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The Update: MediaMarkt pandemic operations

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VANESSA HARTLEY: In this episode of The Update,

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I talk with Giuseppe Cunetta,

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VP Marketing eCommerce at MediaMarktSaturn.

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The company was established almost 60 years ago

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and operates over 1,000 consumer electronics stores

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in 13 countries across Europe.

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So, Giuseppe, you moved to your new role

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just as the pandemic took grip across Europe in January.

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GIUSEPPE: What can I tell you? It was like running a company

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that was changing so dramatically every single day.

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At MediaMarktSaturn,

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we were already on track with our digital transformation,

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and our investments really paid out.

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We’ve actually been very capable of switching

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our operating model towards ecommerce very fast.

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And therefore, being capable to capture and grow

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in the triple digit range for the whole period.

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VANESSA: So Giuseppe, how has the pandemic

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impacted the MediaMarktSaturn business focus and strategy?

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GIUSEPPE: We were moving from the approach of

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creating promotion after promotion –

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this is the bread and butter in retail business – to findability.

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And findability really starts with the value of the data.

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We all know that data is the currency of the digital world.

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And in our business, it’s pretty important

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to understand how to create value out of the data.

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And you are getting there

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if you create automation and intelligence.

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Another important element was

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how to bring offline and online together in the best way.

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So we’ve been able to do omnichannel bidding,

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meaning the capacity to generate conversion

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out of the inventory existing in a store.

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This is also dependent on the capacity to track

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inventory on a store level.

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And at the same time, we’ve been able to do curbside pickup,

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which was another very important option

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that the customer appreciated

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during a period of constraints in free movement.

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VANESSA: So we’re seeing huge global changes

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in consumer behavior.

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What were the biggest changes you observed at MediaMarktSaturn?

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GIUSEPPE: We were constantly monitoring trends

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and doing number crunching

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using insights such as Google Trends

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in order to understand the key categories.

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At the beginning of the story,

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it was a lot about gaming and productivity.

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So computer devices and printers and video games.

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After that, it was about personal care,

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like hair cutters or body tools.

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And finally, we had a lot of spikes

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in food preparation or home care.

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VANESSA: So Giuseppe, what behavior changes do you think

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we’d bring with us after the pandemic?

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GIUSEPPE: The pandemic worked a little bit like a time machine,

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bringing everything into the future

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10, 15 years in the context of making ecommerce,

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and especially mobile commerce, choice number one,

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platform number one, destination number one,

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even for older generations.

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VANESSA: Switching gears a little

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and looking forward into 2021, Giuseppe,

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tell us about your business priorities.

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GIUSEPPE: We are all about growth, quality, and speed.

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And talking about growth, we believe that digital sales,

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ecommerce will be the dominant channel

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in the months and in the years to come.

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Therefore, we are determined to play an even stronger role.

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We are already one of the biggest ones.

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We will continue to do that,

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obviously in a fully integrated, omnichannel approach.

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On the second side, we are also talking about quality.

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And we know that quality is coming out of

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the relevant conversation.

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Meaning, that we need to use the data.

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We need to use information

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in order to prepare for our customer demands.

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We need to fulfill and even exceed every customer’s expectation.

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Finally, we believe that agility and speed are the same thing.

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So we need to be able to

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do, test, learn, fail, adapt continuously in this business.

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Because things are changing so fast around us

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that we need to adapt continuously

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to remain on the competitive edge.

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VANESSA: Your role combines ecommerce and marketing.

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How has the role of CMO changed over the years?

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GIUSEPPE: We are coming from the old, nostalgic time

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in which marketing was all about creating

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emotional campaigns or branding stuff,

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which are also important, very important,

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but only in the context of

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getting those together with data and analytics.

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And the job now is much more about

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understanding from all the data opportunities,

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from all the data points,

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what are the desires and the opportunities

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and trying to fulfill against customer expectations.

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So, the responsibility in that context of marketing

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is much more to listen than to shout,

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is much more to fulfill rather than to influence.

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VANESSA: And finally, Giuseppe, what one piece of advice

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would you give to business leaders for 2021?

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GIUSEPPE: I think my general recommendation is

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that obviously we need to be brave.

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We don’t know about the rest.

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We need to be flexible

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because we need to adapt for a changing reality.

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And we need to be open-minded

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because this will certainly be an interesting year to come.

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