Vtex: Mariano Gomida de Faria co-CEO and Founder
WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO?
Vtex is a cloud based ecommerce platform provider – but we are the only TRUE cloud based ecommerce platform as we operate completely in the cloud. We allow retailers to completely build their ecommerce environment on our platform and expand it globally but locally. We also opened up the platform’s CMS to third parties and to clients themselves so that they can build their own APIs, customise the platform and integrate with their own legacy systems.
This makes what we offer ideal for retailers and brands looking to expand overseas who want more than just a global website, but localised websites in each territory with one management back end.
WHAT IS YOUR USP?
Our USP is that we are truly cloud based and that we can take bring our extensive experience in the LatAm market to Europe. We work with many huge global brands and have developed highly capable technology that will help UK brands expand internationally.
We also offer some interesting logistical tools. Coming from the Brazillian market – which tends to be more ‘chaotic’ than those of Europe – we have built in logistics model that can handle inventory, omni-channel sales and multiple distribution centres in a simple and integrated way for the business.
We can also deliver and deploy very rapidly: typically within three and a half months and we have deploy many clients. We are also fully integrated into the likes of SAP and others and we allow legacy systems to integrate into the platform as well.
WHAT FUNCTIONALITY DOES THE LATEST VERSION OF YOUR PRODUCT GIVE TO RETAILERS?
As well as being able to rapidly deploy and offering some 250 third party apps, we have patented technology called Smart Checkout that allows for our clients to offer a one-click check out that isn’t reliant on a password step and so is truly one click. This has a proven track record of upping sales by some 18% where it has been used by our existing customers.
Our latest version also brings access to 252 companies that have developed apps for our platform that they can tap into to manage everything from pick up in store technology, to drive throughs to WMS and more.
We also bring some interesting technology to the merchandising and promotions systems. In the US and Europe, merchandising and promotions tends to be done just along price lines. In LatAm it is often a more complex mix of elements such as delivery and price and more. We bring this to the UK market and hope to shake up how merchandising and promotions work.
WHEN DID YOU START THE COMPANY AND WHY?
The company started, technically, in 2000 when myself and a colleague were working on deep maths for the Nuclear industry as part of our theses. We soon realised that it was more suited to the retail industry and so started to develop that. In the meantime we created some ecommerce software that really took off. It was making us money while we worked on our other maths project – that was creating supply chain automation – and it took off.
By 2007 our Cost Call ecommerce platform was the biggest in Brazil, so when WalMart came looking to launch in Brazil, it looked at our platform. By October 2008 we had launched WalMart in Brazil and by 2012 we had 117 Brazillian companies using our platform.
We then expanded to Argentina, Mexico, the US and nine other LatAm markets. Now we are coming to the UK as it is the most exciting and best ecommerce market in the world.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR VISION?
Our vision is to offer a truly cloud-based open ecommerce platform that will let retailers and brands expand globally, offer better customer experience to their customers and make ecommerce better for everyone. We also have the vision of expanding our reach in to the exciting UK market and letting UK retailers tap into all the markets of Europe, Russia and beyond – typically at a time when they need to think globally.
"The UK is the most exciting ecommerce market in the world and, post Brexit, many retailers are looking much more seriously at overseas expansion — what we offer allows them to do that."
WHAT IS YOUR MARKET POSITION AND WHAT GAP ARE YOU FILLING IN THE UK?
The UK is the most exciting ecommerce market in the world and, post Brexit many retailers are looking much more seriously at overseas expansion and what we offer allows them to do that not by just globalising their website, but by allowing them to build local websites in each territory that all work together.
This all comes from us being a truly open and truly cloud based platform that allows users to customise it and tap into its global power.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
Our customers are big brands and retailers – more than 800 retailers operating more than 1600 websites in 16 countries. We already work with WalMart, Sony, Calvin Klein, C&A, Lego, Levi’s and many more.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE CHALLENGES TO RETAILERS IN THE COMING YEAR AND HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The challenges for UK retailers in the coming year are those around Brexit and the need to expand overseas. All retailers need to expand and go international to grow: Brexit has perhaps made many think that they will have to cast the net wider than Europe and that throws up a bunch of problems and challenges. Our system is there to make this easier to do. It will also help with European expansion and open up the world to retailers.
Customer Case Study: sony
Savvy retailers and branded manufacturers doing retail who want to keep up with the changing demands of customers are looking for more robust yet flexible platform solutions. And most importantly, they want platforms that can prove a solid return on investment in shorter periods of time. That’s what Gabriel Cabrera did when he embarked on a large replatforming project.
As Sony’s regional director of online business in Latin America, Cabrera realized the company’s existing platform had become difficult to maintain and parts of it were outdated with regard to consumer needs.
Sony Latin America wanted to provide customers throughout the region a simple, secure and efficient way to acquire Sony’s products on its website from any accessed device. Additionally, the company wanted to expand into other markets.
Sony sought a more efficient approach to its e-commerce platform by considering cloud-based solutions that allowed for regional expansion, and were easy to integrate, scalable and cost-effective. It wanted technology that employed responsive design so that a single website would adapt automatically to the screen the consumer is using, whether that is on a computer, smartphone or tablet.
“We wanted to find more efficiency on our investment and through our expansion into other markets,” Cabrera explains, and says he found that in the VTEX platform. Cabrera also says the company was able to achieve its first implementation in what he calls “record time.”
“In four months, we had a full e-commerce site ready,” he says. “After launching that site, we were having rollouts every two to three weeks for the rest of the countries.”
Six months after launching the VTEX platform, Sony Latin America has seen its conversion rate increase. According to Soncini, that’s because VTEX has a business model that enables brands and retailers to focus on their business in addition to providing an updated platform evolving at the same pace as consumer expectations.
“At a lower ongoing cost, we offer an up-to-date solution that provides a competitive differential to our customers with upgrades on a daily basis,” he says.
In fact, VTEX provides an average of 846 upgrades per month; its clients experience, on average, a 46% boost in conversion rate; and its time to market is, on average, 103 days. Overall, the company provides services to more than 700 retailers—including major brands such as Whirlpool, Calvin Klein, Nokia and Disney—and supports 1,200 online stores in 14 countries using a multi-tenant cloud-based platform.
“Regardless of the type of platform you want for your replatforming strategy, it’s very important to analyze in the long term if that solution will be prepared to push you forward rather than hold you back,” Soncini explains. “Our end-to-end solution includes all the capabilities that allow our customers to increase their conversion rate, customer satisfaction and at the end of the day, their profitability.”