Supported in digitalization, they have been present in e-commerce for sometime, as well as in online advertising and social networks, and in the world of promotions through loyalty programs targeted at their consumers, which is why they are surpassing the traditional channel by far, and this can be seen in productivity levels.
The new challenge for the modern channel lies in taking advantage of the ecosystem of technological consumers in order to carry out smartmarketing activities and business process optimization at the point of sale, based on knowledge of a customer who generates and shares information on their buying habits through their smartphone.
Despite the current and future competitive advantages of these large retail chains, the traditional channel is still the biggest and most profitable channel for most manufacturers of consumer products, since with more than 700,000 stores, every day it serves the vast majority of Mexicans with its offer of proximity and warm service.
Manufacturers, wholesalers, storekeepers, governments and consumers agree that the survival and modernization of the traditional channel is a window of opportunity for the country's transformation.
The digitalization of stores is undoubtedly one of the steps that must be taken to increase the competitiveness of this sector, and although the challenge of introducing technology into this channel on a massive scale seems ambitious, we are seeing that the ecosystem will very soon be ready to support this transformation, because unlike in the past, in which companies who embraced technology pushed for changes in habits in society, now it is the technologically savvy society that will trigger change in companies.
There are several initiatives attempting to partially meet this opportunity with offers of technology for “top-up” sales and service charges, management of POS through systems controlled by bar code readers, and terminals for payment by bank cards; indeed, they are beginning to generate incremental traffic in stores that embrace them early.
These technification efforts are aimed primarily at generating traffic to bring additional revenue for the storekeeper and the company offering the service, but they still aren’t causing efficiencies in the supply chain or opening communication channels between stores and manufacturers. These issues must be resolved through digitalization in order to make the channel sustainable in the long term.
The massive implementation of a POS terminal with 360° vision which can solve comprehensively the channel digitalization will surely be the answer to the lack of competitiveness of microretailers. The execution of a project of such magnitude requires an effort coordinated between producers, governments and storekeepers; however, it is an effort that will pay off, since the benefits are highly valuable to all parties. After digitalization, product manufacturers may be more assertive in marketing strategies and supply channel, shopkeepers will keep their places of self-employment and the government will be setting foot in the path of banking and formalization of these businesses. The question still stands: when?
Note: ConMéxico, Storecheck and the Federal Government, through inadem, are running a pilot program for the digitalization of the traditional channel in the state of Querétaro.
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