Retail Profile – Back to true retail

With more than 1,000 stores between Casas Bahia and Pontofrio, in 20 states and the Federal District, Via Varejo restructures operations and expands investments. "In e-commerce, including third-party sales, we expect growth of more than 30% for the year," says the company's CEO, Roberto Fulcherberguer.

Boasting over 1,000 stores among Casas Bahia and Pontofrio in 20 states and the Federal District, Via Varejo restructures operations and wants to offer the best purchase experience to the consumer, regardless of its channel.

By Leda Cavalcanti and Neusa Japiassu

There are many Via Varejo’s plans for 2020, beginning with its on and offline operations integration. It will also keep investing in expansion to occupy potential consumer areas and where it’s still not present, in being with the customer with the best solution and to enhance its performance every quarter. “We’re working with a two digit total sales increase prediction, starting from restructuring operations and broadening investments. In e-commerce, including third-party sales, we predict a growth of over 30% for the year”, says the company CEO, Roberto Fulcherberguer.

Roberto Fulcherberguer, CEO of Via Varejo

Since July 2019, when he took over the company, the CEO has prepared himself for a complete makeover, back to true retail and promoting growth. He has enhanced physical and digital environments, improved delivery and trained the sales team to create an ecosystem that enabled sustainable growth. He’s opened 50 stores, regained a strong media presence, used social media and integrated them, the CEO says. “We’re back in the game with a well-trained team. Our share on Black Friday with an unprecedented sales result, with more than BRL 1 billion in a single day is a proof of that.”

Currently, Via Varejo has over 1,000 stores, among Casas Bahia and Pontofrio in 20 states and the Federal District. It has 26 distribution centers located in the five regions of the country, the largest of them in Jundiaí (SP), also considered the biggest in Latin America. Its largest unit is Mega Loja Pontofrio, at Marginal Tietê, São Paulo, and the main Casas Bahia unit is in São Caetano do Sul downtown, where the company is headquartered. It has approximately 47 thousand employees.

Casas Bahia, São Caetano/SP
Credit: Della Rocca

Consumption and technology

Electronics sales, white line, telephones, TVs, small appliances and furniture are the company’s main products, but in sites and apps, through marketplace, there’s a greater product range, from tires to toys. “Technology has changed consumers’ behavior, they want the freedom of relating to brands in different ways, directly in the store or in the site or phone app. With this closer proximity, they need this relationship to be light and fast. For that reason, our challenge is to always provide the best purchase experience, regardless of channel, the CEO says.

This technology progress fits like a glove with Via Varejo’s purpose, which has been trying to use this to provide more purchase and payment options to the consumers, Roberto tells. “In our specific case, the challenge is to not let the technology commoditization take place in brands. We must use data and artificial intelligence to stand out in customer support. Clients can choose how to purchase and how they want goods delivered, and right now we have the chance to interact with them by offering solutions, aid, and product and the customers knowledge. It is at this time that technology humanizes itself, and this will be indeed the grand evolution in retail.”

Via Varejo also wants to broaden its e-commerce share for considering it an extremely important sector for its business. Thus, its goal is to offer logistic, marketing and post-sales solutions to companies. In the marketplace, it operates since 2013, having over five thousand sellers that make more than two million products available in several categories. “We follow a thorough seller selection to see if they are trusted to use our brand”, Roberto states.

Retail speed

2019 registered an increase in families’ consumption, even though a small one, primarily in e-commerce, which indicates that the next economic cycle could be even better, but not with the expected speed. Companies have been investing even more, there’s a slight improvement in unemployment levels, factors which make the consumer more confident, the CEO says. “Retail has its role in this setting, as it is a big employer. The important thing is that the cycle gains momentum and that it can be sustainable for a long period”, he says.

Commercial department of
Via Varejo, São Caetano do Sul/SP

A dynamic world, retail must move quickly to grow and survive in a challenging setting, Roberto adds. “Currently we must integrate sales channels, understand consumers’ purchase behavior evolution, which has been going through major economic, structural and technological changes. We have to provide them great customer support and purchase experience and that’s what we’ve been doing, a simple and well done retail, aware of these changes.”

One of the largest electronics retailers in Brazil, Via Varejo is responsible for managing physical and e-commerce stores of the Casas Bahia and Pontofrio brand, in addition to Extra’s website. Founded in 2010 as Globex Utilidades S/A and made official with trade name Via Varejo S.A. in 2012, the company has a listed capital at BM&FBovespa since 2013.

Source: Revista Eletrolar News ed. 135

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