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Copyright © 2020 Grupo Nutresa. All rights reserved. Medellín, Colombia.
Design, press editing, development and montage: Taller de Edición.
Marisol Franco owns the mom and pop store known as La Economía, located in the Patio Bonito neighborhood in Bogotá. Marisol acquired this business fifteen years ago and she recognizes that, at the beginning she “didn’t really know what I (she) was doing.” She used to devote most of her time to the business and, even though it provided enough for Marisol and her daughter, she did not feel it was a steady business.
“With Grupo Nutresa’s support, the shop business started to improve. At first, they proposed redistributing the merchandise, making general changes, painting the shop and adjusting some details. Then, they invited me to the School for Customers, I completed a course at Universidad Javeriana and there, they taught me how to place orders and how to distribute the products; they taught me where to put them and in what order, things like that,” says Marisol.
The changes worked really well: the sales increased and, what’s more important, her personal life transformed. “I learned to be more organized and, since that, I am more relaxed. I didn’t feel the need to devote so much of my time to the business anymore; I was able to take more time of resting and I learned to organize my ideas and to be at peace. I decided to work every other day so that I could spend more time with my daughter and my husband,” she tells. The experience at the School for Customers even helped her to enjoy more the quality time with her family: “They told us: ‘You must take time to spend it with your loved ones, to take a trip, for example,’ and they told us about places to visit. We have actually visited many of those places,” she relates excited.
In 2020, the School for Customers transitioned to an e-learning platform, to which Marisol logs on from her smartphone. She selects the subject she wants to study, and she receives new content every day. “The fact that the courses are online now is an advantage because you can watch the sessions multiple times and that way you learn even more,” she states. Additionally, this learning method allows her to share the knowledge with her employees so that they can all learn together. “I show most of the courses to the team, that way they also discover new things and learn a lot too. For example, in one of the courses, they say that neighbors look for this type of shops because of the closeness of the service provided by the shopkeepers, so I showed them that course and told them: remember to chat with our customers so that they feel comfortable, as if they were at home,” Marisol tells.
Through the program of School for Customers, Grupo Nutresa provides tools to the shopkeepers to enable them to improve all aspects of their businesses. The courses address subjects that range from the presentation and distribution of products, to how to do the bookkeeping. In order to help them to get adapted to the new conditions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, they were provided with contents about finance, biosecurity and emotion management, among other. In 2020, the program benefited 2.355 shopkeepers.
“It was a complete change, not only for my business but also for my life. My life story now has two parts, before and after the support I received from Grupo Nutresa. This experience let me have a clear idea of where I stand, and it taught me how to work and how to take advantage of every inch of my business.”
“The pandemic forced us to realize that you have to keep yourself updated about the technology and the changes that are happening. I learned to take care of many things via e-mail and to use several online platforms; those things are incredibly useful for this type of businesses. At Grupo Nutresa’s School for Customers, they have also taught us about that, for example, the WhatsApp business accounts, they explained how they work.”