THE SUPERMARKET ON THE CORNER OR THE COMPUTER?

It is important to find the balance, understand that the product is not the main thing and that the customer is the main thing and the need that the client wants to satisfy

Some years ago, in a class that was dictating in Argentina to a group of managers of an international chain of supermarkets, there was a conversation about the formats of stores that were coming for the future of the industry and the discussion revolved around large stores (hypermarkets) or small stores to compete with the rise of Chinese supermarkets that were capturing an increasingly large portion of the market.

My question was simple, why open so many stores? The answer was obvious. “Retail is a business of proximity and has to be close to the customer” and my response was: “What is closer, the supermarket on the corner or the computer?”. Nobody imagined their mothers, at that time, buying online but neither their children losing four hours a day in a store making purchases of food and beverages. The exponential increase in technology that we all have available in its various formats, whether computer, tablets, smartphones and others, brought products closer to customers, with increasingly intelligent buyers, who demand memorable experiences of purchase by any point of contact they have with the places of sale.

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Now, is everything going to be online? Do not forget that tomorrow there will be large consumers with purchasing power that will tip the balance of online shopping. As the population ages, higher percentages of consumers will be connected and online purchases will continue to grow. Building trust at the start is the basis for sustaining lifelong loyalty in buyers. These customers stepped forward using all the elements they had to maximize their benefits, either in price, when there is no differential value in the products or in personal satisfaction when a service or product meets a personal need relevant. To do this, they use all the elements at their disposal generating a growing challenge to companies,

They want them to recognize them, understand them, understand them and attend when they want and that can be at any time of the day and anywhere in the world where they are, but it is not clear that everything will be online in the future ; each occasion of sale will have its preferred channel, this occasion is generated by the buyer and the need that it wants to satisfy, so omnichannel, which happens to be a key concept, seems to be an option for companies where technology It becomes a differential element to meet these needs. Today, the biggest challenge that companies have is to know more and better customers, make the best deals, bring the products they need, when they need it and where they require it. For this, there are tools that collect data,

Artificial intelligence is taking giant steps to help companies at this point, virtual assistants who “talk” with clients as if they were human, are always available (and in a good mood!), And are the spearhead, since they not only serve and help customers but also help companies to collect data on tastes and preferences, in a transparent manner. If we talk about retail, the challenge is constant because it requires transforming a business that is impersonal, massive and made up of several segments, in a more personalized and focused on the specific tastes of each person. All this is something totally new for the industry, with different and disruptive rules. Companies need to know more about their customers, have a one-to-one contact. Is this consumer requirement new? People who are between 3540 years old will remember from their childhood, that their parents went to the neighborhood retailer, talked with the owner of the place, who asked them about relatives, usually by name, suggesting them to buy something specific (“I know that you make that cake so rich and here came this ingredient you need for this weekend “). Or for example, when one of the children was going to make purchases and doubts about a product, it was the merchant who told him which product to carry with phrases like “it’s the one your mother always carries”. I suggested to them to buy something specific (“I know that you make this cake so rich and here came this ingredient that you need for this weekend”). Or for example, when one of the children was going to make purchases and doubts about a product, it was the merchant who told him which product to carry with phrases like “it’s the one your mother always carries”. I suggested to them to buy something specific (“I know that you make this cake so rich and here came this ingredient that you need for this weekend”). Or for example, when one of the children was going to make purchases and doubts about a product, it was the merchant who told him which product to carry with phrases like “it’s the one your mother always carries”.

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Therefore, to guide its customer experience and revenue growth management strategies, both in the retailer and in large physical stores or online, is that companies are relying on innovations in artificial intelligence. They are managing to combine the strengths of the most disruptive technologies to obtain as much information as possible about their clients, allowing them to make better decisions and transform their companies into companies that continuously learn and therefore grow sustainably.

Finally, it is important to find the balance, understand that the product is not the main thing and that the customer is the paramount and the need that he wants to satisfy. The one that considers the buyer as a robot that will always choose the cheapest and most accessible will be wrong. There are elements that make a person choose one or another option for situations or circumstances that go beyond economic value, which go on the side of human needs and how they are served, depending on time and circumstances. Understanding and decoding this is a central element of any strategy you want to perform. This is not new, as the neighborhood retailer did many years ago.

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