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André Boaventura, CMO and partner at EBANX
It’s no news that Latin America, with an annual expansion of around 20%, has one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world, compared to a global average of 4.5%. With millions of consumers turning to smartphones every day, cheaper internet connections and more accessible banking options, online shopping has taken its first steps in the region and is becoming a constant habit for many Latin Americans.
While the numbers are impressive, it is also surprising that, although widely used among consumers, this digital integration has still reached many small businesses and freelancers in the region who would benefit most from online sales at a time when global Epidemic like the one we are experiencing.
Brazil, for example. Around 65% of consumers in the country regularly buy online from all regions and social classes, but only every third small business in Brazil uses a social network or application to communicate or sell with consumers. as shown by Visa and AMI research. With the introduction of social distancing measures across the country, many of these professionals have been forced to close their physical stores and the Internet has become their only chance of survival.
Photo: John Schnobrich on Unsplash
We saw this in China earlier this year. According to a recent Nielsen report, the country’s brick-and-mortar retailers, who were able to quickly adapt to the new environment during the COVID-19 outbreak, were able to grow significantly by expanding their online presence.
It is worth noting that this was not how digital inclusion as a source of survival should happen in times of recession. A global pandemic that caused thousands of casualties and led to an unprecedented global economic crisis that is never a cause for celebration. But this also changes companies and companies permanently, which can lead to breakthroughs in emerging countries and would not differ from e-commerce.
Stay close to the community you serve, either in your neighborhood or in another country
When we think about digitalization, the first step is to focus on two really important things, whether it’s a large or a small company. First, the localization process, the time you’re working with, and the community you want to reach.
During the crisis, many brands understood the importance of helping the community with health and important things. Airbnb gave health professionals worldwide free living space. In Brasil, Over Provision of free transport to blood donors, i eat created a fund to help small restaurants and 99 donated 60,000 trips to healthcare professionals in Sao Paulo. In Mexico, SHEIN donated 145,000 masks between N95 and disposable items to protect people from COVID-19. Rappi He gave free food to health professionals in Colombia.
Photo: Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
The challenging record imposed by the pandemic has become both an inevitable obligation and a business opportunity for EBANX, one of the largest payment companies in Latin America. After processing payments for global companies like AliExpress, Wish, Airbnb and Spotify (both in partnership with Worldline) and reaching around 55 million consumers in the region, we developed an online shopping experience tailored to the Latin American markets.
In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic and given the importance of being close to the community, especially in times like these, we decided to use this experience for small businesses as well, helping them build their online stores for the first time. Time, and also to connect with your consumers in an online environment. We founded EBANX Beep in Brazil, an online sales platform that enables the sale of vouchers, products and experiences while offering SMB consulting services for marketing and online advertising.
In addition to EBANX Beep, there are dozens of other initiatives in the country and across Latin America, led by startups, retailers, and financial institutions, that are designed to help small businesses manage this difficult time. The transition to the online world is one of the biggest challenges for SMEs: how can you do something online that you used to do at the counter in a physical store? The “Latin American way” of doing business, which has a certain level of intimacy and builds a customer relationship, is the key to success in the online environment, just like in the physical world in Latin America. With the help of social media and messaging apps, these entrepreneurs can get in touch with existing customers and expand their customer base. Sending a message to your most loyal customers and announcing that you are now selling online is a good first step to activate your current customer base.
These are difficult times for all of us. Again, we do not plan or expect to promote digital integration in Latin America, but we believe that, instead of giving millions of Latin American consumers access to global products and services, electronic commerce is a bridge to improve opportunities for small businesses could be entrepreneurs around the world who are leading the big economic improvement in Latin America. To do this, we need to focus our eyes and attention on the community, its needs and behavior. In this way, we will overcome this time with learning and a lot of experience to be successful.