AWS for Industries

Industry Innovators 2022: Digital transformation of the store and employee experience with Cencosud

With their demands constantly changing, shoppers want the best and they want it now. For companies to keep up, digital product development must be a pressing response.

That’s where Cencosud comes in.

As a part of our “Engaging Shoppers & Consumers” track at this year’s Industry Innovators virtual event, we had the pleasure of welcoming Cencosud’s Corporate Chief Information Officer Martin Grosso to discuss how the company develops digital products to increase consumer engagement and transform traditional core processes at the store level. In this post, we cover highlights from Grosso’s “Digital transformation of the store and employee experience” presentation and showcase Cencosud’s commitment to promote scalable technological solutions so people can live memorable experiences.

With over 20 years of experience at companies like Walmart, Limited Brands, and J&J, Grosso is Cencosud’s Group CIO, leading IT in a $15B multiformat retailer with operations in Latin America. Having led business and tech divisions from merchandise planning to ecommerce and more recently IT, Grosso focuses on people’s ability to challenge the status quo – not conform to it. Underscoring Cencosud’s mission to transform traditional core processes at the store level, Grosso reiterates his commitment to innovation by kicking off his session presentation with a quote from Max DePree: “We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”

Priorities first, products second

Before creating digital products aimed at increasing consumer engagement, Cencosud knew it needed to look inward, focusing on four key aspects: priorities, culture, talent, and mindset.

Priorities: Focusing on specific priorities ensures that efforts and resources are going toward real-world problems. It also makes goals more focused and decreases distraction during the digitizing process.

Culture: Introducing new technology to traditional processes can change the way people work and how they perform tasks at the store level. Pay close attention to not only the technological aspect of change, but the cultural aspect of change in both IT teams and employees at the store level.

Talent: Talent is hard to attract and maintain. Create opportunities for employees to work together by capturing talent from those running traditional processes at the store level and those on the digital side.

Mindset: Solutions aren’t always a “one size fits all.” Consider different approaches when developing products from scratch and how a different mindset works with these approaches – especially when it involves and requires interaction from IT and employees at the store level.

Four fundamental pillars

Apart from these key aspects, Cencosud used four pillars as a basis for its objectives and key results: high-performance teams, inspiring leadership, Cencosud experience, and convergence.

  • High-performance teams: Create teams with goal-focused experts and collaborative individuals.
  • Inspiring leadership: Enhance the potential of the teams – create an ecosystem where people can bring their own ideas to the table and see them come to fruition.
  • Cencosud experience: Promote an omnichannel experience for customers and employees.
  • Convergence: Unify and elevate Cencosud’s digital ecosystem.

Digital products for real-world problems

Incorporating the key aspects and pillars mentioned previously, Cencosud created three digital products each with specific functionalities and capabilities. We’ve outlined what each product is and how it brings Cencosud customers – and employees – a better shopping experience:

Mi Local

Translating to “my store” in English, Mi Local helps employees perform their tasks at a store level. Currently being implemented in Chile, Mi Local gives employees the ability to share features embedded in its application. These features include task managers to simplify the way employees work, notifications to inform employees when products are running out of stock or when products need immediate restocking, as well as alerts for when restocked products have arrived at the store. With Mi Local, employees can detect data in real time to quickly solve the problem, or a scenario that’s about to be a problem.


Unlike Mi Local, Connect is for Cencosud’s shoppers, blending the digital experience with the brick-and-mortar experience at the store level. Connect helps shoppers build shopping lists, access store services, receive personalized promotions, and supports contactless payment. It also helps their shoppers access online loyalty programs so they can earn, track, and spend their points. By focusing on the features and functions their shoppers want, instead of the technology, Cencosud improves the experience for their shoppers and will help keep them coming back.

Mi Mall

Mi Mall, or “my mall” in English, is a digital product focused on consumers in shopping centers. Designed to enrich shoppers’ experience at malls, the app helps shoppers understand which stores are at each mall and how to navigate the mall of their choice. In addition to navigation features, Mi Mall has payment features that can detect when a shopper’s car enters the mall, so the shopper doesn’t have to deal with the parking payment process. When the shopper leaves the mall, the parking rate is automatically calculated for the shopper.

Cencosud is scratching the surface of the in-store and off-store experience with its digital products. While the company is already showing promising results, Grosso suggests this is only the beginning for Cencosud. He says, “There are a number of opportunities in our pipeline and many things we are doing to make sure our customers have a better experience.” Because in the end, Grosso asserts, “it only makes sense to change technology if it’s impacting real life for our employees and our customers.”

Interested in learning more about innovators in the world of AWS and what drives them to continue to redefine their industries? Register for the free on-demand content from “Industry Innovators: Retails & CPG.” Or if you’ve already registered, access the Cencosud session here.