The pandemic accelerated new virtual business models that had already been operating for a few years with a low profile or without much success. But the confinement, the fear of going out, as well as the convenience of home delivery made online shopping platforms using the local supermarket as a base grew exponentially and came to stay.
Based on this success, brands and the virtual seller generated virtual business models, simpler, more profitable, and higher profit margins.
These virtual business models create small distribution centers that exclusively serve a base population of no more than three miles around and with record delivery time without having to hurt the consumer’s pocket with delivery costs or additional services.
The model of these centers is simple. They analyze the most consumed products in a specific area and only sell 80/20 of them, offering only two or three brands of each product and promoting them in a geolocalized way through social networks or flyers sent to the mailboxes of nearby residences.
Under this scheme, the “virtual store” reduces by 90% the number of employees they would have in a traditional space. They focus on logistics control, warehouse, purchasing, and technology, the rest of what we traditionally think would be one of its pillars, such as delivery, is given to third parties through applications such as Uber Eats, among others.
This new commercial format of virtual business models offers food, liquor, and medicines, where customers know that they will have the necessary item and the practicality of immediate effect in less than half an hour.
The application is vast, from ordering liquor for a party where they also need ice and cigarettes to the housewife who needs to save two hours of her time shopping at the supermarket to help her children with their homework.
The additional benefit of virtual business models is that cities with dead assets such as empty buildings can be given a new utility, reactivating other sectors linked to the virtual store concept.
Now, brands have to begin to affiliate and understand this model that will be vertical in the coming years, where people will stop going to the supermarket to explore new brands.
Marketing creativity will delimit the purchase of their products. Brand investments will go to digital efforts to appear in the consumer’s shopping options with their virtual carts within an application and where the artificial intelligence of the platforms will determine with great advantage what will be sold.
For example, if the app senses that, based on previous purchases or searches, the consumer is about to prepare a barbecue, the system will immediately send its offers of seasonings, sauces, meat discounts, etc., to increase the cart’s ticket and take advantage of the brands’ promotional funds for this boost.
The shift to virtual business models is already underway, and this is the future of growth for brands in the coming years.