latin america ecommerce


What: Demographics may have once been the Golden Rule for turning market segments into sales. But Volaris goes deeper with platform marketing that tracks and analyzes exactly what customers do online. As a result, the airline can see what messaging and channels work best.
Why it matters: Moment to moment, Volaris is watching consumers’ internet browsing behaviors. Using a constantly updated algorithm for precise attribution, the airline drills down to individual preferences to convert interests and preferences into ticket sales.


Male, female, Baby Boomer, Generation Y: the basics of market segmentation have guided brand marketing and media purchases for years. But AI-powered attribution anchored in methods for tracking consumers’ behaviors online have changed the playing field forever.

Take the Mexican low-cost airline Volaris. Volaris sold its first ticket in 2006. It flies to domestic and international destinations in the Americas. As a result, its domestic market share in Mexico tops 30-percent.

In the highly competitive field of airline ticket sales, Volaris’ Head of Performance Marketing Jose Langarica is all things digital. In a sit-down interview with Portada at Portada Miami, he pulled the curtain back on how the brand uses sophisticated attribution and data analysis to identify and convert potential customers.

One key takeaway Langarica offered is that where and what consumers do on digital is now more important than which demographic segment they belong to.

We analyze all channels but focus on the one channel that had more impact than another.

Platform Marketing and Online Behaviors

“We look more at behaviour, not demographics,” Langarica told Portada. “I’m interested in how often you purchase, how often you’ve been looking for flights, are you looking for swimwear.”

Using what Langarica said is a “very complex algorithm,” the airline assigns a value to each of the digital touchpoints consumers make.

Using its own and third-party data, tracking online behaviors combined with its algorithm lets Langarica’s team see well beyond demographics. Consequently, it can drill down to consumers’ individual preferences and learning which channels and which messages work best.

“What we do is analyze all of the touchpoints and look at the consumer’s behavior at each one: did they open or not open an email, did they see a banner ad but not click on it,” Langarica explained.

Volaris has its finger on the pulse of “all the digital channels,” and consequently works with content to bring consumers to the Volaris page for a purchase.

Attribution: Measuring Which Channels and What Content Work Best

A consumer may start the day viewing a Volaris email. Then they see the brand on social media, and later Volaris content on their computer. Then later in the day, the consumer may see a video or an announcement that they click on which converts into a sale.

“We analyze all channels but focus on the one channel that had more impact than another,” Langarica told Portada, discussing the airline’s platform marketing technology.

Volaris is testing its attribution model “all the time.”

We look more at conduct (online), not demographics.

The most important channel varies depending upon the campaign. “It depends on the promotion and the objective. The attribution model has to be very well defined,” Langarica said.

“What was the channel that produced the conversion: that is the most important,” he said.

Third-Party vs. First-Party Data

Volaris uses third-party data in its analysis of consumer preferences and digital behaviors. But Langarica said first-party data is the “most trustworthy.”

“With third-party data, you don’t have the same level of confidence.”

Which key performance indicators does the airline use?

Langarica said he looks at the number of website transactions. They include those on Volaris’ own application which is available on the Apple Store and at Google Play.

He said he also looks at the revenue each transaction generates. 

Volaris’ application can be downloaded to either a mobile phone or a tablet and, according to Langarica, there are customers that prefer to purchase their tickets through the application.


What:  Portada talked with Stanley Black & Decker’s VP Digital and Commercial Excellence  Andres Amezquita about how SB&D is using Latin America as a major market to test digital and content innovations.
Why it matters: Content commerce and SB&D’s new “omnichannel” approach to marketing in Latin America will be a featured topic at Portada Miami on April 12  Make sure to get your tickets! While offline continues to be important, Amezquita says offline plus online has “a stronger appeal.”

Andres Amezquita is proactively changing SB&D’s marketing approach in Latin America.

The global diversified industrial company that provides tools and solutions to builders and makers worldwide, is keenly away of the power of reaching consumers digitally. But that doesn’t mean abandoning the traditional offline channels of communications that have served the company so well since its founding in 1843.

While the traditional focus has been on offline communications with consumers (in-store materials, catalogues, print), SB&D is proactively changing its marketing approach in Latin America, Amezquita tells Portada.

“While we realize offline continues to be important we believe an omnichannel (offline plus online) approach has a stronger appeal.”

Content and focus on the end-user is driving SB&D’s new LATAM strategy of a combined offline and online approach.

“Our strategy is to be end-user centric. Content is a key pillar of this,” Amezquita says.

SB&D’s shift from traditional commercialization strategies to an end-user centered e-commerce approach to marketing also takes into account the exploding growth of consumers’ access to the internet via cell phones in Latin America.

“YouTube and social media, in particular Facebook, are key for our communication strategy,” Amezquita says.

Stanley Black & Decker’s Andres Amezquita will be a featured speaker at #Portadamia on April 12 when he will discuss how SB&D’s content- and user-focused digital strategy in Latin America is changing the way SB&D is reaching customers.

Portada: What are some of the ways digital tools can improve your content reach to consumers?

