Last updated: 30 January 2015
The implementation of cross-channel strategies should not be ignored by e-commerce companies operating in Brazil.
In this article we will detail Brazilian consumer behaviour and highlight the most effective strategies to be implemented by cross-channel retailers.
Brazilian E-commerce Consumer Behaviour
Although e-commerce in Brazil has expanded significantly in recent recent years, a large portion of the population still shows some signs of reluctance to shop at online stores.
A survey from 2014 conducted by Fecomércio São Paulo, or the State of São Paulo Commerce Federation, indicates that the main reasons for Brazilian customers to shop online were practicality, lower prices and larger product variety, while the main reasons to avoid shopping online were risk of fraud, need to inspect products personally and lack of confidence in commerce websites.
Considering that only 37% of Brazilian internet users are expected to shop online in 2014 according to eMarketer, the implementation of strategies for cross-channel becomes a crucial aspect for Brazilian e-commerces. One aspect that these companies must be aware of is the habit of product price comparison by the country’s consumers, a practice that has become popular especially on mobile devices. According to research by Nielsen from Q2/2014, 59% of Brazilian smartphone users compared product prices using their devices before making purchases.
These statistics present a current scenario in which Brazilian internet users are much more inclined to gather information about products online and purchase products in physical stores rather than purchase through the online shops themselves. This is a characteristic that multi-channel retailers should understand in order to reach a larger consumer audience in the country.
Current Implementation of Cross-Channel Strategies
Some Brazilian e-commerce companies have started to implement cross-channel commerce strategies to reach a larger part of the audience and be set apart from the competition.
Product Pick-up in Physical Stores
The possibility to pick-up online purchases in physical stores has become a trend for large retail chains in countries like the United States but is still an unexplored possibility for Brazilian retailers.
Even though enabling this option can have a substantial impact on sales and traffic in both channels, it is yet to be adopted by most online retailers in Brazil. Out of the largest chain stores in the country, only Americanas and Extra provide this option for online consumers, and it is still limited to some regions of Brazil like the city of São Paulo.
Another possibility for this strategy refers to enabling returns of online purchases in physical stores. One of the only major chain stores in Brazil to provide this option is building material and home utensils retailer Leroy Merlin, which receives returns of e-commerce products in any of their stores in the country.
Singular Price Across Channels
Providing the same product price across all channels, whether in physical or online stores, is a measure that consumers are very attentive to and must not be ignored by retailers, considering that research by IBM conducted in 2014 revealed that it is one of the five most wanted characteristics for cross-channel stores based on consumer expectation.
Reports from Brazilian customers suggest that this practice is largely ignored by Brazilian retailers and that different taxation policies and operational costs may be responsible for the difficulty for its implementation. Some of the Brazilian stores that provide a unified pricing policy to determinate product categories across multiple channels are clothing retailer Renner and multimedia entertainment products retailer Saraiva.
Contact Center Commerce
Another type of cross-channel commerce commonly provided in Brazil is the implementation of telephone contact centers which users reach from company websites. These are usually operated by service providers, such as travel agencies or insurance companies, which display offers on websites and allow for transactions to be effectuated through telephone calls.
Cross-Channel Commerce Possibilities
There are a number of possibilities for cross-channel commerce that can prove to be successful specifically for the Brazilian public.
Providing a list of local resellers based on customer location can be an effective way to boost the sales of products researched online and purchased in physical stores. This can prove to be useful for customers on the way to purchase a product in any store located in their vicinities and that intend to compare its prices across multiple resellers.
Customers that compare prices and decide on which store to make purchases should also be informed about the availability of determinate products on store stocks. This common practice for foreign e-commerce companies could be introduced in Brazil and have its functionality expanded for physical stores, which are still the main focus of the country’s internet connected consumers.