With advancements in technology and the internet, e-commerce is arguably the fastest growing business model in the world. With internet access and a few taps of a finger, you can order just about anything from anywhere. While it’s pretty simple for the consumer, the logistics that make it all happen aren’t so straightforward - especially when you’re an online retailer trying to reach out to a market like Latin America.
Following closely behind China, Latin America has become the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world. But, while the demand is there, the market can be hard to access. Shipping is perhaps the biggest challenge, with the cost of logistics often running upwards of 15% of the cost of merchandise sold.
Yet, any company that learns to overcome the challenges is rewarded with access to this fast growing market. Here are a few tips for companies looking to expand their presence in Latin America.
The first (obvious) step to increasing your presence in Latin America is by really connecting with your customer base in the market. The good news is many countries have a growing middle class who are comfortable with the idea of buying products online. But, many potential customers will have hesitations about buying online, especially from a company based in the U.S. or one across the ocean in Europe. In other words, trust is important.
It sounds simple, but speaking the language goes a long way in building trust. For example, Spanish can be very regional and different between countries. If you must pick one, Colombian Spanish is often considered the most ‘neutral’ style of writing.
Buyers also need to feel good about their payment being secure and that they are paying a fair price. Providing access to coupon codes, special offers, or other incentives that make buyers feel they are getting a deal can be very helpful. Shoppers already feel a level of uncertainty when they are shopping online and don’t want to risk being taken advantage of.
Another great incentive is to offer free or reduced price shipping. A flexible returns policy and access to customer support also go a long way to build trust with the customer and give them confidence their purchase on your website is the right decision. As an online retailer, you already know the pain of cart abandonment at the point when shipping costs are displayed in the cart – now image how this problem is magnified when the customer is in a different country and already apprehensive about the purchase in the first place.
Speaking of delivery, having confidence in the deliver method matters too. By using a shipping partner that provides online tracking and offers help with duties and customs clearance the customer can be confident delivery will be fast and smooth.
Latin America presents a unique growth opportunity for many online retailers. In many ways under-served by online retailers, shoppers are eager for more options to buy products from the popular the U.S. and European brands. Smart online retailers have learned that cultivating trust and a reliable customer experience are the key to success in Latin America.