preloader

How the holistic vision helped me in 20 years of my career to build solutions for digital retail.

The beginning of it all...

My name is Thiago Verçosa, I am 36 years old, born and raised in Penha, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro. A lower-middle-class family from our beautiful Northeast.

I grew up free, a right that every Brazilian should have and enjoy, free of the violence that prevails in the country today, and that makes the life of many Brazilians more difficult to achieve dreams, but this is a chapter apart.

At that time, it was possible to be free, to make friends in the streets where one lived, to play, to play ball, to be happy... to truly know people, those friendships that are for life, and I, am lucky to have all this, free of the destinies that the suburbs could take me, as well as take several children and young people to paths without direction or horizon of change.

My family was the basis of everything, I had love, values and affection out of the ordinary, one of the most important points for a human being, learnings of respect for others and understanding of contexts different from mine, but without making value judgments.

The lessons in childhood and early adolescence allowed me to make new friendships in various places, from the favela to the noblest places in the country, the famous networking, real life alongside people.

I had a school education that I am also blessed to have passed there, the famous Pedro II College, a place where I met people from all over Rio de Janeiro (and also from outside), a school of excellent education (at least at the time), but very RAIZ, it educated me in a unique way, and had a face of Brazil, was not NUTELLA and inside the bubble as in the noblest schools in the country, and so I could gain the notion of both sides of the coin, and was relevant in my perception of the world in my training as a human being.

A young man's first decisions and his career

Like every young man, I had a lot of difficulties about my professional direction, I dreamed of being an engineer or an architect (I had a certain gift for technical drawings, mockups and things like that), but at that time, I ended up falling into the arts, I was a theater actor and a professional dancer, look what a funny thing... hehehe, it's true.

Today, I see how much this experience has helped me, I've learned to deal with the public, to lose the shame, to be exposed, to deal with unforeseen events in real time and mainly, to act for the other. Art is a donation for the entertainment and taste of the public. You accomplish your purpose for the satisfaction of the others who are there, to appreciate your art, and on stages, you have the possibility to have the response of the audience, in real time, this is magic.

This experience began to change my view of everything, my networking expanded rapidly in a tasty way. I met people with perceptions and experiences of the world completely distant from my origins, but my origins made me arrive better prepared for the differences, such as: diversity (today a super high agenda in a company all over the world), prejudice, resilience, planning and many things that involve being prepared for the public live and in colors 🙂

Education, the principle of success

I had the admiration for art also inside the house, my older brother is a born draughtsman, became a professional draughtsman and went to college in computer science, he was the CARA of the house, the first to go to college in the family and a fantastic human being.

This also brought me my first problems in terms of professional decision... lol, my family, no longer supported me so much about art, after all, it is a hard road and of little financial return at the beginning of the career, especially if your cradle networking is not in the patterns that make the road easier. My brother, on the other hand, was on the "right" path, had chosen a college, a solid chair, and, from the future of business all over the planet, technology.

At first I was very frustrated, I was taking pleasure in professionalizing myself with the performing arts and dance, I thought about how rewarding it could be to get to TV for example, to be consistently rewarded to become an adult who could live off that craft, but no, the more I insisted on the arts, The more the decision turned into a prejudiced conflict within my own home (despite all the learning in childhood, family stuff, right), and all that, it forced me to think about the context I was in, and how the future could limit me if I insisted on a career that might not make sense for the result I expected, and in that, my family was very right.

At that time, the neighborhood where I lived was no longer the same as my childhood, the family budget was completely unfavorable and engineering and architecture had already been disregarded among my options and to attend vestibular for public, it was something bourgeois that did not need to work and could devote themselves only to studies, that is, I had to study and put my face on the street to earn my own money.

These triggers changed my life in a meteoric way, I realized that I had many assets to make the decision to change course, and I was still 17 years old, a solid family, sources of inspiration close to me, a favorable social cycle (networking), but I lacked something big, focus on studies and the choice of a career favorable to my interests, such as: gaining independence, stability, consistency and personal achievement.

My brother was a designer, I had a computer at home, and the internet was starting to spread in the country. I used to browse websites and find the maximum as all the interaction happened between people, through e-mail, chats, news site, search and the like.

Internet, a new ERA

That's when it all actually started, just over 20 years ago, when, as a self-taught, I started studying to develop websites for the internet.

It was the years 2000, the bubble of the Internet burst, starting as a hurricane, the digital ERA, changing the way of exchanging information and interaction with company(s)/brand(s), product(s) and service(s).

It was the beginning of the migration of mass media, such as radio and TV, to a channel that brought a great novelty, the ability to interact with the user and control traffic data.

