With the creation of our IB ecommerce Map we have been able to give visibility to shops who do home delivery but it should be noted that the digitalization process is not a fast and easy job, it is part of a global long-term strategy. This statement is very clear with the interview of Juan Sánchez of the Cooperativa San Crispín, from Alaior.
What is San Crispin?
We are a Consumer Cooperative that works in the towns of Alaior, where we have two points of sale, and Es Migjorn Gran where we have a supermarket. Basically we are dedicated to food, the starting point in our origins (which was born in post-war times to help stabilize food prices among workers in the shoe sector).
Currently we serve more than 3,000 members promoting healthy eating, at affordable prices and in favor of promoting local proximity products. With a special relationship with local and organic producers.
What previous digital experience did you have before confinement?
Our website has a history of more than 6 years (2014). Then, in 2019 we made a qualitative leap in favor of adapting our platform to mobile devices and integrating it with our ERP management system, a change that has allowed us to improve our search engine positioning.
What initially was born as a project to provide home service to our partners, has become an important sales channel for visitors and tourists who travel in a self-organized way and who choose to buy in local and proximity shops, with a strong presence of local and organic products.
How many people do you have on your team?
We have a team of 30 people, mainly a female group with a middle-high age. Team that we try to train continuously since we work in one of the most competitive sectors given the entry of large distribution groups. Competition that we look to beat through giving a proximity service, personalized and based on promoting Km 0 products.
How has confinement affected your business?
First of all, we must say that we are considered a basic infrastructure of the food supply chain. Especially for elderly members who have been confined and constitute a population at risk. Something that has ‘reconnected’ us with our reason for being and that has made the entire team available to serve an avalanche of demand that is not typical of the month of March in Menorca.
Taking care and taking extreme measures of prevention of the workforce, we have had to reinforce the home delivery service with two new support people, a van that has been loaned by a member of the Cooperative to improve the distribution. The staff is contributing overtime at the same time that we limit the attendance hours, to make the two activities compatible: face-to-face and online. We have recently outsourced a new professional food delivery service.
We are also working with AGROXERXA to contact local producers (outside the usual ones) and help to commercialize surpluses that they may have as a result of the stoppage of restoration demand.
What tools do they use to communicate with their customers? Why have you chosen these?
Telephone. The same website. WhatsApp or the social networks where we are present (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and where we receive feedback from our partners and clients. We use an emailing tool (MailChimp) for regular communications with the social mass.
They are the tools that we have routinely used to transfer our work and that we use in a strategy of reducing the cost of paper and approaching the younger clientele and their consumption patterns. Although let’s not forget the older people who still opt for face-to-face treatment and the most offline channels.
How can it be a plus for your clients?
We all think that this is a bet to be present in the logic of new customers, omnichannel. And with this crisis we think it has been a bet that will accelerate, although we must recognize that food had a growing but low penetration.
We will have to grow in other less face-to-face sales forms, such as catalog sales or the development of channels such as the mobile app that allow us to better interact and segment our service. Specialized stores for professionals HORECA, for local product MADE IN MENORCA, for consumers ECO / BIO … This is the line to follow.
How do you think the relationship with your clients will evolve in the coming months and after confinement?
We intend to maintain the same relationship model, but aware that we will have to further develop online services. The first challenge will be to stabilize the rapid and large growth that we have had, adapting our purchasing structure and staff to the daily reality.
We wholeheartedly hope that many customers will rethink about trips to large areas in industrial and service areas outside of our towns and opting for local and proximity commerce that is committed to making the economic flow as circular as possible.
Because of your type of activity, is there an application very useful to you? Which and why?
Our website is today the center of our digitization strategy. Having invested in it in recent years has been a success that has now been very useful to us in order to provide an agile and professional service.
But we still have a lot to grow: consumption data analysis (Big Data), automation and machine learning, development of mobile channels, digitization of points of sale … We hope that we can work with the Bit Foundation to help and learn from each other.
Do you think you need some kind of training in order to get more out of the tools? Which one?
We will have to train continuously, but it will be mainly in dedicating ourselves to what is our reason for being: the treatment and the digital commercial service. Adapting our logistics structure and automating processes to optimize the service.
What advice do you offer to people who are now beginning to digitize their services at these exceptional times because of confinement?
That is not a one day or season bet. Which is a bet in which we already walk behind large groups. That they bet to collaborate with local technology companies that will help them. Let them be advised and keep in mind that it is a bet that requires investment and dedication. We are not mounting chimeras or ‘ATMs’.
We will have to bet on more digitized business models, inside and outside the point of sale.