Shopper Direct: Multicultural Digital Solutions for Your Store at Competitive Prices

The aftermath of the Covid pandemic, inflation, and unequal competition keep independent supermarkets in an endless search for savings alternatives in their operations while continuing to offer quality and convenience to their customers. A difficult task to achieve, but not impossible, at least for Shopper Direct.

Colombian engineers Juan Carlos Castañeda and Iván Peñalosa, together with their TelOnline team, understood supermarkets’ great need and took on the task of creating the Shopper Direct digital solution. This tool allows retailers to increase their sales while improving and personalizing communication with their customers through a digital loyalty program, with services such as the mobile application, the supermarket’s website, and the creation of kiosks.

Castañeda, CEO of TelOnline, founded the Sunrise, Florida-based company in 2005 and has worked in recent years with the support of his colleague, engineer Peñalosa, who holds the position of chief technical officer (CTO).

How the Shopper Direct kiosk works (in Spanish).

In an interview with Abasto magazine, Castañeda said that TelOnline started as a technology development business in the telephony and telecommunications area and quickly expanded its services taking advantage of the demand and experience of its engineers in the digital world.

They saw the importance of supporting independent supermarkets by optimizing communication processes with their customers through smartphones. In this way, stores can minimize the costly system of weekly mailings of printed advertisements to promote grocery sales and special offers.

Related Article: How to Have an Efficient Online Customer Management

“The issue is that with so much information coming into their homes, the percentage of people who check the ads is meager, like three percent, and it turns out to be a very high cost for the supermarket,” Castañeda explained.

With Shopper Direct’s digital solution, supermarkets can create their database by collecting customer information quickly and efficiently when paying for their purchases at the cash register. Thus, the store establishes direct communication with the shopper, who will receive through a text message on their smartphone information about special offers and other services offered by the supermarket.

“We created a kiosk that is easy to access so that the customer feels the desire to enter their information and feel connected with the supermarket. At the same time, the store can offer them personalized incentives, a loyalty plan with rebates, and special offers so that the customer feels increasingly motivated to do their shopping in the same place,” Castañeda explained. “Today, we have supermarkets that have captured the information of 20,000 customers in one place,” noted TelOnline’s CEO.


While working as a team, TelOnline specialists and the supermarket’s marketing department use the information shoppers provide to develop the mobile marketing strategies of text messages they send to customers.

Engineer Peñalosa pointed out that the design of Shopper Direct took into account the lack of time and personnel in supermarkets to implement complex technology systems. Therefore, they designed a simple and easy-to-access platform in Spanish, English, and other languages. With TelOnline technical support, stores could retain and attract more shoppers, increase sales and increase customer traffic in their stores with price and sales promotions.

Shopper Direct allows independent supermarkets to access digital customer loyalty solutions that have been exclusive to large chains.

“For many independent supermarkets that manage meager revenue margins, it is too costly to have an engineering department, an IT manager, or even a marketing department. That is why with TelOnline, we want to be like partners with supermarkets, an ally that does not simply offer a product and a service but remains connected with customers to support them in their technological needs,” said Castañeda.

To learn more about TelOnline and Shopper Direct’s services, visit their web page