APRO, a company that has been supplying different industries with all kinds of safety equipment for 41 years, decided to digitalise part of its operation in 2015 and today 50% of its sales in the Puerto Montt branch are made through digital platforms, 40% through the industrial purchasing portal wherEX.

APRO's southern austral zone manager, Pablo Chamy, says that when they started to venture into e-commerce it was not easy. The company had to adapt its sales strategy and understand this new way of doing business. "At the beginning it was difficult because with the platform you lost the right of reply and also the link with the customer that you were used to.

Over time they managed to adapt and today half of the business transacted through digital channels, however, the use of e-commerce varies by geographical area, for example, Punta Arena still maintains traditional sales methods, he says.

According to the executive, the wherEX platform has allowed them to optimise processes, making them faster and more efficient. At the national level, they have even managed to reach new customers and in the southern region they have managed to build customer loyalty.

On the other hand, he highlights the transparency and traceability provided by the purchasing portal, which means that there is no loss of information and access to it is just a click away. "In my industry there is no bribery, but we all know that in Chile this is a reality and this has probably helped a lot to avoid such malpractices," he says.

Pandemic spurred use of shopping portal

Despite the difficult situation that many companies have had to face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, APRO saw a 37% increase in sales in southern Chile during 2020. This is because they experienced explosive growth in the sale of respirators, masks, gloves and other items associated with the health crisis, he says.

In addition, most of the industries with which they market safety equipment are essential and their operation did not stop.

With the pandemic, e-commerce sales were imminent and the company began to use digital channels in areas where it had not done so before, such as Punta Arenas and Temuco.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, we could no longer visit customers, go to the plants, the offices... So we had to start using communication channels that were not usual. That way wherEX was a perfect fit," he says.

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