Strategy

3 years in 3 months: brMalls increases the speed on malls race during the pandemic

Bernardo Lemgruber
Bernardo Lemgruber June 29, 2020
3 years in 3 months: brMalls increases the speed on malls race during the pandemic

Last month, BrMalls, the largest Brazilian shopping mall chain, added a transactions feature to its app. Previously focused on care, the application already offered discount coupons, movie tickets, express parking lanes, among other benefits. Now, the company is betting on integrating store catalogs and inventories to offer convenience to consumers who were prevented from frequenting enclosed spaces due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shopping Tijuca, one of the most relevant malls of the chain, will be the first to have this functionality. To residents of this neighborhood, the promise is to buy from home and receive the order on the same day. The turning point in BrMalls’ strategy was to reproduce the food delivery service model: if restaurants can deliver orders within minutes, why can’t stores do it with the same efficiency? This bet may prove to be crucial to produce cash flows in stores that are closed due to social distancing measures.

The company’s stake in Delivery Center, a delivery startup, and investments made since 2018 are even more valuable in this delicate time for the economy. By setting up distribution centers inside the malls, the startup is an important ally for the chain to expand the services offered to clients, tenants and end customers.  

There is a stigma that digital transformation in shopping mall chains is slow. Because of that, it is easy to find market specialists measuring it in years. When looking for a platform, brMalls team was clear that they needed a robust and scalable software to serve the chain’s 30 malls. In addition, one of the main attributes sought was the capacity to set up a marketplace and integrate stores with different levels of digital maturity.

VTEX, already present among over 60% of the chain’s stores and with great marketplace success stories, such as Compra Certa, Shopfacil and C&A, stood out as an option for brMalls. The implementation process took three months and, after its launch in May, placed brMalls as a leading player in the economic recovery of physical retail during the pandemic.  

The solution is fully integrated with the existing app and technically viable through VTEX’s headless architecture, which allows queries and the use of the platform’s APIs. On Shopping Tijuca’s app, you can search catalogs, place orders, pay through the app, and receive the orders at home. In the face of the inherent uncertainties of the pandemic scenario, plans to expand this functionality to other malls of the chain should be sped up.

Retailers in the chain were already able to check “boletos” (popular Brazilian off-line payment method) and expenses and request services through the brMalls app for tenants. With the VTEX platform integration, now stores can also manage their catalogs and orders from the new sales channel. This way, the largest Brazilian shopping mall chain positions itself as an important ally at a time when retailers need a healthy cash flow most and seek solutions to this crisis.

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