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Markets & trends

How technology is redefining customer experience

Online and offline retail trends provide insights into new practices in the Brazilian beauty industry. A key channel for the cosmetics industry, retail is going through a massive reinvention with new technological advancements in both the online and offline space.

[en Beauty Fair's director, Cesar Tsukuda

[en Beauty Fair’s director, Cesar Tsukuda

The transformation of big data into intelligence on consumer behavior and preferences, the creation of more attractive shopping experiences and streamlined checkouts through new payment applications were some of the trends pointed out by the Brazilian delegation to this year’s NRF Retail’s Big Show, in New York. The group of 53 business executives of the fragrance industry led by Beauty Fair representatives focused on technical visits and targeted meetings at the event.

The death of paper money in countries such as China, the rise of cryptocurrencies and new mobile payment services prompt a discussion about the future of currencies worldwide. Emerging technologies also point to solutions to reduce shopping cart abandonment and improve the customer’s experience, including user-friendly checkouts and automated applications that digitize transactions, and send invoices and receipts electronically.

In this scenario, the role of retail now extends beyond physical shops to encompass the entire purchasing process, including services, logistics and delivery – all integrated through technology. Rather than simply selling products, retail stores must be able to act as product curators. “We have to adapt and quicken our pace to meet customer demands. Our stores needs to offer what clients are looking for, rather than what we want to sell,” says Danilo Loretto, executive director at Perfumaria Sumirê, who attended the event.

To encourage competitiveness and increase product visibility, companies must focus on the customer, says Beauty Fair’s director, Cesar Tsukuda. “Perfumeries are geared to evolve in their relationship with customers with a mix of products and services. They are moving away from simple points of sale towards experimentation environments.

Bespoke retail has become key with increasingly customized customer service, offers and delivery options. In the online space, it presents consumers with an “infinite shelf” of product possibilities, which are no longer restricted to physical space.

Globalization is also shaping the retail experience. “Cross-border ecommerce, or international online trade, is an opportunity for Brazilian brands to expand their international reach”, says Tsukuda.

Danilo Loretto, executive director at Perfumaria Sumirê

Danilo Loretto, executive director at Perfumaria Sumirê

Data intelligence is crucial in converting large business-related data sets – also known as ’big data’ – into opportunities. Technology allows retailers to analyze consumer habits, impressions and preferences. However, having the data at hand is not enough – companies need to grasp the information and use it in their favor. “The in-store experience is an important channel to create the wow factor and improve customer loyalty. We have to define our processes from our customer base, adopting unique strategies based on experience and sales customization to attract our target audience,” says Loretto. He states that technology will guide customer behavior in the next 30 years since consumers will be more connected than ever before.

Tsukuda was impressed with the current Brazilian fragrance retail scene in relation to the practices seen at NRF Retail’s Big Show. He says the good news is that technology is becoming more affordable. However, caution is needed in implementing new strategies. “Ideally, we shouldn’t get too excited and put all the technologies into practice in one go. It’s better to take one step at a time and take advantage of the ones that offer better value for money.

Amanda Veloso

Portfolio

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