The year in which El Corte Inglés reinvented itself: from security to standing up to Amazon with its ‘ecommerce’ and its app

The company accelerated its omnichannel strategy by using its stores as online ordering warehouses.

The English Court.

2020 will go down in memory as the year of the pandemic, a health crisis with a strong business impact. Companies like The English Court they have experienced its effects with the temporary closure of stores, the ERTE… situations that in the case of department stores have provided a new opportunity: to adapt to the times by diversifying their business and entering fully into the battle of ecommerce.

In this sense, the great asset that has played El Corte Inglés is omnichannel and during the pandemic it decided to reinforce it to the fullest, even converting part of the Bricor in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) into a center for orders online.

The capillarity has always been one of the historical strengths of El Corte Inglés. The company has points in the big cities and others on the outskirts. In fact, department stores have always boasted that 90% of the population of Spain is less than an hour from a company shopping center and 50% less than 15 minutes.

What’s more, the size of its 93 shopping centers it is large enough to deal with orders both from within the cities and from the outskirts. Model that completes the 177 Supercor of the company and the alliance that sealed with Correos.

In this sense, one of its advantages is precisely to continue having a physical store nearby for such as customer service or product returns. It is a matter of trust that Amazon does not enjoy.

The app

This entire omnichannel strategy is reinforced by the app recently launched by El Corte Inglés. In fact, with the new application, he tried to imitate -as well as fight- Amazon prices. How? With a single flat rate of 19.90 euros per year for purchases online that allows the customer to choose if he wants to receive his food order and not food.

for now, the customer has access to more than 200,000 products with delivery on the day, in two hours or when the user wants. Specifically, the new app merges the worlds online Y offline in such a way that they interpenetrate and complement each other, giving rise to new synergies that take advantage of all the advantages of each one of them.

Marta Álvarez, president of El Corte Inglés.

Marta Álvarez, president of El Corte Inglés.

And, furthermore, he has gone one step further by signing an agreement with BBVA to incorporate Bizum as a payment method for online purchases that the customer makes both through the website and the El Corte Inglés app.

This method joins other means of payment that were already available in the distribution group, such as bank card, El Corte Inglés purchase card, PayPal, financing lines or cash on delivery.

Real estate and security

Logistics, which is now at the center of El Corte Inglés’s omnichannel strategy, also implies changes in other aspects of the business, such as real estate. Which is why the company also will create a Real Estate business unit in order to order and give value to real estate assets.

Furthermore, in July, El Corte Inglés closed the purchase of Mega 2 Security, a company dedicated to security and general services. Since then, department stores have reorganized the structure around this company, especially about one of its two subsidiaries, Mega2 Servicios Integrales, which changed its corporate name to Sicor Servicios Integrales.

What do you intend with this purchase? With the acquisition, the El Corte Inglés group seeks to become stronger in the security and general services sector, but also to reduce its operating costs. It is also a way to compete directly with other companies in the sector such as Eulen, Securitas or Prosegur.

In short, 2020 has been the year in which El Corte Inglés reinvented itself with new businesses. And 2021 will be the year in which he will have to consolidate his new bets, as long as the Covid allows it.