RACO Investment founder Randall Castillo Ortega explains why digitizing business activity is important

Black Friday 2020 has been an opportunity to increase consumption in Panama, which is necessary for companies to strengthen their sales through eCommerce. It also gives them an opportunity to prepare the foundations for deeper digitization, which responds to user expectations in terms of shopping experience and security. COVID-19 may have caused the SME ecosystem in Central America to slow down, but things are going to turn around quickly. Randall Castillo Ortega , the founder of RACO Investment and an expert in business, discusses why it’s important to take advantage of the current situation to digitize business operations.

Digitization focused on increasing customer density and increasing sales requires a vision that translates into the most appropriate strategy and platform for each business, infrastructure and platform management, as well as 24X7 technology, technical and functional support.

“The new normality has led to greater growth and complexity in e-commerce. Therefore, companies need to have a comprehensive, technological and operational vision: elastic infrastructure that can grow and decrease according to demand, as well as an approach that allows them to develop lasting differentiators over time, generate long-term operational capabilities to become more mobile, immediate, competitive and agile,” states Castillo.

This will be seen in several areas and one of them is correct stock management: Omnichannel is a reality and there must be full integration between the physical store and the online store in real-time. Using applications with machine learning allows stores to use statistical models to analyze and detect patterns in sales history, identify trends, and anticipate necessary inventory adjustments, resulting in greater profitability and efficiency.

Another area is contact points. Explains Castillo, “According to the Study of Media and Device Consumption conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), smartphones have a marked preference to make transactions. Merchants must have clarity about their customer’s point of contact, preferred payment options, and what type of information they need to display to complete the purchase.”

The third area that can benefit from digitization is security. One of the elements that has made this new normal clear is the sensitivity of customers before the final click if they consider that the sites they visit lack authentication systems, data control or have poor encryption of sensitive information, it will be difficult to make the purchase. In this sense, businesses must have a holistic view of cybersecurity to provide digital confidence.

Optimal delivery receives a lot of enhancements from digitization. According to a study by consultancy EY, one of the main changes in consumers is that they are increasingly cautious and aware, and tend less to overlook certain aspects of their shopping experience such as delays or errors in care and quality. One way to optimize routes and schedules is with machine learning, especially for the last mile.

Businesses have been able to see this Black Friday as an opportunity to strengthen their interaction with the most advanced technological solutions such as machine learning. This is vital, among other things, to take advantage of the value of the vital resource data for greater optimization, competitiveness, growth and transformation. Technology must be capitalized on this holiday season, as a vital link in the eCommerce ecosystem.

Despite uncertainty and challenges, Panama remains a country that demonstrates a better business environment than the rest of the region. In mid-April, Moody’s rated Panama as Latin America’s richest country by 2021, and although uncertainty has changed the projections a lot from April to the present, as the economy gradually opens, it will bring stabilization and a strong recovery in 2021. Those businesses that don’t prepare for the rebound will be left behind.

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