Developing an e-commerce channel from scratch in the midst of a global pandemic.
For more than 30 years, Super Xtra has fulfilled its commitment to Panamanian households to offer the best products at the best prices. With more than 20 branches in the country and the slogan "the masters of savings", the supermarket chain has positioned itself as one of the three most important players in the Central American country of 4 million inhabitants.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to be felt in Panama, like most retailers, Super Xtra did not have a developed digital channel to cope with the coming demand. While they had been evaluating how this process would play out for some time, the juncture positioned online development as the number one priority, bringing with it a huge challenge to this traditional team used to operating physical supermarkets only. Order taking was handled through a completely manual and informal system, via WhatsApp or telephone, which precluded the exponential, scalable and agile growth required to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the pandemic. Considering the strict mobility and social distancing restrictions in Panama, a considerable acceleration of the company's expansion plan beyond face-to-face channels was necessary.
The need was clear: to go to market as quickly as possible with a solution that was easy to implement, scalable, and prioritised customer service standards with a memorable, secure and convenient digital experience.
"Our customers will always be our number 1 priority and the COVID-19 greatly redefined their needs. Developing an e-commerce channel went from being an interesting option for the future, to a vital necessity to cope with today's reality. Without the digital channel we faced losing a significant volume of orders affecting not only our profitability, but also our relationship with our customers".
Rapid implementation, robust technology and an expert supermarket team
Agile approach specialising in supermarkets
Unlike traditional frontend providers that require around 3 months or more of implementation and different integrations for operation, Instaleap's technology was designed to minimise integrations and meet the specificities of the supermarket category, achieving implementations in as little as 48 hours.
In just under a month, SuperXtra went digital with an e-commerce and call centre channel 100% optimised for the category. The initial roll-out had 10 operational shops, which quickly scaled to 24. This channel has all the key functionalities of an e-commerce: geolocalised catalogues, promotional spaces to boost conversion, and administrative tools to analyse relevant KPIs and manage resources efficiently. However, the real differential value lies in successfully tackling the specificities that make the digital channel of supermarkets particularly complex.
Live commerce tools
Instaleap offers tools that promote full traceability of orders to the end consumer and facilitate the management of stock-outs. These include direct chats with everyone involved in the order, status updates and maps for real-time tracking. In this way, SuperXtra has been able to significantly increase the satisfaction of an increasingly demanding customer, offering them a frustration-free experience.
Specific handling of weighable products
Instaleap's e-commerce allows you to adjust the aggregation units for effective handling of weighable products. Once the order is created, the picker looks to approach the requested weight and the charge is automatically updated based on the weight of the products shipped.
Comments for product specification
In the picking process of fresh food, a thorough selection is important, just as if the customer had picked it himself. This is why Instaleap allows the consumer to add product specifications in the picking process.
Full synchronisation with last mile logistics
Mastering the e-commerce channel goes beyond demand generation. Ensuring customer retention is the key to sustained growth, which is only possible when delivery execution and excellent customer service levels are combined. To run a successful operation, SuperXtra not only needed to get to market quickly, but also had to have the logistics tools in place to manage an optimal delivery and pick-up process. Being 100% integrated with robust logistics software, Instaleap's e-commerce solution allows flexibility and full control until the order is delivered to the final destination: from a dynamic checkout fully aligned to real-time resource capacity, through a differentiated live-commerce experience, to optimised picking, routing and dispatching from a single platform.
From the back office, SuperXtra has the autonomy to configure shop details, coverage, operating models and other specifications centrally. Through API-first integrations at catalogue and data level, you can perform daily updates of your catalogue to avoid inventory problems, as well as have relevant business information to analyse in real time. Additionally, Instaleap's logistics platform supports different delivery models to suit the needs of consumers. Complementing express and scheduled deliveries, SuperXtra has a Click & Collect model so that customers can pick up their order in-store, thus strengthening its value proposition immensely.
Expert, high-performance equipment, with you all the way.
Instaleap has a team of experts in handling supermarket delivery operations. After years of actual operation and experiences with dozens of clients around the world, a robust know-how has been acquired and a lot of knowledge has been shared. SuperXtra has benefited from this accompaniment; functioning as an extension of the in-house team, Instaleap shares best practices and offers a consultative approach at every stage of the process, from the training of operators in the roll-out, to the growth and expansion stages of the operation.
Agility and innovation are the key to conquering the digital world. A new feature in a traditional software company can take up to 6 months. At Instaleap, technology development is based on a collaborative methodology of immersion with the client, applying a principle of iterative learning cycles together, to improve processes from the real operation. This allows for a much higher pace of development, launching product optimisations in record time based on observed needs. These rapid and constant iterations have been instrumental in SuperXtra solidifying its position in the market, prioritising the digital consumer experience.
Exponential and sustained growth towards online market dominance
Super Xtra and Instaleap share the mission to bring the best offline experience to the online world, so they work, each from their own area of impact, to continue growing and maturing the digital ecosystem with new functionalities that seek to add value to customers and foster a long-lasting relationship. Considering that as time goes by, mobility restrictions due to the pandemic have become more flexible, the achievements are even more remarkable. Sales have grown from $0 to over $1 million in less than 5 months and have gone from 10 to 24 shops in operation in this same time period; in terms of the number of orders, over 32,000 orders have been processed since the start of the operation, with growth in the last month of 86% and 210% compared to month one.
The plans for the future?
Together with Instaleap, SuperXtra is committed to continue growing exponentially, month after month, through operational efficiency and memorable user experiences. On the one hand, it seeks to win over existing customers, driving repurchase, and on the other hand, to continue acquiring new customers, consolidating the brand as the best option for online supermarket shopping in the country.