Merchandise Manager, Housewares Division
Sodimac Colombia (Homecenter)
Marta Cordoba has worked for Sodimac Colombia (Homecenter) for 19 years, where she is the buyer for a wide range of product categories. She leads the team responsible for development of new lines of business and strategies for brick and mortar and online program development.
Before joining Sodimac, she served for 12 years as the merchandise manager at Muebles Bima, which was the first big box format store to sell readymade furniture, home décor and accessories in Colombia.
A part of the Falabella Group, a leading global retail organization, Sodimac operates 220 stores in seven countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru. Operating in the region for more than 65 years, Sodimac is the top home improvement brand in Latin America. Executives within each country meet to develop corporate strategies. Primary product categories include lumber and building supplies, hardware, appliances, bath and kitchen, home accessories, furniture, lighting, outdoor and garden.
Stores receive more than five million consumer visits per month. Even with growing ecommerce, consumers prefer instore visits and research shows that each person shops instore 3x/year. Sodimac targets the entire family; about 68% of shoppers in the stores are women, who are responsible for most product choices for the home.
Because of internet access to information, consumers are more demanding than ever. They are impatient and price-conscious. They seek convenience, value and store experiences/entertainment. They want information about the products they buy and how to use, store and clean them. Colombia family demographics indicate that more than half of households have four members, including two or two or more children. Households with two members represent 13% and single-person households are nearly 6% of the population.
Sodimac aims to develop synergies with three categories of customers:
- Home: DIY or Do it For Me
- Specialists: Contractors, plumbers, carpenters
- Business: Institutions, schools, hospitals, construction mega projects.
In order to be located near their customers, Sodimac located its 40 stores in Colombia in 25 cities. In sales by department, housewares products are responsible for 25%, construction supplies 19.7%, hardware 21%, flooring/kitchen/bath 28.5% and gardening 5.6%.
Sodimac operates a sourcing center in Shanghai. Buyers also discover new products at international trade shows and fairs, offers from suppliers and internal product development.
About 60% of Colombia’s population has internet access, 76% of such users have purchased at least one item online, and 57% of such sales were paid by credit card. Homecenter.com.co, one of the top three ecommerce sites in Latin America, grew its sales by 500% since opening in 2012. Consumers appreciate the much larger assortment available online and shop by desktop, mobile app and in-store screens. Increasing ecommerce required enhanced logistics management and the construction of new distribution centers.
Their crossborder marketplace www.homecenter.com.co allows sellers to upload and sell their products on Sodimac’s digital platform. Transactions are managed by Sodimac and sellers are able to perform logistics. Sellers benefit from wider client reach, greater product exposure, higher brand recognition and increased sales.
Questions from the audience included how to work with Sodimac’s Miami freight forwarder, regulations, packaging requirements in varied countries, warehouse timing and customs issues. Global Forum participants also engaged Ms. Cordoba in questions about consumer preferred product categories, private label and ecommerce in specific countries.