Industry perspective: Roberty Meir — Grupo Padrao | KPMG | BE

Industry perspective: Roberto Meir — Grupo Padrao

Industry perspective: Roberto Meir — Grupo Padrao

CEO explains why the future of food is about improving customer experience.

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What’s your impression of the global consumer market?

First, all of us are becoming like Millennials – we want everything in real time. There are challenges in adjusting big corporations to the Millennial mindset. They will want to follow you if they have a cause, a purpose and a sense of belonging. And not just: “Oh, this is the biggest corporation in the world”. They don’t care about that. It’s not about what I have; it’s what I am.

So, in this scenario, what happens to brand loyalty?

It’s dead. In an era of instant gratification it’s about who gives me more now. It’s about rewarding loyalty and trying to be a fair company. Look what’s happened with the rise of Warby Parker in New York. Two guys from Harvard decided to sell spectacle frames for US$95, delivered to your home. Then for every pair of frames you buy, they send money to a non-profit organization to provide glasses for people in developing countries. Now they are valued at US$1.2bn.

So, you would expect more of this kind of disruption in consumer markets?

For sure. Right now, there are a bunch of people who are trying to disrupt every kind of business. You have to practice e-commerce – if your company is not there, it doesn’t exist. When you integrate artificial intelligence or analytics into your business, you can also create remarkable moments for your consumers and their communities.

What is the future for retail?

Retail is probably the most challenging business to be in, but I don’t believe the bricks and mortar model is going to die. Even some of the big etailers are planning to open new stores because it gives them more scope to sell their culture and understand consumer behavior. There will be fewer stores, but companies will have to find an equation where they can provide an experience that connects with people and builds a community. A supermarket in Italy is using augmented reality to suggest what products you could add to your cart. It’s an incredible experience. You don’t have to own a big store, just a showroom – an interactive screen could allow you to check in 3D all the properties of the products, anything from appliances to sneakers, and then have your customized item delivered to your home.

Do corporations find it hard to listen to consumers in an unbiased way?

Yes. Now that you must do business in the light of the day, naked, everything is much harder. In the past, the consumer didn’t participate in decisions. Now they do, they follow everything and want to participate, to be engaged. It’s not just about what you want. The brand belongs to the consumer.

The problem is that the customer does not belong to anyone within the corporation. We all know who owns finance, marketing, HR but who owns the guy who brings money into the company? The set answer is nobody because the customer belongs to marketing, engineering or sales. Then when I ask the company to solve a problem, I enter the world of The Flintstones. I ring the customer satisfaction center and realize that nobody likes me anymore because instead of a customer I become a costomer, that’s C-O-S-T. When I’m making money for the company, I’m good, but now I’m costing the business money because it’s after-sales.

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