Wearing dual hats as PPG vice president, Architectural Coatings (AC), Latin America, and president, PPG Comex, Javier Sosa is spearheading a customer-centric strategy that has boosted Latin American sales and transformed PPG Comex into one of the top five retail chains in Mexico.
A Network of Success
Holding a marketing degree and an MBA, Javier has been with Comex in various marketing and commercial roles his entire two-decade career. He joined PPG in 2014 through the Comex acquisition and moved into his current role in 2022.
Comex was a great company, but it was strengthened with the arrival of PPG. We have the best of both worlds – the global corporate vision of 140-year-old company and the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of a 70-year-old company that has been extremely successful in Mexico.
Javier is responsible for our AC business in Mexico, Central America and South America. By the numbers, that’s 4,600 employees, six manufacturing facilities and 12 warehouses. Key brands are COMEX™
paint, which are sold through independently owned paint stores, retail stores and hardware stores.
“We don’t see ourselves as a chemical company. We consider ourselves a retail company, especially in Mexico, where we have a strong network of more than 600 concessionaires that operate more than 5,100 Comex stores. This puts us among the country’s top five retail chains.”
In this symbiotic relationship, Comex is responsible for providing market-leading manufacturing, logistics, product technology, brands, sustainability and customer service. Concessionaires take the value proposition to the end customer by investing in stores, their workforce and relationships with the community.
Beyond the business model, our greatest advantage in Latin America is our talent. Every employee is committed to accomplishing our mission to protect and beautify the world while also delivering an outstanding experience for our customers and partners.
Underlying that outstanding experience is putting the concessionaires, other distribution partners and end customers – contractors, painters, carpenters, DIYers – at the center of all decisions by actively listening to what they need and value the most.
Sustaining Strong Growth
That listening is producing strong annual growth in the Latin America region. It’s also shaping a new customer experience that ventures beyond stores and into the digital landscape.
Our goal is to create an omnichannel experience covering every touchpoint to make it easier for customers to engage with us. We’ll provide an inspirational experience through our apps, social media, and a landing page that will create revenue streaming opportunities for younger generations of DIY, contractors and professional customers.
Those needs increasingly include products that reduce energy use, improve productivity, use recycled materials, last longer, and offer other environmental and health benefits. Comex has set a goal to have sustainable products account for at least 50% of sales by 2025, which is significantly higher than current regulations in Latin America.
“By listening to our customers, we know that they value products that increase their sustainability. We’ll meet this need through customer-driven innovation and a commitment to be a sustainability leader in the region.”
New Store Concept Transforms Thoughts into Reality
Innovation extends beyond products, with Comex differentiating itself from the competition by recently opening two concept stores where there is not a single can of paint on display.
Many of our customers don’t find any value in seeing the physical product. What they want is inspiration, advice and technical expertise. The goal of the concept stores is not only to purely transact with our customers. It's also about connecting emotionally, helping them imagine the projects that they can protect and beautify with our solutions and take them to reality with a unique state-of-the-art brand experience.
Customers receive one-on-one expert advice on products, colors, finishes and more. An expectant mother, for example, is introduced to the benefits of antiviral paint. A contractor interested in sustainable buildings learns which of our products provide credits toward LEED® certification
The average customer stays 15 minutes in a regular Comex store. That can reach 45 minutes in a concept store, which will be popping up in the 20 most important cities in Mexico and Central America in the coming years.
“Through the inspiration and advice found in these stores, we can make real what our customers are only dreaming about.”