Latin America is a diverse continent, both culturally and economically. By all accounts, e-commerce has been experiencing significant growth over the past few years, and 2016 looks to be no exception. At the moment it is one of the fastest-growing regions for e-commerce behind Asia-Pacific. That signals great potential for future development, especially with the growth of internet access, online shopper penetration across the different regions and easier online payments. In fact, In 2018, 139.3 million people in Latin America are expected to buy goods and services online, a dramatic increase from 84.7 million in 2013.
However there are definitely some obstacles in the path of growth and many areas to improve. Here is a brief look at what are the biggest challenges for retailers operating in Latin America and expert review of what could be the biggest growth drivers in the market.
Delivery & Logistics
Shipping and poor infrastructure have been cited as a major problem for retailers in LATAM. The average delivery time for online orders in Argentina is usually one week, hardly a convenient length of time for digital buyers. That causes a lot of shopper inconvenience. Consumers nowadays are demanding much faster delivery options. In that context, online retailers should think of alternative ways to compensate long delivery times, for instance, free shipping, cost-free returns or free freight.
Better Online Experiences
There is notoriously low consumer trust when shopping online in Latin America and relatively low penetration of credit cards, estimated at less than 20%. Many fear their credit card data can be stolen or that products will simply never reach them. Others still think that “cashonomy” is the best way to buy things. Therefore, retailers need not only personalize the experience, but create trust in order for them to buy. 75% consumers said they most value the security of personal or financial information, 68% payment security checks, and 57% guarantees and warrantees provided for products or services. This is something retailers should pay attention to. That means providing an omnichannel experience that fosters customer adoption.
Mobile Shopping Movement
Mobile accessis playing an increasingly important role in the development of online shopping. Countries in Latin America are also part of the mobile shopping movement and start to invest more in better mobile shopping experiences. Mobile consumption, device adoption and middle class growth facilitate mobile sales too and Latin America is among those markets to see the most rapid growth in the coming years. What does that mean for retailers? Convenience should be the key driver of m-commerce in Latin America.
The State of Personalization
Despite few of the biggest players like Dafiti, Rocket Internet or Linio committing to creating one-to-one relationship with the customers online, personalization at scale continues to be a challenge for many e-commerce marketers. The very thought of personalizing entire the shopping experience is still a novel concept. Because online retail has not yet reached maturity, it is a good time to take a leap of faith, turn to new strategies and focus on personalization as one of the main priorities for 2017. The main challenge and opportunity is to focus on one channel (for example, web) create a fully personalized experience for the users, considering all channels (web, mobile, in-store and call center) and create unique experience with the entire retailer brand.
So how can e-commerce merchants successfully overcome these challenges? In general there is considerable room for growth for retail e-commerce sales in Latin America. Here´s what e-commerce experts all around Latin America think about the most important priorities for every retailer.