Black Friday shipping preparation is a top priority for many e-commerce retailers. Black Friday e-commerce sales have skyrocketed in the latest shopping seasons with shoppers spending $6.22 billion on Black Friday 2018 via e-commerce. That’s a whopping 23% increase from the previous year.
E-commerce purchases have also been steadily on the rise in Latin America, an emerging market showing much promise for international e-retailers. By the end of 2019, 155.5 million Latin Americans are projected to make a purchase online, leading to approximately $79.7 billion in sales. With so much potential, many online retailers are turning their focus to this region.
The question for e-retailers looking to the south is: How do you juggle the Black Friday surge and international shipping at the same time? We’re here to help with proven strategies for navigating Black Friday Shipping to Latin America.
Black Friday E-Commerce Growth
Black Friday is a popular shopping day for international e-commerce shoppers, especially with many of the electronic items on sale difficult to obtain in certain Latin American countries. E-commerce stores report up to a 240 percent increase in sales on Black Friday alone with online traffic increasing by up to 220%.
With Latin America’s explosive potential, it’s worth paying attention to your potential customer base from that region. In fact, economists and investors are saying that the growth in Latin American e-commerce is not only imminent, but that the market will reward early adopters.
Latin America’s E-Commerce Potential
There’s no question that Latin America’s e-commerce market is growing. The region saw an overall increase in e-commerce sales of 17.9% in 2018 and is expected to account for one-fifth of total online sales worldwide by 2022, totaling $94 billion. With over 626 million residents and 33 countries and a population full of residents who are relatively new to e-commerce shopping, it’s a market with incredible potential.
Like any emerging region, there are certain e-commerce challenges to keep in mind, including language barriers, alternate payment methods, and local retailer competition. However, with a strong e-commerce strategy, these issues can be easily overcome.
One thing is certain: when prepping for a big boom in international sales and Black Friday shipping demands, it’s essential to have a solid logistics plan. Below, we’ll discuss a few things to keep in mind and offer helpful tips for creating a successful Black Friday shipping strategy.
Black Friday Sales Trends
Before you start planning your Black Friday shipping strategy, let’s look at which products are poised to sell the best in Latin America this Black Friday. First, it’s important to know that Latin American holidays are a little different than American holidays. In addition to Christmas, many countries in the region also celebrate and exchange gifts on Noche Buena (December 24) and El Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings’ Day (January 6).
So, it’s likely that your Latin American shoppers will be making purchases on Black Friday for all three of these upcoming festivities. Experts are projecting that e-commerce shops will make $12.3 billion this year during the Black Friday holiday sales. So, which products should you put on sale?
Based on last year’s Black Friday shoppers, consumer technology is a winning product category. Home automation systems, tablets, smartphones, and gaming systems dominated the market last year. Toys also did well, with top sellers including Fingerlings, LOL Surprise, Beats, Nintendo Switch, Hot Wheels, Little Live Pets, and Hatchibabies.
In Latin America, every country has its own trending eCommerce markets. Here is a sampling of some of the most successful e-commerce market segments in select Latin American countries:
Brazil: Fashion and beauty products lead the way, accounting for 9.4% of the global beauty product market share. Electronics is the second most popular product category.
Mexico: the e-commerce markets are incredibly diverse, with the largest segment being electronics and media. However, the fashion and beauty segment is expected to overtake it in the next year.
Argentina: The hobby, toys, and DIY market segment is one of the largest in the country.
Chile: Personal electronics dominate, with products like tablets, smartphones, and computers selling most frequently.
Colombia: e-commerce shoppers are most likely to purchase fashion and apparel products, food, or electronics.
While Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia are newer e-commerce markets, online shoppers are likely to purchase electronics, apps, clothes, or health and beauty goods.
Regardless of the products you have on offer, the next step is nailing down a Black Friday shipping plan.
Black Friday Shipping to Latin America: A Breakdown
What does a successful Black Friday shipping strategy look like? What types of things can you do to make sure that your Black Friday e-commerce plan is a success?
Tip #1: Prepare for The Extra Sales
The first thing you can do is to ensure that you’re capable of handling extra sales during the big day. While everyone wants more sales, if you haven’t prepared for them, you could be looking at an inventory and Black Friday shipping disaster. Here are some suggestions for handling the extra sales.
Prepare Stock: Make sure that you have enough product to fulfill orders. Pay special attention to anything that you’re putting on sale, as those will likely be the hot sellers. Also consider having extra stock of your most popular products, even if you aren’t putting them on sale. The additional traffic could increase purchases of your popular products.
