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“Sales channel integration is an undeniable reality in Brazil,” Marília Borges, Euromonitor International

Euromonitor’s research analyst says that Brazilian retailers are aware of the importance of having a strong presence in both the physical and digital space and highlights O Boticário and Natura as multi-channel players.

A few decades ago, consumers had fewer ways to buy products. The most common of them was to walk into the closest shop and make the purchase. This mode of shopping has not gone out of fashion, but with the latest technological advances and the popularization of smartphones, it has gained more and more strong competitors – or should we say allies?

Marilia Borges, research analyst at Euromonitor International

Marilia Borges, research analyst at Euromonitor International

Physical retailing will continue to exist. What changes are the strategies retailers need to use to engage with customers. It is important to understand that digital channels are not rivals, but rather an additional resource to enhance the customers’ experience and engage with the brand,” says Marília Borges, research analyst at Euromonitor International. She states that sales channel integration is an undeniable reality in Brazil and retailers are unanimous in recognizing the importance of having a strong presence both in the online and offline world.

Professor of marketing at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), Leandro Guissoni believes that the omnichannel retail is going through a transitional period in Brazil and that there still is much work to be done. “Based on surveys conducted with companies operating in the retail space, we identified they have expanded their points of contact with consumers. However, they still need to develop processes that optimize the integration of physical stores with apps for smartphones, call centers and social networks,” he says.

Both Borges and Guissoni highlight two cosmetic giants in Brazil as good examples of the multi-channel strategy. “You can see players like O Boticário and Natura operating in several channels and exploring new ways to reach consumers,” says Borges. “By moving towards the omnichannel trend, Natura started to focus on its physical stores, e-commerce and apps to interact with both consumers and sales representatives instead of relying solely on direct sales,” Guissoni adds. “O Boticário, on the other hand, used to operate only through its physical stores and e-commerce platform and has recently made a move into direct sales.

He says the connection between the stores and the online environment, including social media channels and apps, allows companies to obtain accurate information about the customers and their consumption habits, leading to more customized offers and higher chances to convert leads into sales. Sephora, for example, has an app that tracks the geolocation of customers that have joined its loyalty program. Whenever they approach one of the stores, the network can send promotions based on heir purchase history.

With more than 50 years of tradition, Ikesaki Cosméticos has recently introduced a service that allows consumers and beauty professionals to buy through the website and collect the products in one of the company’s megastores in São Paulo. This option combines the convenience of online shopping with the in-store experience, where customers can try new products, keep up with the latest market trends and get together with beauty consultants.

For consumers, the omnichannel retail strategy means more freedom of choice. “They are able to compare prices and choose how they will make the purchase – at the closest store to avoid freight charges, through e-commerce to save the time and effort of visiting a store, or thought the brand’s app without the need of using a computer,” says Borges.

She points out two major challenges for retailers – to offer the same prices online and offline and to make it possible for customers to return or exchange the goods using the sales channel that is more convenient to them, regardless of where they made the purchase. Borges adds that “companies must also keep in mind that the poor quality of mobile internet connection in some regions of Brazil are still a hurdle to a more aggressive mobile retail system.

Renata Martins

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