VANESSA HARTLEY: In this episode of The Update,
I talk with Giuseppe Cunetta,
VP Marketing eCommerce at MediaMarktSaturn.
The company was established almost 60 years ago
and operates over 1,000 consumer electronics stores
in 13 countries across Europe.
So, Giuseppe, you moved to your new role
just as the pandemic took grip across Europe in January.
GIUSEPPE: What can I tell you? It was like running a company
that was changing so dramatically every single day.
we were already on track with our digital transformation,
and our investments really paid out.
We’ve actually been very capable of switching
our operating model towards ecommerce very fast.
And therefore, being capable to capture and grow
in the triple digit range for the whole period.
VANESSA: So Giuseppe, how has the pandemic
impacted the MediaMarktSaturn business focus and strategy?
GIUSEPPE: We were moving from the approach of
creating promotion after promotion –
this is the bread and butter in retail business – to findability.
And findability really starts with the value of the data.
We all know that data is the currency of the digital world.
And in our business, it’s pretty important
to understand how to create value out of the data.
And you are getting there
if you create automation and intelligence.
Another important element was
how to bring offline and online together in the best way.
So we’ve been able to do omnichannel bidding,
meaning the capacity to generate conversion
out of the inventory existing in a store.
This is also dependent on the capacity to track
inventory on a store level.
And at the same time, we’ve been able to do curbside pickup,
which was another very important option
that the customer appreciated
during a period of constraints in free movement.
VANESSA: So we’re seeing huge global changes
in consumer behavior.
What were the biggest changes you observed at MediaMarktSaturn?
GIUSEPPE: We were constantly monitoring trends
and doing number crunching
using insights such as Google Trends
in order to understand the key categories.
At the beginning of the story,
it was a lot about gaming and productivity.
So computer devices and printers and video games.
After that, it was about personal care,
like hair cutters or body tools.
And finally, we had a lot of spikes
in food preparation or home care.
VANESSA: So Giuseppe, what behavior changes do you think
we’d bring with us after the pandemic?
GIUSEPPE: The pandemic worked a little bit like a time machine,
bringing everything into the future
10, 15 years in the context of making ecommerce,
and especially mobile commerce, choice number one,
platform number one, destination number one,
even for older generations.
VANESSA: Switching gears a little
and looking forward into 2021, Giuseppe,
tell us about your business priorities.
GIUSEPPE: We are all about growth, quality, and speed.
And talking about growth, we believe that digital sales,
ecommerce will be the dominant channel
in the months and in the years to come.
Therefore, we are determined to play an even stronger role.
We are already one of the biggest ones.
We will continue to do that,
obviously in a fully integrated, omnichannel approach.
On the second side, we are also talking about quality.
And we know that quality is coming out of
the relevant conversation.
Meaning, that we need to use the data.
We need to use information
in order to prepare for our customer demands.
We need to fulfill and even exceed every customer’s expectation.
Finally, we believe that agility and speed are the same thing.
So we need to be able to
do, test, learn, fail, adapt continuously in this business.
Because things are changing so fast around us
that we need to adapt continuously
to remain on the competitive edge.
VANESSA: Your role combines ecommerce and marketing.
How has the role of CMO changed over the years?
GIUSEPPE: We are coming from the old, nostalgic time
in which marketing was all about creating
emotional campaigns or branding stuff,
which are also important, very important,
but only in the context of
getting those together with data and analytics.
And the job now is much more about
understanding from all the data opportunities,
from all the data points,
what are the desires and the opportunities
and trying to fulfill against customer expectations.
So, the responsibility in that context of marketing
is much more to listen than to shout,
is much more to fulfill rather than to influence.
VANESSA: And finally, Giuseppe, what one piece of advice
would you give to business leaders for 2021?
GIUSEPPE: I think my general recommendation is
that obviously we need to be brave.
We don’t know about the rest.
We need to be flexible
because we need to adapt for a changing reality.
And we need to be open-minded
because this will certainly be an interesting year to come.