Retex Let’s take a step back and look at the original idea behind Atoms, and then at the reasons that led to the decision to merge to work together.
VC I believe that our business motto “We design for humans” best sums up the roots of Atoms. If we think only in terms of consumers, customers and turnover, we are going to miss the signals of changes in the real world. Looking ahead, the strength of the brand is increasingly in the relationship with people and the values they carry with them. Atoms was born to incorporate and elaborate them, designing experiences aligned with those core values.
Retex In short, we need to raise the bar higher.
VC We must rethink the business models of today, that’s for sure, to be founded on collaboration as a path for sustainable growth as a company and, above all, as a community. Indeed, I would add that the distinction between values and pure profitability will be a formidable boost to innovation. We are cleanly moving towards a transformation economy, based on a genuine and valuable relationship between organizations and people who are looking for an experience, not just a purchase.
Retex Can you give us some examples of relevant and credible models?
VC The case of Patagonia is an example for everyone: a leading company in outdoor gear and, at the same time, a powerful supporter of brand activism. “We are in the business to save our planet” is a very effective pay-off line because confirmed by facts: the company’s values and those of its target market are perfectly aligned, with very high brand recognition and numbers that validate the soundness of the choice made. I am also thinking of the innovative distribution models of Warby Parker and Lush, in which the evolution trend of the offer to the individual and the community is clear. For retail, in particular, the sense of community will be decisive.
Retex This is one of the most interesting prospects. For us, the WOW effect is only a part of marketing, no matter whether traditional or digital. In the retail recovery, it will be essential the ability to guide the customer to achieve his personal goals, all the better if in a spirit of community with the brand.
VC Sure. A good school is no longer the one that conveys good knowledge, but the one that teaches you to become a better student. Today, on the web you can find all the knowledge you need, but educational values are something else. Whilst it may be necessary to make some changes to take account of the difference between knowledge and product or service, and between students and customers, the main point remains the same.
Retex The logic seems to be “you are one of us, we must not lose you along the way”. Am I wrong?
VC No. It is not a coincidence that Apple’s stores contribute significantly to the success of the brand. It is precisely the large physical space reserved for training, and thus for the concrete and immediate sharing of the needs of its customers as a community, one of the most important reasons.
Retex And here we come straight to the fundamental aspect of the experience sought by those who come into contact with a brand, in person or online, through a website or social network.
VC This is no longer an option but a necessity, so strong that in other countries it has led to the rise of the Chief Experience Officer, who here in Italy are still rather few and far between, especially in top management. These are high-skill profiles that build the path of the product and service starting from their true source, namely from the motivations of those who seek them. In other words, purchasing cycle designed on the buyer’s experience, not adapted to it.
Retex It is almost a summing up of Atoms’ way of being, I believe.
VC Indeed, we have three main lines of work: the design of the product or service, research on the possible response of the market and, ultimately, the technology that makes them possible and competitive.
Retex Very effective also for headless commerce, of course.
VC In fact, we use a serverless logic, and not a single digital platform, consisting of a network layer of microservices. The product presentation phase – the showcase, to put it plainly – is independent from other processes useful for purchasing or other needs. Flexibility of use accompanied by, inter alia, a technological stack that reduces energy needs.
Retex Let’s leave aside, as is our custom, the discursive banalities typical of the announcement of a merger and let’s get to the point: what were the reasons that led you to partner with Retex?
VC We have always said that if you don’t design the experience of those who interact with you, you won’t go far. It is an advanced concept that, thankfully, we have found in Retex’s dynamic way of being on the market. In addition to the use of the shopping cart, self-checkout stations and smartphones, in Retex, you always perceive a next chapter, where the sharing of values is strong and clear. Hence, the decision to combine planning, skills and technologies makes perfect sense.