Brazilian Retailer Lojas Renner Leans On Digital Culture, AI To Prevail Through Pandemic
by Adobe Communications Team
posted on 07-09-2020
Like many retailers around the world, Brazilian clothing and home goods giant Lojas Renner had to close all of its physical stores – approximately 600 – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stores are now gradually reopening, but what allowed the company and its various brands to continue operating the entire time was its focus on multichannel experiences.
In this interview with Adobe, Ronaldo Magalhães, digital business director at Lojas Renner (an Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud customer), discusses the importance of having a digital culture and highlights the power of artificial intelligence and data analysis to create customer experiences.
Did the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic change Renner’s strategy regarding customer relations?
We had a digital culture long before the pandemic. As a result, we didn’t have to change our strategy, but we strengthened investment in customer experiences in digital channels, maintaining our belief in omnichannel retail. With our stores closed, we implemented projects like sales through WhatsApp, drive-thru delivery for purchases done on the website and app, and we also improved the virtual fitting room available on the Renner application. These are projects that were being developed since our digital transformation began years ago. More than investing in technology, we always invest in digital culture.
How does this digital transformation take place in practice? Does it have to do with having a data culture in the organization?
Without a doubt, it has to do with a change in the organizational culture. Data analysis allows us to understand consumers better and thus create increasingly personalized experiences that respect each person’s context and offer shopping recommendations. This includes understanding the regions where consumers live and what kind of clothes make sense for each lifestyle. Thanks to data analysis, our website looks one way if the consumer is in the northern region in a heat wave, and another way if they are in the southern region where it is winter. The algorithms carry out this work quickly and assertively.
Artificial intelligence is behind these recommendations. What is the technology’s role in creating experiences?
Artificial intelligence isn’t only strategic, it’s also part of our business model. We use data analysis for the recommendations and personalization of the website, and also to foresee shopping trends and item demands for each region in Brazil. This way, we can have a quicker and more assertive resupply process. Artificial intelligence is also being increasingly used in our customer service area, showing more agility and customer satisfaction.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic consolidate mobile as a primary interface for people to interact with the world?
Mobile was already important before, and now it’s even more so. At Renner, the app and website account for 70% of our e-commerce sales. This growth is also due to our more mature internal UX area, which makes our interfaces more fluid and seamless.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for physical stores in the “new normal”?
Physical stores will remain essential and have a role even in the digital strategy. I believe that they’ll also be mini distribution centers for trends like “buy online/pick up in store.” Physical stores will increasingly become a stage for simultaneous physical and digital experiences.
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Topics: Retail, Customer Stories