In the first 4 years of my career, I entered Estácio de Sá College, in the course of Internet Environment Management, it was a period of much technical learning about interface, front-end development, back-end development (basic level of basic, basic... lol) and infrastructure. I learned more outside of college than inside, because I was always very curious and started to study in depth about how to produce websites.

At that time I already realized a need to get involved with several areas of the companies I had been going through, every day I was more and more enchanted by all the innovation that the Internet could bring to business.

In the year 2004, I finally started in digital retail. There were few players in the market with some operational maturity, and I had the first great opportunity, to work with a select group of executives who were already making a big noise with the sale of perfumes over the Internet.

At the time, I had graduated in Internet Environment Management, aka "WebMaster", and it was a function that fit into marketing or IT teams in general, and had as a role, to design pleasant interfaces, as well as programming them (front-end) for the final consumer navigation.

My start in RETAIL

In the early years of retail, I could see that the "marketing" of a digital company played an extremely deeper role than just promoting a good offer to the consumer, or producing Color BANNERS with immensely eye-catching looks.

The e-business/e-marketing was a different bug, and clearly required a distinct knowledge to the knowledge of a graphic or product designer, after all, the digital environment brought with it the ERA of DATA and interactivity, taking the industry from marketing and advertising "achism", to a universe of metrics and responses in real time, all in a bilateral communication.

reference: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2017/05/06/the-worlds-most-valuable-resource-is-no-longer-oil-but-data

The relationship with the consumer reached its first degree of maturity, because the user had taken the wheel of the relationship with the companies, and became the center of the experience of products and services, because online, it became possible to perform transactions that before, were only performed in the offline world.

Wow, it was possible to learn from the audience, make mistakes, adjust and get it right, all in "real time". It was the end of the imposition of offers and the beginning of engagement and value generation for consumption.

As soon as the user/consumer took the wheel, he demanded that the companies change their operations as well, after all it was strange for the customer to buy online and not be able to exchange a product in the physical store, for example. The global change brought by the internet, brought numerous benefits and needs of a digital/operational transformation never seen before in history.

From the point of view of operations (buying, selling and logistics for example), they were shorter paths to meet the demand of that first wave of transformation/digitalization, however, they were teams dealing with innovation and at the same time the technological limitations of the time, and the great challenge of proving the efficiency of digital channels within companies established in the physical world.

The technology was still very, very expensive. Most of the services and products were GRINGOS, and besides the cost, there was also the complexity of the tropicalization and implantation of the tools in Tupiniquim lands.

Those teams had to prove to the brands that this was a road with no return, and that those changes were necessary for companies of the 21st century.

After the e-commerce proofing phase, it was necessary to invest in unifying the on/off worlds, reviewing teams, and, unifying the whole operation of the company and not only the purchasing, marketing, commercial or technology area, was a complex mission.

At that time digital retailing went from its R$ 1.75 billion turnover in 2004 to R$ 10.60 billion in 2009, and together, the maturation of the entire online retail chain, such as: technology integration companies, transactional platforms, new entrants in payment means, maturation of the logistics chain.

As per the matters below: https://hotsites.b2wdigital.com/relatorioanual2010/estrategia_investimento.shtml and http://sbvc.com.br/viavarejo-unificar-operacoes/

More education, specialization and energy for transformation

At that time, I was no longer an interface designer/programmer, I had done a Post-Graduation in Digital Marketing at FACHA/RJ and specialized in Software Management and Development at PUC. The changes also happened in an accelerated way in my career, I had taken off from a Designer to then leader of a marketing team, in one of the largest digital retail companies in Brazil.

The choices I had made in the first five years of my career since the first retail, and my training as a person, showed me the skills I had acquired throughout my life, which resulted in a versatile and interpretive skill for understanding the various contexts, settings and audiences.

10 years ago (or more), retail companies started the process of such a "Digital Transformation". It's true this billet, I've been dealing with it for more than 10 years (or even since the beginning of my career, and I didn't know it), and during all this time, people still think that transforming a company is using technology to solve the same existing processes/problems.

The view of success on building digital business were laurels of the marketing/commercial and engineering/software development, but no, it was also necessary to develop the business thinking about people, customers and internal users (each stakeholder with their need and engagement), and few companies until today, have the vision of success with the user at the center of the business.

The world had become another trigger, the maturation of usability concepts discovered in the 20th century, brought with more relevance in the 80's/90's by Nielsen and Norman, and finally, they would add to the business in completely disruptive (but kind of, truly disruptive) ways.

