The pandemic has severely affected places of aggregation, where social interaction is expressed, such as the world of Ho.Re.Ca. (hotels, restaurants, bars …), which for a long time was in lock-down and then had to deal with the management of restricted access. Behind the kitchens of thousands of Italian establishments, there are important businesses that every day guarantee the supply of everything needed to prepare the dishes that are served to us when we have lunch, dinner or simply a coffee break away from home: this is the world of out-of-home or what is known as the “food service” channel.
Every day, Ho.Re.Ca. suppliers visit thousands of establishments through their own sales network that knows each individual customer, their tastes and habits. Every day, tens of thousands of orders are processed to ensure that a restaurant that has run out of an ingredient or that expects to have a certain number of covers can have the products on its menu within a few hours: these are often professional products, selected and only available in this specialised channel, fresh or very fresh such as fish.
At Aton we have had the pleasure of serving the main companies in this sector for years, including Cattel S.p.A., which wanted to turn the problems created by these two years of hiccuping openings into an opportunity, by investing in strengthening its sales network and opening new touch points to communicate with its customers.
It was in this context that we worked together with the Cattel team: a special period, characterised by many meetings in video conference, in which we designed together the specific customer journey that Cattel wanted to offer its customers, creating new points of interaction between Ho.Re.Ca. customer, seller and company.
During the pandemic there was an explosion in the use of e-commerce, but what we had in mind was different. Our commitment in this area started years before the pandemic arrived and we had a fair amount of experience to offer our client.
Through this new channel, the customer can have a shop created for them, since everything they see when they enter the shop can be personalised: from the specific assortment that takes into account their needs and purchasing history, to promotions and commercial conditions, to the unit of measurement with which they buy (piece, box, pallet, etc.).
The customer can build their own shopping list which is shared with their trusted salesperson who can advise them even when they are not physically in front of them.
This interaction is in addition to the others already in place between seller and customer in a growing multi-channel nature made up of exchanges in person, messages, e-mails, telephone calls and digital sales, which confirm the ongoing trends identified by McKinsey, which points out that B2B buyers are using more and more channels to purchase from their suppliers.
The secret to the success of a project like this lies in involving all stakeholders: first and foremost the sales network, the customers because they are the users of the solution who become its promoters (see video testimony by Sutto), marketing, which defines the internal and external communication plan, and the IT&digital function, which represents the enabling element in the digital transformation: it is not just a matter of “creating an app”, but of activating a business process that is enriched by a new channel of relationship with the market.
I close with a glimpse into the future: more and more interaction, an app that proposes the best actions to the salesperson to satisfy their customer and allows the customer to get a better service that is more and more in line with their needs.