SAO PAULO: Magazine Luiza, the Brazilian retailer, has leveraged its unique DNA to compete successfully with Amazon in a challenging market.

Founded 60 years ago as a gift shop in Sao Paulo’s Franca district, Magazine Luiza , or MagLu, is now one of the region’s most innovative and competitive companies following the decision of then CEO, Luiza Helena Trajano, to enter e-commerce by leveraging its network of physical stores for distribution.

That has been crucial to its subsequent success and its ability to withstand Amazon’s entry into the market six years ago. Brazil faces particular infrastructure and consumer credit problems and Amazon has struggled to reach the dominance that characterises its presence elsewhere.

Equally crucial has been MagLu’s continuation of its hallmark customer service in the online world where it has also reached a new, more affluent consumer less likely to pass through a store. (For more on Magazine Luiza, read WARC’s in-depth feature: A family affair: How one Brazilian retailer is winning the battle against Amazon.)

In 2016, Frederico Trajano, Luiza’s son, took over as CEO, having risen from chief operating officer, in which role he had spearheaded the company’s e-commerce expansion.

In addition, his achievements included creating a lab for experimentation, which has led to a number of visible successes to add to the brand’s core offer, including a wedding registry service and a social selling service.

“I affirm that we are today the only retail operation in Brazil, and one of the only ones on the planet, that deserves the omnichannel designation,” Frederico Trajano told Forbes Brazil, in reference to MagLu’s operation of several sales channels that use all the same infrastructure.

And speaking at the recent World Retail Congress in Madrid, Trajano wondered: “Why can’t retailers think like Silicon Valley companies? They shouldn’t have a monopoly on innovation.”

Often, its new ideas are not about building a complicated, world-changing product; like Amazon, it takes consumer problems and smooths them through digital technologies.

“You start small and tackle one consumer problem,” Trajano said.

Sourced from WARC