Manuel, trader from Lima: “Quality and customer care are the key”
The 114 traders of José Olaya market in Villa El Salvador, South Lima, Peru, have been enjoying the fruits of their labor thanks to recent collective efforts. Despite hard competition from big supermarkets, they remain open for business.
The traders have embraced the importance of building stable relationships with their clients and offering quality at better prices.
“Previously, each trader only provided for his own stall, bought his products individually and had separate pricing. Thanks to training courses in customer care and marketing, and to a common strategy devised in collaboration with the other traders, we now have a better chance of getting business and competing, especially as we benefit from direct relationships with our customers, who have the last word on where they want to shop,” says 63-year-old Manuel Chuizo, whose lifetime career in the grocery sales sector enabled him to put his four children through higher education.
Courses in finance, collective purchasing, waste management, market research and buyer profiling are a part of local development projects set up in Peru by Oxfam in collaboration with local parties within the Trabajo Digno y Ciudadanía (Fair Work and Citizenship) program. This initiative aims to improve the traders’ competitiveness and, supported by local governments, puts in place a common strategy to strengthen their daily economy.
“Every morning at four, when I choose the goods at the grocery market, I do it with consideration to my customers who will come and buy my products later in the day. The key factors are the quality and the service that we offer to each customer, as every one of them is special. I am always kind, talkative and in a good mood, and the price is not critical: if customers recognize quality they are willing to pay for it,” adds Manuel.
Originally published by Oxfam Intermon (Spain), May 2009.