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Interviews
02/08/2016

"Consumption of food purchased online is growing quickly"

Manel González. Journalist

As online shopping gains ground in Spain, demand for food online is experiencing significant growth. As a result, the main supermarket chains are constantly dedicating more money and time to perfect this segment of the business. Other companies, like Amazon, which is originally an e-commerce platform, are getting involved in the food segment for the first time and having positive results. That's what Francisco Álvarez from Amazon Marketplace told us.

Manel González.- Everyone has used Amazon, or at least everyone knows Amazon, but not everyone knows that it has been part of the food sector since September. How would you assess the first few months of Amazon Supermarket?

Francisco Álvarez.- We are very pleased. The response from Amazon.es customers is very positive. We launched our Supermarket with 40,000 products and now, just 6 months later, we have more than 150,000 food and home cleaning products. Every day we are improving our store, expanding the catalog and adding new services which make our customers' purchasing experience more convenient. For example, we just added the option of Saturday deliveries, which is already available in more than 340 cities in Spain, and we've only been "open" for 6 months! The philosophy we use in our supermarket is the same philosophy we use in any other Amazon store: we listen to our customers and innovate on their behalf.

M. G.- Do you have any revenues of sales volume figures for these first few months?

F. A.- We don't share revenue data based on categories. But I can tell you that more and more customers are choosing Amazon.es to do their food shopping. And this is just the beginning!

M. G.- What types of sector companies can sell their products in your Supermarket, and what are the requirements they must fulfill to do so?

F. A.- We work very closely with brands and distributors. One option is that they can become direct suppliers on Amazon. In that case, they would send their products to our logistics centers and we would distribute them to customers. Another option, which is especially interesting for small brands that have problems getting their products on the best shelves in supermarkets, allows them to directly upload their catalog to our website and automatically get their products in front of Amazon's more than 280 million customers around the world.

M. G.- To what degree does this platform help small companies increase their sales range outside Spain?

F. A.- We're certain that we can contribute enormously to helping export Spanish flavors. These times are especially interesting as they have given rise to two factors which, together, could represent a new age of growth for Spain's agri-food sector. Over the last decade, Spanish gastronomy has developed an excellent reputation around the world thanks to leading chefs and companies who have known how to connect Marca España and quality products. Additionally, consumption of food bought online is expanding rapidly, in line with growth in e-commerce in general, as companies like Amazon invest heavily in improving the purchasing experience. These two factors create the perfect opportunity for Spanish food brands to grow internationally and to be presented to new consumers, thanks to Amazon. We offer them access to more than 285 million potential customers with no need for investment on their part. On Amazon Marketplace, they can upload their catalog and begin selling internationally, leveraging the value of our brand and even using Amazon's logistics services.

M. G.- Aside from the obvious convenience this offers consumers, what other advantages does e-commerce offer the food industry?

F. A.- There are many advantages. For example, brands can use Amazon as a channel for exclusive launches. Pepsi and Coca-Cola have already launched beverages for young consumers which are only available on Amazon. They used an e-commerce platform as the channel for their marketing experiment to assess interest in some of their new products. Another example: they can benefit from something unique to Amazon: our recommendation algorithm. For offline retailers, it's hard to know what products a sports-lover might buy. On Amazon, we know the food purchased by a customer who previously bought an exercise bike or a GPS watch for runners. This allows us to promote cross-selling and recommend foods to the athlete that we know will interest him or her, based on the analysis of million of previous transactions. In short, Amazon provides an opportunity to create proximity with new consumers and their changing purchasing habits.

M. G.- Are Spanish consumers sufficiently aware of the advantages of e-commerce? As an expert, what does the sector need to grow in this area?

F.A.- E-commerce in Spain is expanding very quickly. For Amazon, Spain is a strategic market with enormous potential. Sometimes we're asked for the secret to our success... The answer is simple: we are obsessed with our customers. Innovating in three aspects which, though it might seem obvious, we know that consumers will continue to want 10 years from now: selection (we must have a great selection if we want them to buy from us), price and convenience.

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