Grupo Efe wanted to enable all Peruvians to enjoy the latest home and electronics goods. With in-store space at a premium, how could it help people in rural communities to shop its entire catalog?
Grupo Efe is delivering e-commerce to all its retail brands, enabling customers new to online shopping to reserve online and pay in one of over 40,000 different payment locations nationwide.
Enablescustomers to shop the entire Grupo Efe catalog, increasing consumer choice
Supportsfirst-time e-commerce shoppers with the flexibility to pay offline
Opensup a valuable new market and drives incremental sales
Business challenge story
Making a house feel like home
“People who live in the capital city in Peru are able to purchase the latest technology for their homes,” says Kelly Cronin, E-Commerce Manager at Grupo Efe. “But Peru is a large country, and people living in rural communities simply don’t have access to these products or services. Our goal is to give all Peruvians the chance to live better.”
Through its three retail brands—La Curacao, Tiendas Efe and Motocorp—Grupo Efe has offered consumer electronics and white goods to customers across Peru for more than 40 years. With nearly 200 stores nationwide, the group also offers financing products to make purchases affordable for low- and middle-income Peruvians.
Kelly Cronin continues: “Many of our customers are young people just starting families, and we want to be there for them when they need their first refrigerator, washing machine or TV set. In the past, we relied on our network of retail stores to serve our customers, but this approach posed a number of challenges.
“Some customers live a significant distance away from our stores, which made it difficult for them to access our products. Retail floor space is at a premium, which means that our stores must choose a limited number of products to stock. Stores in rural areas also typically offer only basic technology, which sells in greater quantities. But as Peru’s economy grows, so is the demand for better and more advanced technology. We knew there was a risk that customers might travel to their local rural store and not find the items they wanted, or simply be unable to transport bulky items back to their homes.”
As mobile internet connectivity exploded in popularity across Peru, Grupo Efe recognized a major opportunity to create a valuable new market in rural areas.
“More people have cell phones here than they do credit cards,” adds Kelly Cronin. “The penetration of smart phones is growing exponentially, and we knew that creating a digital channel could help us offer the opportunity for everyone in Peru to shop our entire catalog and have products delivered direct to their door. To realize our vision, we set out to deploy a mobile-ready e-commerce platform.”
Going digital to reach every part of Peru
To turn its vision into a reality, Grupo Efe engaged IBM Silver Business Partner and e-commerce specialist Avatar to help deploy a solution tailored to the unique requirements of the Peruvian market.
“In Europe and North America, practically everyone has a credit card and a bank account, but in Peru we can’t take it for granted that our customers will have access to these kinds of services,” explains Kelly Cronin. “We know from focus groups that if customers do have credit cards, they often tend to be reluctant to use them online for fear of fraud. As a result, one of the key requirements for our new e-commerce platform was the ability to support a wide range of payment methods.”
Working together with Avatar, Grupo Efe created the e-commerce infrastructure to support its retail brands.
“As well as offering a responsive mobile experience, our new platform gives customers who may be new to e-commerce the opportunity to pay using a method that is familiar and comfortable,” says Kelly Cronin. “Customers can reserve products online for 24 hours, and pay at a trusted location such as a local grocery store, and receive their order via home delivery.”
To achieve the e-commerce model cost-effectively, Grupo Efe will fulfil all orders using the same back-end processes and systems.
“Our stores for La Curacao, Tiendas Efe and Motocorp will all use the same warehouse and back-office processes,” says Kelly Cronin. “Although our storefronts for each brand will have a distinct look and feel, they will be managed and maintained behind the scenes from a single point of control. And if two or more of our stores offer the same product, they can even share a single stock-keeping unit [SKU] in our warehouse—minimizing the amount of capital we need to tie up in stock.”
The group has now successfully launched online and mobile versions of its La Curacao store, enabling customers across rural Peru to start experiencing the benefits of digital retail.
“When we first sat down with Avatar, the main goal we set out was to deliver an e-commerce experience that makes first-time online shoppers feel right at home—and that’s exactly what we have achieved,” comments Kelly Cronin. “Our work with the team continues today. As we prepare to launch our remaining two sites, we’re in a continual dialogue with Avatar to find new ways to enhance our customer services.”
Helping every customer live better
By augmenting its well-known bricks-and-mortar stores with a digital channel, Grupo Efe is making it easier than ever for people across Peru to purchase the products they need to create their perfect homes.
“In the past, consumer electronics wasn’t seen as a growth area in rural regions—but now, that perception is changing,” Kelly Cronin explains. “Our La Curacao store has only been online for three months, and monthly sales online have already surpassed the sales of many of our physical store locations. We are seeing a substantial increase in unique page visitors and customer interactions—and we are confident that trend will continue in the months ahead.”
Grupo Efe is now using real-world data on customer interactions with its e-commerce site to identify customer struggles and shape seamless journeys from browsing to buying.
“We can see clear patterns in our data, and those insights are helping us to better understand how customers are engaging with us on the digital channel,” adds Kelly Cronin. “For example, customers spend a great deal of time on areas of the site offering sales and promotions, such as our hot products of the day selection. Customers also frequently use our site to check if products are in stock at their local stores.
“Because many of our site visitors are new to online commerce, it’s vital that we reach out with the right support at the right time to drive conversion. We offer customers the ability to start a live online chat with us to answer any questions they may have about a product, financing or delivery option. Similarly, if customers reserve an item but don’t pay for it within the 24-hour reservation window, we can reach out to them with a call to ask if they need help completing their purchase.”
Looking ahead, Grupo Efe is already planning ways to streamline digital journeys for its customers.
“To convince customers to make the jump from browsing to buying, a fast and straightforward checkout process is vital—particularly on mobile, where it generally takes customers longer to enter their details,” says Kelly Cronin. “We have now cut our checkout process down to three steps, and we’re keen to make it even shorter in the future.”
She concludes: “Our new e-commerce site is helping us to make life easier for customers in rural areas—and grow our business at the same time. Our philosophy is that it doesn’t matter whether a customer buys an item online, in store or over the phone—the most important thing is that we’re there to make the experience convenient and enjoyable.”
Headquartered in Lima, Peru, Grupo Efe is a group of companies operating in the retail and banking sectors. La Curacao and Tiendas Efe are leading consumer electronics retailers, with 162 stores nationwide, Motocorp is a specialist retailer of motorcycles and moto-taxis with 22 stores throughout Peru, and Financiera Efectiva offers convenient financing options for products across the three retail businesses.
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Take the next step
To learn more about IBM WebSphere Commerce solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/products/en/websphere-commerce
Founded in 2001 and based in Lima, Peru, Avatar is a specialist e-commerce solution provider. With over 13 years’ experience implementing IBM WebSphere Commerce for customers in Peru, Chile, Colombia, Italy, the USA and UK, Avatar is an IBM Silver Business Partner. To learn more about products and services from Avatar, please visit: avatar-global.com