Digital Insider

Digital Insider: Patricia Amaro on digital transformation in the CPG industry

Alessandro Pavan
Alessandro Pavan October 21, 2021
Digital Insider: Patricia Amaro on digital transformation in the CPG industry

One of the industries most affected by the pandemic was clearly the CPG (i.e. consumer packaged goods) one, where digital transformation was accelerated at previously unimaginable speeds. 

In a sector where ecommerce and online shopping was overlooked by many, we now have the pleasure to offer great insights thanks to a conversation with one of the most experienced leaders of the industry. Welcome to this episode of Digital Insider, a podcast series about the digitalization of retail, featuring Patricia Amaro, Global General Manager eB2B and new e-business platforms at Reckitt.

Meet the guest

Patricia has an extensive background in ecommerce and digital strategy, having started in retail marketing where she learned the dynamics of consumer retail. From traditional retailers, she then moved on to digital, working for NetShoes. Patricia cultivated a passion for making companies thrive digitally, delivering great consumer experiences while building new areas in companies dedicated to digital commerce. 

In 2012, she made a bold move, starting a new adventure in the CPG industry as Ecommerce Senior Director for Unilever. She was tasked with a likewise bold task: create the company’s ecommerce operations from scratch. The project represented a real challenge, especially because of the lower level of digital maturity of most CPG companies. But her vision succeeded and is now spreading across the nations Unilever is operating in.

Today, she is working at Reckitt, a multinational consumer goods company operating in the health, hygiene and nutrition sectors, busy tackling global challenges to improve the online presence of the group’s brands.

Consumer packaged goods going digital

One of the topics addressed during our conversation with Patricia was the post COVID-19 scenario for the CPG industry. Many CPG brands embraced the digital transformation a lot more comfortably than others. Of course, digitally-native companies had a clear competitive advantage, while others had to react fast to keep up with the competition and the consumer behavior. 

Some succeeded in that mission, yet some did not. For this reason, in Patricia’s opinion, it is very hard to set a level of digital maturity for CPG companies, as the market is so heterogeneous. The best advice is to always be ready for change. 

It’s very important to be prepared for the future, because you never know when that future happens, and when it happens you have to be ready. When COVID-19 arrived, there were some companies that could easily adapt the business to sell online, but at the same time, other retailers had no online presence whatsoever.

Patricia Amaro, Global General Manager eB2B and new e-business platforms at Reckitt

CPG companies, digital disruption and marketplaces

Of all the business models, Patricia has a great passion for marketplaces. That’s why, when our host Bernardo asked Patricia a question on the topic, you could really hear some sparkle in her voice. 

One of the market strategies that many CPG digital companies adopted after the pandemic was becoming a marketplace. While starting marketplace operations might seem really disruptive, complex and intimidating, at least from a technical standpoint, Patricia invites everyone to embrace it as a learning and collaborative process. Undergoing digital transformation in CPG is about adopting new digital technology to help your business grow; with marketplaces, you definitely can! 

When we talk about digital disruption, I think the best way to go about it is creating the opportunity to review and to transition. It’s about learning how to do things in a new manner, but without necessarily having to kill something along the way.

Patricia Amaro, Global General Manager eB2B and new e-business platforms at Reckitt

There are plenty more insights that Patricia shared with us, such as:

  • The power of digital innovation in large organizations;
  • The importance of a diverse team for a successful digital transformation.

To discover them all, listen to the episode at the link below — and don’t forget to follow the podcast for fresh retail insights. 

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