E-Commerce is skyrocketing in Latin America as the current pandemic has accelerated digital transformation. This makes the benefits to be reaped from e-commerce investments and e-commerce marketing extremely tantalizing to corporations active in Latin America. To understand why and how the pandemic has catapulted e-commerce in the region, Portada talked to four Latin American brand marketers from Best Buy, Nestlé, Colgate Palmolive, and New York Life who will be participating at our May 19, Portada Live Americas virtual event.
The current pandemic has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce in Latin America, although in many sectors and countries, the development is still in the early innings. Penetration of e-commerce in Latin America lies at 5% of retail sales, about a quarter of China’s and a third of the U.S.’s. This makes the benefits to be reaped from e-commerce investments and successful e-commerce marketing very attractive to corporations active in Latin America. Actionable insights and intelligence on E-Commerce in Latin America and E-Commerce Marketing and Advertising will play a key role at our upcoming Portada Live Latin America November 19 virtual event. We talked to four Latin American brand marketers of the consumer electronics, CPG and financial sectors who will be participating in this virtual event, to learn how the pandemic has catapulted e-commerce in the region and what’s next.
To José Camargo Samperio, Ecommerce SubDirector, at Best Buy Mexico, the Covid-19 pandemic has substantially changed consumer behavior. Traffic on Best Buy Mexico’s website increased by 50% as consumption of consoles, musical instruments and even domestic articles multiplied by four. Consumers opted for more entertainment alternatives due to the increase of time they spend at home.
E-Commerce purchases of consoles, musical instruments and even domestic articles multiplied by four.
Latin America E-Commerce Growth Propelled by Increase of Visits in Retail Sites
ComScore reports that during the time period January – May 2020 time spent by consumers on retail sites increased by 38.7% in Argentina and 18.8% in Mexico compared to the same period in 2019. Home Furnishings, Apparel y Flowers/Gifts/Greetings were the retail categories that most grew in Argentina and Brazil. While for Mexico the categories with most growth were in Health Care, Department Stores and Food/Supermarket/Grocery.
According to Best Buy’s Camargo, as many businesses and companies have had to limit the amount of employees they have working in their office, home office and telecommuting became the norm. Thus the availability of smartphones and computers became something indispensable to have to accomplish work objectives. We have seen that servicing clients in everything related to the home office, has brought in sales as a result.” Camargo adds that “customer needs have changed almost totally: health and well-being are the main factors to take into account when it comes to offer a service.”
German Villegas, Digital & E-Commerce Manager at Colgate Palmolive in Mexico notes that the main lesson of the pandemic has been to not to leave the implementation of platforms and of strategies around high growth (social) media properties until later. Additionally, he adds that the current environment has confirmed that in e-commerce there is no space for rigidity; flexibility and nimbleness are always required.
Villegas commends the rapid reaction of Mexican brick and mortar retailers by adopting and increasing Latin America e-commerce initiatives. “They also have quickly adopted delivery and pick-up. This has also substantially improved the effectiveness of omnichannel marketing as well as the ability of brand marketers to execute segmented campaigns.”
The Link between Social Media and E-Commerce
According to Best Buy Mexico’s Camargo, the pandemic has also increased the importance of social media platforms. “Websites and user profiles have been connected at a high speed, which has allowed users and brands to develop strong tools to exchange content, and even more importantly, convert to bilateral relationships through which consumers can in a very direct way issue opinions and reviews about their consumer experiences and distribute them to millions of consumers.” “Therefore its crucial for brands to get a clear understanding of where they are in the open internet and on social media.”
Websites and user profiles have been connected at a high speed, which has allowed users and brands to develop strong tools to exchange content, and even more importantly, convert to bilateral relationships.
To Gerald Fuchs Torrescano, Content & Digital Marketing Director, Seguros Monterrey/New York Life, what his company does in social is targeted to the primary point in the digital journey of his company’s prospects. “We have granulated and segmented our content in such a way that the lead ends up filling up an online form. The number of completions has increased by 43% since the pandemic started. This is due to a substantial increase in content marketing which is optimized via social listening tools. In other words we ask what do you need, rather than talk about what we offer.” Fuchs Torrescano also stresses that the pandemic has put forward the “need for top notch sites with relevant content and that are adaptable to all target market segments. It’s crucial to obtain high conversion rates.”
To Carlos Leal, Marketing Director, Ambient Dairy at Nestlé, based in Bogota (Colombia) the best strategy to convert social media users into Latin America e-commerce buyers is to generate “content that is part of the trend.” He adds that “Its not so much about having a link to the purchase site, but about making your offering a routine that is part of the daily live of the consumer. Good content marketing and word of mouth have played a very important role in generating trends. With that base, Influencers then can bring about a behavioral change in the end audiences.”
LatAm E-Commerce: Third Party Marketplaces Grow
Latin American third party marketplaces (e.g. Mercado Libre, Amazon), have played an important role in the survival of small and midsized online vendors, says Best Buy’s Camargo says that his company also helped these vendors to provide an excellent customer experience which was reflected in positive consumer reviews.
Nestlé’s Leal stresses the role of deep-linking: “Deep-linking is more important than ever for strategies that send consumers right to the purchase basket, particularly in the case of marketplaces. “They can be a credible reference that generates traffic and it is likely that this traffic ends up with a purchase, generating not only a lead but a sales conversion”, Leal concludes.
Deep-linking is more important than ever for strategies that send consumers right to the purchase basket, particularly in the case of marketplaces.