Soon after, the boom of new companies (such as Industry 4.0 and the world of IoT) that reinvented the way to meet the same human needs, but with new formats and vision of scale, and thus the giants of the market were born. Sectors such as private transport and temporary housing were reinvented.

Data communication through the interaction between people, machines and things have been solving increasingly larger processes in a shorter time, with high added value service, and thus meeting new human needs in a global world without borders.

reference: https://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/how-ux-is-impacting-the-retail-industry-02111864, https://uxdesign.cc/the-ux-of-retail-shopping-b60865107ab1 and https://medium.theuxblog.com/from-retail-to-user-experience-30792032aee7

The entrepreneurial spirit

By mid 2011, I had matured to the point of understanding the size of the opportunity that existed in e-commerce companies, as they lacked a holistic view of customer-focused business (I'm not talking about several areas, each providing a piece of the process independently, like a production line), so I made the decision to open an agency (which initially was digital marketing), and somehow wanted to collaborate more with brands to achieve success in their online sales.

At the end of 2011, I founded Original.io, until 2019 (now 2020), I had challenging projects, a lot of learning, some results off the curve, and an immense will to grow. 

My commitment to excellence, service, engagement with customers and brands has matured over time.

The Original.io team needed to understand the changes in the digital world and we adapted our way of serving, not only with service itself, but also with digital culture sharing, business consulting, planning vision, collaboration and holistic vision. Nobody does anything alone.

During all this time in the market, I could learn that designing digital solutions is a challenge that requires knowledge in all areas of the business, where, we have the customer as a starting point and the whole operation working for the best experience, satisfaction and loyalty.

So, thinking that designing a solution is just a marketing and IT challenge, you may be underestimating the complexity of your operations in a world already transformed by ERA 4.0.

This thinking can lead to low efficiency solutions, and at the limit, they can be functionally futile for their users and customers, and ultimately, this can generate little return for the business.

With all this journey, I leave here some insights that can help you understand how to act better in scopes related to your digital transformation:

culture

we're about 50 years behind vs. first world cultures, and that requires us to run after that account. It's no use crying over what's past, it's the one who does the now that lives the now, has more science of the context, nourishes your energy, and is what moves you forward, or will keep you parked in the evils of the past.

Therefore, all employees of a company in Brazil need to participate with an appetite multiplied by 30, because the environment is hostile and complex, especially for startups that deal with innovation, however, the growth is overwhelming when we break these ties, like living reality with optimism, the result always comes.

inspiring lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-55IH6CVd4

strategy and tactics

In an age of digital transformation, it is trivial to have synchronized involvement between the C-levels and the entire business operation, as I said before.

Synchronizing the purpose of the company to the interests of employees is fundamental to good harmony and efficiency in terms of financial results, because the gain is a consequence of good modeling, added to a good execution/transpiration of the plan. Having a purpose aligned, will ensure that the dedicated effort/energy is taking the boat in the same direction.

Transparency in monitoring actions, self-manageable teams and good communication corroborate the achievement of goals set in the digitization process.

The OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) support the progress by means of data, taking decisions and measurements from the sphere of concepts to metrics of achievement.

people

company is made of people, and the more good people, the better!

Good people are not nice people, good people are people who produce, who study, who have attitude, who open their minds to move forward, because that's the way you move forward. During my journey, I realized that the country is too immature to move forward, it is imbued in our culture, complaining about the past, everything and everyone. 

A large part of the workforce is poorly qualified, in the age of knowledge, we do not think to do, we always prefer to follow who has already done. A capital sin in the era of reinventing business processes.

inspiring lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy9O3oOVnho

processes

Processes are fundamental to the proper functioning of any system, and the great opportunity in Brazil is that most of these processes do not work. The world is at an apex of the need for new problem solving, or, NEW SOLUTIONS, therefore, the old processes of ERA Industrial became less effective in ERA Industry 4.0, process automation and data connection.

product

Taking care of the product or service being sold is one of the biggest challenges of retail, many brands have great difficulty in composing their product mix, positioning and pricing. It is important to know your audience to generate a good experience in delivering the service or product.

insights:

  • build an assortment suitable for your audience;
  • buy it for the lowest price;
  • fature as long as possible and sell before you have to pay;
  • know your margin at the tip, at the time of your sale, you will have the cost of: product sales price (-) management, media, taxes, means of payment, platform, anti-fraud, gateway, storage, packaging, handling / shipping and freight.
  • organize your catalogue, GOOGLE sees everything better if it's organized.
  • invest in product sheets, photos and videos, they can suddenly change the conversion.

sales

Enchant your audience, turn them into customers and passionately retain them. Your business strategy should guide you tactically to allow the right match between your product/service portfolio, distribution channels and business model. Always remember, technology is a means, not an end; it is not an autonomous tool that operates your business alone.

warehousing and logistics

Logistics has become the new marketing, having product availability with less logistic cost is what will ensure commercial competitiveness. Think that having a cheap product with expensive logistics will not allow you to have a good selling price at the end, so you will have an inhibitor of your area of expertise, and thus, you will no longer exploit the maximum potential that the digital channel can bring to your business.