Shipping Supplies: If you handle packaging in-house, make sure you have enough shipping supplies. Think about all the extra stock you’re purchasing and ensure that you have enough shipping supplies to actually ship the product to customers.
Line up Fulfillment: Check on your entire process. From receiving, processing, and delivering orders, it’s worth having all your ducks in a row.
Website: Extra traffic can spell trouble for your website. Consider having your developers look at your backend to make sure that your site won’t crash right as sales are rising.
Tip #2: Lock in Your Customer Service Processes
It’s always essential to have an excellent customer service procedure in place, but it’s especially true on high sales days like Black Friday. Consider utilizing chatbots or hiring seasonal staff to help answer any customer questions. Plus, think about the language barrier with Latin America, and consider adding some bilingual employees or resources.
When it comes to Black Friday shipping, transparency is critical. Know and understand shipping timelines so that you can accurately tell your buyers when they should expect their packages. Don’t promise reduced rates or expedited shipping if it isn’t a possibility. Also make sure to finetune your:
Return policy: When shipping to Latin America, the best thing you can do is be honest with your shoppers about expectations. Also, consider a return policy specific to your international customers. While no one wants to think about returns, they’re an inevitable part of the e-commerce process. The UPS reported 1.4 million returns on January 3, 2018 alone following the holidays.
Product descriptions: Do everything you can to give clear, detailed descriptions of all your products. Include as much product information as possible so that your international shoppers know exactly what to expect. Make sure clothing sizing guides are as accurate as possible.
Order fulfillment: Do everything in your power to fulfill orders correctly. An extra level of fulfillment oversight could be wise to ensure that all the right packages are being sent to the correct locations. It’s easier to make mistakes during the hustle and bustle of the Black Friday shipping process.
Tip #3: Communicate and Be Flexible
Communicate with all your partners while developing your Black Friday shipping strategy. For instance, talk to your suppliers and make sure they can handle the extra orders. It’s best to do this before you decide on which products to put on sale.
Also, check with your couriers. They’ll probably be shipping a lot more than usual, so you’ll want to see if they’re putting shipping limits on their customers. Other e-commerce stores might be using them too, and if resources are tight, it’s not uncommon for couriers to operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Flexibility is a good quality to have. Be flexible with all your partners and shippers and figure out where you’re willing to budge, and where you’re standing firm. For example, maybe you’re okay with not offering a deal on a particular product, but you absolutely can’t pay extra fees for priority shipping.
In addition to hammering out all the details with your partners and teams, you’ll want to keep communication with your customers open. Consider hiring extra customer service support for your shoppers to handle Black Friday shipping and service issues as they arise.
Tip #4: Pick a Shipping Method
Think about how quickly you want your package delivered. Costs to ship will vary greatly depending on how fast you want your Black Friday shipping to be. If you’re okay with slower shipping, then your costs will be lower.
However, since most people purchase on Black Friday for the Christmas holiday, expedient shipping could be necessary for your shoppers. A recent study found that an astonishing 97% of consumers say that delivery speed is at least somewhat important when trying to decide whether to make a purchase online. Additionally, 40% of shoppers say it’s incredibly important.
While you might not be able to offer Amazon-level Black Friday shipping speeds to your Latin American buyers, you’ll still want to keep delivery speed in mind.
Tip #5: Think About the Costs
It’s easy to get absorbed in all the extra purchases you need to make to ensure your Black Friday sales are a success. You don’t want to overextend your budget. So, you can start by looking at how to cut your Black Friday shipping costs.
Check your expected package weights and sizes to make sure you aren’t accidentally creating a Black Friday shipping nightmare with large, heavy packages. Weight and size can add up costs very quickly. Also, consider the extra services you’re offering customers, things like shipping speed and tracking services. Make sure the benefits of providing those services outweigh the costs involved.
Most importantly, if you’re watching costs, take the time to compare prices, because international shipping fees and timelines vary quite a bit. You’ll want to find the cheapest international shipping, and the shipping provider you’re currently using might not be the most competitive.
Partner with SkyPostal for Your Black Friday Shipping Needs
Black Friday shipping to Latin America requires an extra level of care, but as the stats show, it’s worth the extra attention. Ultimately, the key to a successful Black Friday is to prepare and strategize the logistics. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning Black Friday shipping plan.
To truly guarantee a smooth Black Friday shipping operation, you’ll want to pull in the experts. SkyPostal has decades of experience in shipping to Latin America. We can help your e-commerce business succeed during the Black Friday rush.
Get in touch today and see how our operations can help you navigate your international shipping needs for Black Friday and beyond.