GPA launches B2B ecommerce platform

Date : 26 June 2019

Brazil-based GPA is enhancing its Aliados Mini Mercado (formerly Aliados CompreBem) wholesale business through the launch of its new B2B ecommerce platform.

Background to Aliados CompreBem

GPA launched its Aliados CompreBem business model in July 2016, which was re-branded to Aliados Mini Mercado in 2018. The initiative was set up to enable small and midsized independent neighbourhood stores to work in partnership with GPA.

Businesses purchase wholesale consumer goods from GPA, also using its delivery network. In return they benefit from operating under GPA’s recognisable CompreBem (now Mini Mercado) brand and from leveraging GPA’s retail expertise in areas such as inventory control, operational efficiency and from point of sale materials. 

The new digital platform has been used to bolster the currently offline service and will provide a more efficient way for smaller businesses to restock and replenish their inventories. 

Developing the new platform

The new ecommerce model was developed as part of a strategic partnership with the start up Menu.com.vc, who are specialists in creating platforms specially designed for personalised B2B ecommerce. GPA can contribute its own learnings from the ecommerce operations already in place for its Pão de Açúcar and Extra stores.

Businesses will massively benefit from move to online

The platform enables businesses to check stock in real time, access GPA’s latest deals and quickly and simply process orders using a mobile phone. The service will mostly be used by neighbourhood stores, restaurants, bars and other small to medium-sized enterprises (SME’s). The online platform is likely to be very popular with GPA’s clients as it makes it easier for them to efficiently manage their businesses whilst on the move. It will also enable them to be more reactive in ordering the latest products and best deals.  

For now, the service is only available in the greater São Paulo region, but GPA plans to extend this to more regions in the medium term. Within São Paulo orders are fulfilled within a maximum of 72 hours and deliveries are free of charge.

Ambitious growth plans

Marcelo Rivero, Manager of Aliados Mini Mercado said the new digital platform is expected to contribute to more than 10% of Mini Mercado’s total sales by the end of 2019. The business also aims to double its active customer base from c. 500 at present to 1,000 customers.

The wholesale business has been performing strongly in 2019. In an interview with Reuters, GPA commented; “We basically doubled the growth rate in deliveries to 25% from 15% earlier this year and we hope to keep this fast pace to become a major competitor in wholesale deliveries.”

Online platform will compliment physical stores

GPA has said the new platform is “complimentary, but also an independent format with its own commercial and distribution model”. GPA is continuing to rapidly expand its Assaí brick-and-mortar cash and carry format, with plans to open 20 stores in 2019. Assaí is expected to remain poplar due to their differentiated proposition of serving both B2B and B2C customers. For more information on GPA’s 2019 store see our article here.

Great opportunity to grow its private label

Through the ecommerce platform, SME’s will be able to order from GPA’s entire Qualitá private label range. As part of the criteria for SME’s to partner with GPA, they are required to make “frequent purchases…and follow established criteria in the relationship program, such as the development of exclusive GPA brands” (Aliados Mini Mercado website). This, therefore, encourages neighbourhood stores to stock a certain number of Qualitá products. This presents a great opportunity for GPA to grow awareness of the Qualitá brand outside its own stores and showcase the quality and low price of these products.

Our view

GPA’s move into B2B ecommerce is a big step for the business in becoming more competitive in the wholesale segment. The platform will be hugely beneficial to neighbourhood businesses and will ultimately improve the shopping experience for customers using these stores.

Many small to medium sized businesses in Brazil/São Paulo do not have the luxury of surplus space or stock rooms. Therefore, the ability to replenish products within a quick 72-hour time frame, with no delivery cost is a massive advantage for managing stock control. This development is a great way for GPA to continue growing its business and it will complement the highly successful and expanding Assaí cash and carry banner.

This is a good opportunity for GPA to introduce its Qualitá private label to new customers, supporting the business’s plan to increase private label sales penetration from c. 10%, at the start of 2019, to 20% in the next three years.