. Now it is foreign companies that want the place of Bolivian retailers and that is a global competition,” said Granados.

On the other hand, the partner and director of Beauty Plaza, Martha Cristina Franco, the evolution of retail in Santa Cruz continues to expand and companies must look towards the focus of a specialized target, an example of this is the gourmet area of the shopping center he directs. In addition, she assured that the inclusion of services (not only commerce) is fundamental.

The executive stressed that there is a slowdown in the sector, but it is not something critical, but a normal evolution that is waiting for the entry of new international brands that have their eye on the region.

“When I go to a store and I don’t find my favorite brand I can change it, but when I look for my brand on the Internet and I don’t find it and they send me another one, the perception is different. Under this scenario Pablo Bobba explained that companies must have a guaranteed stock for consumers and break with the barriers of delivery times at door.

“It is not possible for a pizza to be prepared and delivered in 30 minutes and other items such as a shirt take up to 72 hours,” said the executive. He added that it is necessary to do a review not only for technology, but also for logistical tools that help respond to customer satisfaction and lower costs.

Cainco’s president, Fernando Hurtado, said that companies have a challenge with respect to purchases by intenet and alternative means of payment and celebrated the innovation that occurs in Bolivia, where retail is no longer conceived without technology.

Friendship’. Analysts consider it essential that the retailer be close to the industrial to know the decision of the consumer. The category leader who seeks to grow its brand is not relevant.

Effect. User behaviour triggers potential responses in other sectors such as industry, which launch signals such as new packaging, sizes or delivery forms.

Market. From the importer Opal, the chief of marketing, Yovanna Ribera, observed that outside the sixth ring of the city of Santa Cruz there is potential for the development of investments in the retail sector. “It is necessary so that importers can also have new showcases,” she said.

Alliances. Bárbara Cronembold, head of the Hipermaxi chain marketinga, said it is important that the user feels included in the strategies of a company.