Amazon se pasa al retail

Mucho se está hablando sobre el fin del retail y cómo las ventas online están obligando a retailers tradicionales a cerrar tiendas, sobre todo en mercados maduros. Personalmente creo que muchos de estos cierres se producen por problemas en esas empresas y no tanto con un cambio radical de la forma de comprar, que es parte del problema, pero no todo. De hecho, empresas como H&M o Inditex siguen abriendo tiendas. Es cierto que los cambios en la manera de comprar está haciendo que todo el comercio, el retail de toda la vida se tenga que adaptar y esta adaptación no ha hecho más que empezar, y que, lo que valía en el sector en los años 90 ya no vale, o ya no vale del todo. Sin embargo, en todo esto, y con cierres muy importantes de centros comerciales en Estados Unidos, Amazon, el retailer online por antonomasia, ha realizado una de las compras más “extrañas” de su historia. Hace tan solo unos días, compró la cadena de supermercados ecológicos Whole Foods por 13.700 millones de dólares. Estamos hablando de una empresa, un cadena de supermercados, un retailer puro y duro, que tiene 322 establecimientos entre Estados Unidos, Canadá y Reino Unido.

 

wholefoods

Fuente: www.wholefoodsmarket.com

 

La cuestión es ¿por qué un retailer online compra Whole Foods? Sin duda, Amazon, Jeff Bezos y su equipo, tienen toda la información, pero, en mi modesta opinión, tiene mucho sentido. Amazon lleva tiempo metiéndose como puede en la distribución de alimentos. Pero, ¿por qué de alimentos? Lo cierto es que es un segmento difícil porque tiene una alta obsolescencia y unos márgenes muy ajustados, pero tiene algo que muy pocos segmentos tienen, una altísima rotación. Incluso en los peores momentos económicos, hay que comer y llenar la cesta de la compra, como sea, es una de las principales prioridades. Es cierto que Whole Foods está centrado en un segmento que podríamos calificar como algo más premium, por el tipo de producto que ofrece, pero la capacidad de distribución está ahí. Una base de clientes que hacen compras con mucha frecuencia, es una base de datos fantástica para poder ofrecer otro tipo de productos, y eso no se le ha pasado por alto a Amazon. A esto hay que añadir que los supermercados online lo tienen bastante difícil porque la gestión del género, sobre todo el producto fresco es complicada y requiere un tratamiento específico, por ello, Amazon se lanzó a distribuir únicamente producto no perecedero cuando decidió meterse en alimentación. Además, no nos engañemos, no es previsible, al menos en mi opinión que el único canal de distribución vaya a ser internet. Sin duda las ventas online de productos de gran consumo seguirán creciendo en los próximos años, pero las tiendas seguirán ahí, y ser capaz de vender de manera online como una auténtica máquina, y a su vez, tener una fuerte presencia offline es algo, muy caro de mantener, pero que puede significar una fuerte ventaja competitiva, y si no, que se lo preguntan a Inditex, que sigue apostando por internet mientras no deja de abrir tiendas.

amazon

Fuente: www.amazon.es

En definitiva, pienso que tiene mucho sentido esta adquisición, me parece que han pagado un precio adecuado, al menos en base a la capitalización de la empresa apenas unos días antes de la adquisición, de alrededor de 10.000 millones, y seguro que van a mantener las mejores prácticas de Whole Foods para sacar lo mejor a la operación. Seguro que vamos a ver más movimientos parecidos en los próximos años en la misma dirección, retailers online entrando en la distribución tradicional.

 

 

 

Juan Aitor Lago Moneo

Director de Investigación de Constanza Business & Protocol School

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