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ECSE 2023 highlights: Don’t blindly follow AI trends, but adapt it to your business strategy

Left to right: Mario Antonio Pérez, Armando Vélez, Gonzalo García, Santiago Rodríguez and Marco Hugo Reyes.

The Ecommerce Summit & Expo occurred at Citibanamex convention center in Mexico City on the 4th and 5 of October, 2023. Many ecommerce companies and service providers gather to network, share knowledge, and create alliances during this event. Sellesta’s team in Mexico held an exciting panel of experts to discuss What’s the best time to implement AI in your business?

Our guests encompassed experienced businessmen and consultants: Armando Vélez (Ecommerce Director LATAM at Skillnet), Marco Hugo Reyes (CTO at, Gonzalo García (Manager at Arthur D Little), Mario Antonio Pérez (Ecommerce Senior Manager and Digital Transformation at Elektra) and Santiago Rodríguez (Sales Executive at Sellesta) as moderator.

During the panel, the speakers shared their experience with digital transformation in their companies and the companies they’ve worked for. While they all agreed it is not an easy path, they were on the same page about key points that helped smooth the process and succeed in their projects.

All speakers agreed that tools should adapt to your company’s goals and not vice versa. Another main point they all supported was the return on investment: “You should always make sure that the tools you implement have a healthy ROI,” –said Santiago Rodríguez, Account Executive at Sellesta Mexico.

Armando Vélez, marketing expert and consultant, underscored that “In countries like Mexico where business processes and rigor have been lacking, AI tools can help generate a healthy pipeline to solve problems.”

Marco Hugo Reyes and Mario Antonio Pérez agreed that collecting data is vital and a great advantage for ecommerce businesses, but the job does not end there. How you use that data and how you apply it makes the difference.

Here is a compelling thought by Mario Antonio Pérez, Ecommerce Director at Elektra, one of the biggest retail chains in Mexico: “We should go back to basics and use our common sense: What are your touchpoints? What does the customer tell you? Usually, the cashier will ask Did you find everything you need? And then someone will say no, and she will write it in her notebook. And then nothing happens. Use whatever tool you want, but if you are going to ask that question, which you should be doing, you should do it in all your stores everywhere, online and offline. You should keep data of the answers and act on that information. Make decisions with the data.”

Gonzalo García is the manager at Arthur D Little, a company dedicated to assessing growth opportunities for business, especially in the digital transformation spectrum. He shared his thoughts about digital transformation and gave an example of his work in 2013 when digital was not even as pressing and popular as it is today. “When talking about digital transformation, you have to understand what kind of transformation the company needs: find internal (employees and processes) and external (sales) friction points.”

He analyzed friction points for a big company and found that implementing automation in the financial department and implementing an IBR for the sales department could go a long way. The company allowed for more changes after implementing these small changes and showing promising results.

Ultimately, all speakers gave an opinion on the best practice for an ecommerce business.

  1. Armando Vélez: “Avoid being an ecommerce “fashionista” which follows trends for the sake of following them. Focus on your customers and what they need. Your customer will tell you what technology to adopt, not the other way around.”
  2. Marco Hugo Reyes: “Measure everything you can and use that information in your favor.”
  3. Gonzalo Garcia: “Shoe-maker to your shoes. Use tools to be more productive and focus on your core business.”
  4. Mario Antonio Pérez: “Be an active listener. Collect information and take action with it. And have clear objectives. You’ll get nowhere without clear objectives.” 
  5. Santiago Rodríguez: “Use easy tools. Don’t waste your time with complex tools that will not fix your problems.”

The general opinion was that AI is not here to solve everyone’s problems. It’s a tool, and you must learn how to use it. That’s why businesses should start with easy tools and small tests before trying to implement complex tools they don’t understand, or worse, trying to develop their tools and losing focus on their core business.

Finally, an attendee asked a question: How do you deal with those who don’t want to adopt these new tools in your business?

Armando Vélez had an unexpected perspective on this subject. “What are the main stoppers for digital transformation? It is not a lack of budget or technology. According to surveys, the main factor is human: 1) Resistance to change, 2) Lack of education, 3) Lack of drive from management.” He recommended holding special events like digital days to raise awareness of the possibilities of digital tools and reduce fear around new processes or pipelines.

Santiago Rodríguez recommended taking small steps and suggesting change on a small scale. Don’t try to change everything at once. Start testing some tools and see where it takes you. You can go a long way, one step at a time.

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