Retail Insights From Latin America

Shop Talk LIVE features in-depth discussions with Puma Energy and other retailers that embrace Latin America as a fast-growing retail market.  

February 08, 2021

By Chris Blasinsky

LONDON—Global Convenience Store Focus hosted its Shop Talk LIVE #STLWorldTour in Latin America last week, which showcased marketplace trends and deep dives into convenience retail formats, beginning with Puma Energy.

From expanding its global presence, to implementing customer-led store offers and energizing its workforce, Rodrigo Zavala, Puma’s CEO for America & Global Commercial Centre of Excellence, and a member of the NACS International Board of Directors, laid the groundwork for Puma’s retail growth strategy.

An integrated global energy company, Puma operates 2,600 retail sites across 43 countries, including 961 convenience stores. The company has spent the last decade growing its retail network, mainly by acquisition but also by organic growth. Its convenience concept, Super7, which first launched in Australia in late 2015 and in Latin America in 2017, provides flexible formats, ranging from a coffee shop offer to a full quick-service restaurant concept that offer fresh and healthy foodservice options alongside hot and cold beverages, confections, ice cream and grocery items.

Puma has continued to upgrade its Super7 stores with more food offers that are “putting customers at different moments in different places,” said Zavala, noting that the company aims to have 400 Super 7 stores in the Americas.

A key component of this strategy is listening more to customers and relying on technology to develop a neighborhood presence and relationship. Zavala shared that while Puma has a global view of its business operations and procedures, its Super7 convenience offer is tailored to meet the needs of its customers in different regions by creating a localized offer.

Expanding on its goal to listen to customers, Puma was well on its way to implementing its digital strategy before the pandemic. In a 2018 NACS Magazine article, “Fueling Growth,” Zavala noted how the company was accelerating its investments in cloud-based technologies (point of sale systems, back-office systems, etc.) to access real-time customer information at each store—a strategy that is also helping Puma build a digital relationship with customers. The company launched its Puma Fast Pay in Puerto Rico, enabling customers to pay at the pump with their smartphones, with plans to expand the technology to accept mobile payments inside the store.

Taking a micro-level approach to its convenience offer, Puma is also energizing its community focus and franchisee relationships to help drive growth and prosperity. “We want to do this community by community” and help franchisees become closer with their neighborhoods, Zavala said, adding, “We believe there’s opportunities for them to make a difference to the customer and grow an individual store.”

Exploring Latin American Retail

Taking a deeper dive into other convenience retail formats in Latin America, Joe Bona of Bona Design Lab, began his “world tour” of innovative concepts with OXXO in Mexico, noting how the company’s new format emphasizes fresh food to go with touchscreen ordering kiosks inside the store. “This is a company that’s really on the move,” said Bona of OXXO’s global expansion plans, as the company continues to grow its footprint in other retail markets. (Bona recently shared global retail trends and insights in this episode of Convenience Matters.)

Shell in Guatemala is another example of a global company that is committed to growing its presence in Latin America. One store features ample indoor seating to complement its food and café offer, which is a nod to Shell’s goal of developing formats that resonate with Latin American consumers.

Next, Bona shared how Terpel Colombia’s Altoque convenience store format focuses on strong food offers and inviting in-store design and ambiance. Meanwhile, Enex Chile recently developed a new format, the company’s first store without fuel, that features an upscale, gourmet retail environment with fresh, made-to-order foodservice offers like pizza, horneados and sandwiches.  

“When we think about this idea of being a community hub,” look no further than YPF Argentina, Bona suggested. One store has solar-powered benches/charge points for recharging smartphones, water refill stations, in-store dining, recycling options and an exercise station that does double duty as a charging station. “You can pedal a bike and the human energy creates the electrical energy to charge your phone.”

“The message for me is bringing Latin America to the rest of the world,” said Bona of how the market is quickly innovating and delivering unique and localized convenience retail offers. “It’s the thoughtfulness and innovation around being consumer-centric.”

To watch all the insights shared during Shop Talk LIVE’s focus on Latin America, visit globalconveniencestorefocus.com.

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