AA: We have to have all the fundamentals in the right place (websites, social destinations) while bringing technology to key activities like our after-sales service network.

While we realize offline continues to be important we believe an omnichannel (offline plus online) approach has a stronger appeal.

Portada: What are some of the new tools SB&D is deploying in Latin America that reflect an increased focus on the end-user, and how does ecommerce fit into this?

AA: We also realize the importance of digital tutorials and video content to upskill and help our users do more with their tools.

Portada: Why the importance of eCommerce?

AA: eCommerce is part of the ecosystem where our end user moves gathering information to make decisions and choosing the best way to buy our products.

Portada: What changes have there been in online sales for SB&D in Latin America?

AA: We have accelerated growth in this area putting a lot of focus on it. We are not only looking at pure players but actively working to develop our customers within marketplaces.

Portada: Is SB&D using machine learning as part of its overall consumer-centric, content focused online and offline strategy?

AA: Definitely.

Portada: Why and how is Miami important for Stanley Black & Decker Latin America?

AA: Close to Miami we have our Global Emerging Markets headquarters. In this division we work every day to create an exponential organization and experiment new models to grow our business. Miami is in a privileged place geographically for being close to Latin America and yet at a distance to get a bigger picture. Also it provides a daily platform to explore upcoming digital trends before they are hot within Latam.

What: comScore’s Ívan Marchant talks with Portada about the e-commerce landscape in Latin America and what to expect next.
Why it matters: The region is enjoying double-digit e-tailing growth with “real competition” between players and increased mobile internet access driving more and more online purchasing.

Increased internet penetration and availability of credit cards hold the keys to a bright future for e-commerce in Latin America, made even brighter by the recent opening of the cell phone market in Mexico, according to comScore Vice President Ivan Marchant.

A “world of opportunities” is how Marchant, vice president of comScore sales in Mexico, Peru and Central America, describes the e-commerce horizon in the region.

E-commerce in Latin America has lots of room to grow.

E-commerce in Latin America, he says, has “lots of room to grow.”

comScore’s internet usage monitoring platform tracks the internet behavior of an estimated two million users.

From Marchant’s perspective, online retailers in Latin America are engaging in “real competition,” but small- and medium-sized businesses have yet to fully get into the game. A concentration of e-commerce sales to consumers in the upper and upper-middle classes he says, needs to spread to a wider distribution of economic levels.

Internet access driving e-commerce growth

E-commerce starts to take off when half the population in any given market acquire internet access, Marchant said in a recent phone interview with Portada.

And increased mobile phone accessibility in Latin America, he said, is opening up internet access to millions.

In the case of Mexico, recent reforms to laws regulating the country’s cell and fixed-line networks, controlled for years by telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim, have lowered cell phone service costs and driven e-commerce growth to new highs.

Since telecommunications legal reforms were undertaken in Mexico in 2013, mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 50 million between 2012 and 2016, according to a study by the OECD.

E-commerce in Mexico is being held back, however, by credit card access below that of other Latin American countries, coupled with fewer opportunities to use debit cards to make online purchases.

LATAM e-tailing to grow by 19%

As recently reported by Portada, e-commerce in Latin America is expected to grow by 19% in the next five years – well above the global average of 11%. Online sales in Latin America will double to $118 billion by 2021.

But Latin America has yet to catch up with the US, where online retailing makes up 5 percent of GDP. The average in Latin America is 2 to 3 percent, according to Marchant.

Brazil leads the region in e-commerce thanks to internet penetration of 75 percent, its larger population and higher credit card usage.

Argentina holds second place, followed by Mexico where online sales grew by 30% between 2016 and 2017.

“The entire region is growing in double digits,” Marchant says.

Since telecommunications legal reforms were undertaken in Mexico in 2013, mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 50 million between 2012 and 2016.

MercadoLibre the leader

According to data from comScore, MercadoLibre is the most visited e-commerce site in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. B2W Digital takes first place in Brazil.

“MercadoLibre is way ahead in audience,” Marchant says.

While Samsung and Falabella occupy second place in Argentina and Chile respectively, Amazon now has the second-most visited e-commerce site in Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

“Amazon is growing rapidly,” Marchant said, while MercadoLibre enjoys an advantage from having been in Latin America long before Amazon’s arrival in the region.

Travel purchases, including airline ticket sales, make up 50-60% of all e-commerce in Latin America, according to Marchant.

“It’s definitely a travel market.”

The entire region is growing in double digits.

Purchases of computer hardware and software are also important, with fashion and clothing popular among e-commerce consumers in Mexico.

Seeing into e-commerce’s future in LATAM

Future opportunities for e-commerce growth in Latin America include the sale of groceries and artwork online, Marchant says.

Online sales of artwork are big in the US, but the same has yet to be seen in Latin America.

Both Walmart and Superama in Mexico have begun to sell groceries online, but in general, Latin America “is far from” where the US is in these important e-commerce sales categories, Marchant said.

Walmart, however, has made a lot of personnel changes in Mexico in an attempt to be a bigger e-commerce player.

The “most important opportunity,” regionally, Marchant says, is to get small- and medium-sized business to begin to do business with their customers online.

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