  • supply, have the right availability with your turn. As your turnover grows, invest in intelligence and automation.
  • Make the most of physical distribution points and have control of which data are your hottest points, and keep them supplied.
  • care with dock management in large cross-docking operations, the operational gap of receiving and sending to the consumer can greatly compromise the expectation with the customer, especially on seasonal dates of higher volume.

channels and distribution

Own channels are more charming as they have all the assets and beliefs of their business for the charm of the client, however, the cost is higher and often stuffs the traction of the business. Use marketplace strength, points of sale, influencers, B2B partnerships and the like. There are many possibilities and business models that allow a more pulverized distribution, the country is giant. Ensure that your product is as close as possible to your customer's consumption, and having this for a network of your own, may make it impossible or kill your business. 

marketing

media: organize your media budget having some controls that ensure savings on investment. example: sanitize campaigns with out-of-stock products, monitor the performance of campaigns, test the same campaign with different people, sometimes the campaign is good, but for the wrong audience, sometimes the audience is right, but the campaign is bad. Nowadays, consider the investment in media that is your funnel mouth, with investment in UX, which is your funnel medium.

audience: know who are the people who consume your brand and have quality content to serve your audience. photos, videos, product sheets and details about the SKU assets sold, will help this visitor become a consumer.

UX: Study the metrics of each sales channel, your own or a third party, and learn how to evolve the channel's assets in light of your investment capacity. Fight the battles that will generate the result most in line with your objectives. A/B testing of anything will not guarantee you success. Remember that at UX the right question has more value than an immediate answer. The A/B test needs a clear purpose, an objective and an expectation to be achieved. At the end of the day, everyone wants to sell more, but it is necessary to know to whom, when and how.

loyalty: study your business holistically to have a good understanding of possible gaps that may play against customer loyalty. The media campaign can be great, UX and all, if your store or business does not deliver on time, loyalty can fall apart. If the product packaging is crumpled, it will depreciate the enchantment of receiving the package. If your service (SAC) is inefficient because the company's processes are poorly designed, this can also play against it.

mindet agilist

The time-to-market of retail is one of the most aggressive in the market, the head of the teams and leaders of retail companies in general are very immediate to the result of digital. The dream of making something exponential and scalable often precedes the processes that bring quality to the operation in a way consists.

Therefore, build business development processes with an agilistic mindset, where success is guaranteed by the harmony of your digital ecosystem, and not exclusively by one of the ends of this ecosystem. Aligning the purpose of these teams, having clear execution plans and having a strategic alignment of what the right battles are to be won, will help in the faster pace of the business. 

Try to build digital projects in a collaborative way, demand the objective of the project instead of requesting a briefing. It is very common these days a mindset of carrying out projects on a conveyor belt, i.e.: the retailer/brand demands for the team > team demands company A > company A puts company B on the circuit > company A and B + internal team + sponsor = lack of satisfaction in the development and achievements of the final result.

Forget hierarchy and Top/Down, the more the C-level is next to the intern, the more there has been a collective head of ecosystem rather than a client supplier, the more the market in Brazil will move with speed and successful projects.

Ufaaa, we have come to the end of this 20-year trajectory, which I hope from the bottom of my heart, will somehow add to your business, professional or person.

Summary of everything...

  • 20 years of digital experience
  • ˜ 10 billion reais traded
  • ˜ 30 million e-consumers served

Big Players: Sephora and Via Varejo

Original Top Cases: Coca-Cola, Renner, Uber, Electrolux, Grupo Soma, Havaianas, ZeeDog and Sky.

Entrepreneur at Original.io, one of the leading technology and design companies focusing on customer experience and business development through service design.

Graduated in Internet Environment Management - Estácio de Sá

Graduate in Digital Marketing - FACHA (Faculdades Hélio Alonso)

.Specialized in Software Management by PUC-RJ

1 Comment

  • Ana Carolina Oliveira October 18, 2020

    It's inspiring to see someone from my neighborhood with an origin so similar to mine, to get where you are and to have such a wide vision of possibilities and experiences.

Leave an answer

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.