Our seventh guest of “Together we will win: the vision of expert retailers to overcome the crisis” is Mauricio Restrepo Posada, General Manager at Lilipink
Lilipink is a young, creative, fresh and fun Colombian brand of women’s underwear founded in 2006. Since 2017 it is in full expansion and in 2018 had 280 points in Colombia and 29 international stores.
ACCEPTING THE PROCESS OF TRANSFORMATION
So, we should start by accepting that we are in the process of transformation and the situation is clear that for about two years we will be living with a complex macroeconomic and business situation.
All business people should understand that we are all facing this situation. It is clear that some sectors will be more affected than others, as has been the case in all crises experienced by humanity.
Entrepreneurs should take the following into consideration: for companies that have been profitable; What have you done with the profitability of your business for years? How have you manage the provision of utilities? How much have you invested in expansion? Debt payments? Financial solvency? etc.
Now the worst thing that can occur is that business people consider layoffs, because let’s not forget that in the last 10 years the Colombian middle class and a large part of Latin America has been growing, and these strata are the ones that are making consumption dynamics more so.
I particularly mean the visions and missions of many organizations hanging from the entrance of companies, but their fulfillment and conviction of execution are very far away.
This is the same as when almost all organizations talk about the customer being the most important aspect, but when the customer makes a request, for all organizations is not a priority, when the customer wants to make a complaint the organization is not attended to, the customer is pushed to the back… NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF CUSTOMERS! Whoever does not focus on taking care of their customers, whoever does not focus on making the consumer a priority will suffer much more than those who change their mentality.
Now, we have heard a lot about alternative channels, about multi-channels and now about omnichannel marketing, because whoever doesn’t worry about developing different channels of attention to consumers will suffer much more than those who prepared themselves and had enough vision to develop omnichannel marketing, who are very few and even more so in Colombia. I have always been asked what is the most important channel for the marketing of goods and services for an organization and I always answer the same thing, that there is no channel more important than another, all channels are complementary and all must attend to the consumer’s taste; that is the difference, thus the importance of having access channels to the consumer.
Everyone today is talking about what is your strategy, how are you going to create a strategic plan, etc. Marketing people, business people and entrepreneurs, today the strategy should be the following:
1- Take care of your most valuable asset: your people.
2- Take care of the cash flow of your business, check which expenses do not affect the development of your business and check this very well, because many times the first thing is marketing, remember that now more than ever you will need your brand visibility so that consumers have you on their radar.
3- Take care and activate omnichannel, activate your CRM. If you do not have this your development is inoperative, because now whoever is close to the consumer will have the advantage of being closer and knowing his/her tastes and preferences.
4-Define your performance segment very well, the brands that are at the center of consumption; I mean to say neither luxury brands nor low cost brands are going to suffer so much, those that will suffer more are the medium segment brands that were not clearly defined.
5- Remember that 1 is better than zero, take care of your margin but review your promotional system very well, because the reactivation of consumption will be very slow, resources will be allocated to food, health and cleaning, so there will be strong competition to capture the little money that will be left in the pockets of consumers.
6- For the textile sector, clothing should be cheaper and more durable, i.e. of better quality, and this is what the consumer will begin to appreciate most.
Finally, the only real truth here is that the world has changed, it has changed so fast that it did not give us time to take action, it did not give us time to create plans, it will not do the same again and this is reality, the consumer has changed, the markets have changed and because of this we must change and adjust. This is not resignation, it’s about seeing the best performance model for each business aspect; but what I’m sure of is that if we shift from individual to collaborative work, the results will be much better for everyone.
Written by: Mauricio Restrepo Posada (General Manager at Lilipink)