Brazilian food retailer GPA is planning to launch a new business-to-business eCommerce platform in an effort to double its customer base by the end of 2019.
An executive told Reuters that the digital platform, created for wholesale deliveries to bars, restaurants and other businesses, is part of GPA’s attempt to compete into the wholesale market as Brazil recovers from a recession.
GPA rolled out wholesale deliveries in Sao Paulo and the surrounding areas four years ago under an initiative known as Aliados Minimercado. Its fast-growing Assai unit, which sells discounted goods in a warehouse setting, continues to operate as a brick-and-mortar chain.
“It is complementary, but also an independent format with its own commercial and distribution model,” Marcelo Rivero, manager for Aliados Minimercado, said earlier this week.
He added that the new digital platform is expected to contribute 10 percent of total deliveries by the end of the year, as well as double the number of Aliados Minimercado’s active customers, which currently stands at 500. Online orders are delivered in Sao Paulo within 72 hours free of charge.
“We basically doubled the growth rate in deliveries to 25 percent from 15 percent earlier this year and we hope to keep this fast pace to become a major competitor in wholesale deliveries,” Rivero said. In addition, the company plans to expand the deliveries to other parts of Brazil in coming years.
This news comes as Walmart Brasil announced in May that it will shutter its eCommerce division in Brazil and focus on physical stores. It plans to turn underperforming hypermarkets into brick-and-mortar wholesale stores, as that brand of retail has become more popular in Brazil as the country pulls out of a difficult recession.
“The company is working in a new omnichannel strategy which will be later announced,” Walmart Brasil said in a statement at the time.