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E-Commerce Can Broaden Auto Sector SME Sales Reach: Gluo

Jame de la Fuente - Gluo


Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Thu, 07/20/2023 - 17:04

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Q: How has Gluo's business model changed since 2003? 
A: Our business model has barely changed over the years. That being said, technology has definitely changed over these two decades. In 2003, the internet was a greenfield environment in Mexico and there were just a few qualified engineers capable of developing websites. 

Over 15 years ago, we started to work with our customers to help them develop their e-commerce platforms, which eventually led to establishing a specific vertical focused on optimizing e-commerce websites.

The main challenge is the technology itself and people’s readiness to adopt it. This does not apply only to us. Sometimes companies develop highly innovative products but the market is not ready to adopt them. 

Q: How different is the automotive sector when compared to clients in other sectors? 
A: We have been working with the telecommunications sector, which, strictly speaking, needs to be at the forefront of technology. Above all, they are the main promoters of people increasingly using digital means for self-service, customer support and contracting. So, for the telecommunications industry, the digital channel is very important, whether it is to help them increase their revenue, retain customers or even reduce their customer support costs. 

The automotive sector has a different dynamic, especially when it comes to customer interaction. We are seeing more and more companies in the automotive sector with digital experiences, websites, mobile applications and mobile device-specific platforms where you can practically buy a car, apply for credit and complete other processes. This is the area that has moved the fastest in the automotive industry. 

The spare parts sector is also moving toward e-commerce platforms and marketplaces like Amazon and Mercado Libre. Many companies have recognized they need to sell directly to the end consumer online. Similarly, auto parts companies are now engaging in B2B e-commerce, selling to other businesses. This trend is growing significantly. There is a great deal of investment in the automotive sector in terms of the supply chain. Companies are looking for ways to streamline processes and purchase faster, which can be done via B2B e-commerce. From my perspective, the automotive sector has made significant progress in the digital realm and cannot afford to lag behind.

Q: How can Gluo help SMEs in the automotive supply chain? 
A: The main help we provide is the chance to access new markets. A company that sells auto parts traditionally sells them to customers in a fixed area. However, with e-commerce, they can open new markets, whether it is selling directly to end consumers or to other businesses in other regions of the country or even outside of it.

Another aspect is the streamlining of purchasing processes for B2B transactions. With a digital platform, companies can provide customers with a tool for agile purchasing and product discovery. Customers feel comfortable conducting transactions with the assistance of such platforms. Additionally, digital solutions can improve purchasing processes and reduce costs for companies. Instead of relying on traditional sales channels that require a large salesforce, they can empower their sales teams with digital tools to facilitate quicker interactions and save money. For example, a company can increase visibility into its supply chain by monitoring the time it takes for an order to be placed and delivered. This ultimately enhances customer satisfaction and improves relationships with buyers, especially considering that many buyers nowadays are millennials who prefer easy and fast transactions, rather than extensive email or messaging exchanges. These factors contribute to better customer relationships and increased customer satisfaction.

Q: How are companies adapting their website SEO to accommodate AI search algorithms? 
A: Even before this wave of AI that assists with online searches, there was already a significant effort from companies to better showcase their products, content and information and make it available on search engines. Now, they need to continue preparing that information so that AI engines can consume it and provide accurate and aligned responses to what the customer or user is searching for. No company can afford to be left behind in this regard. 

New generative AI tools are also enhancing our marketing and creative teams. For example, in e-commerce, generative AI technology helps us deliver highly personalized experiences, tailored content and customized images based on each person's profile. 

The use of chatbots will also be crucial in the future. Studies show that the conversion rate in e-commerce is often higher when a chatbot is present, compared to when a person is left to click around and figure out how to make a purchase. Chatbots can guide you to make the best purchase decision and can provide assistance in resolving specific problems. 

There are many technologies that we have on our radar. However, we have realized that sometimes the market is not ready for them. There are incredible personalization technologies that can detect a person's intentions based on their clicks, searches or the frequency of their visits to a website. This technology is powerful but companies need to be prepared to implement it and they sometimes are not. We are also looking into advanced conversational chat engines that are highly sophisticated and powerful. We are always seeking clients who want to innovate and take a step forward in this field. We need to find an innovator or an early adopter who is willing to venture forward and raise the bar in terms of the digital experience and technology used in Mexico.

Q: How will nearshoring affect Gluo’s operations? 
A: We recently formed a partnership with a leading North American company for a specific technology. With our talented resources in Mexico, including developers and designers, we are executing projects in the US and serving clients there. However, we seek further penetration in this market. Simultaneously, we aim to bring innovation from advanced markets into Latin America, enriching the digital landscape and services we offer. I think that is the most important opportunity that nearshoring will bring to us. 

Q: What are Gluo’s plans for the near and long term?  
A: In the short term, we are making a strong bet on a type of e-commerce called composable commerce. It is a trend that, in my opinion, takes e-commerce to the next level. Our goal is to take e-commerce from an early stage, where there are already good foundations in Mexico, to a level of world-class digital experiences that are highly contextualized and personalized. We want to raise the bar in Mexico in terms of e-commerce experiences.

In the long term, we aim to leverage these innovations and turn them into solutions, projects and experiences that help our clients to better serve their own customers. This approach must be taken to other markets. We serve the US but we want to increase our presence there and also in Latin America, especially in Colombia, Chile and Brazil. 

Q: What talent development program are you preparing to source the best staff for a potential regional team? 
A: We are engaging in innovative projects that appeal to experienced professionals. Additionally, we have a strong focus on talent development. We have implemented a program aimed at nurturing and integrating young talent in the early stages of their careers. We provide comprehensive training to these individuals and prepare them for world-class projects.

Gluo is a digital agency focused on creating, managing, integrating and enhancing digital experiences and products. Since 2003, Gluo has successfully empowered digital experiences and products across industries, such as media and entertainment, telecom, retail, travel and hospitality.

Photo by:   Mexico Business Publishing

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