Since the Coronavirus outbreak began, the global economy has suffered a turn as unpredictable and immediate as the speed at which the pandemic has spread. Mature and emerging markets are adapting as fast as they can. BoaCompra’ e-commerce experts explain what challenges and opportunities are arising in LATAM.
1- We have been reporting a change on consumption habits and online behavior, an inevitable consequence of this pandemic crisis. How is Latin American e-commerce coping with it?
A.: Indeed, as consumers quickly diverted their consumption habits, so have some e-commerce categories been thriving better than others. Supermarkets and some verticals, such as pharmacy retailing, have been registering an incredible online sales increase, while for some businesses, such as media, gaming, and streaming services, homebound existence is an opportunity to intensify the relationship with their customers and attract new ones.
To cope with this consumption shift and fulfill the demand, companies are finding creative solutions, especially those that before the Coronavirus crisis existed strictly offline, and meanwhile have established themselves online.
Some have leveraged the existing social network platforms without using an e-commerce platform, and some B2B businesses became not only available online, but to B2C.
2- How are your clients and business partners being impacted by the lockdown, and what effect it’s having on BoaCompra?
A.: At first, merchants were taken by surprise, and many companies had to quickly pivot to online distribution channels to keep their business alive. Entire industries felt the pressure to go online in a matter of weeks, so this transition was made with a lot of improvisation. For some, things went wrong; others adapted well.
After the initial shock, we saw merchants getting organized, creating the emergence of new models, such as the demand for VPN, the higher incidence of LIVE events in many verticals, or the strengthening of videoconferencing tools. It’s the case of education, telemedicine, conferences and business events, music concerts, and so on.
On the other hand, for some industries, such as gaming, the transition to online was not the challenge but supplying the demand. The global quarantine is causing gaming to be even more popular. This is driving to a greater flow of new competitions, titles, and publishers, leading to more demand. As a lot of our clients are from the gaming industry, we can see that their business is booming.
Meeting these types of new opportunities is inspiring for BoaCompra. Fortunately, the overall effect has been quite positive for BoaCompra, and we have managed to keep up with those who have been experiencing favorable dynamics.
3- At first, food, hygiene and health goods had an extraordinary spike in online sales. However, as the days go by, there is a significant increase in the demand for media content and entertainment. A lot of your clients are from the gaming and streaming industry. What has been done to match this sudden need?
A.: Indeed, gaming is gaining even more popularity, as it is a good way for people to interact even though they are practicing social distancing. Also, right now most of the sports events are closed down, and people miss the competitiveness spirit, both as a participant and as a spectator.
Our clients are well prepared, as they already have enabled a robust infrastructure that can handle the added load. Also, they are monitoring and looking deeper into details than before. We are cooperating with our merchants to enable them to support an even bigger volume, as well as to be able to satisfy the customer needs.
4- Like all companies, BoaCompra also had to adapt. What measures/ procedures have you taken to ensure not only the usual assistance to your clients, but to help them deal with this challenge and grasp opportunities?
A.: At BoaCompra, we were already used to being in touch with our partners and clients remotely, so our day-to-day didn’t change our relationship with them. However, even though our ecosystem has allowed us to work remotely for a long time, our priority is the health of our employees, so we sent everyone to work at home.
The lockdown brought us closer, because both they and all of us at BoaCompra are remote – it’s as if we are all in the same office, our home. Now, sharing a coffee break is something to be done just as well as with anyone across the world.
Alongside this, we believe we’re more focused and motivated than ever as we see that through our expertise we’re helping our clients to cope with the challenges and experience growth.
5- Although this is a global crisis, do you consider that localizing content and payment methods is even more relevant now?
A.: Yes, we are currently seeing a huge transition of people who used to be more in the offline world which is totally localized. Now they are using the online tools, and as their experience is mostly local using their local language, currency, and their local payments, we need to make them comfortable in their new setting not just to help them with this step, but also not to lose these clients later on.
Integrating local, alternative payment methods at the checkout point it’s crucial – especially in the midst of Coronavirus outbreak, as cashless payments are a way to stop the spread. Therefore, to keep on selling, a lot of our merchants have successfully integrated alternative cashless payment with BoaCompra in record time.
6- Health professionals and the World Health Organization are recommending gaming as a practice to maintain well-being for homebound families. In your opinion, will this consumption trajectory continue after the Covid-19 outbreak, or is it just a cycle?
A.: Of course, right now we see a boom that will slow down a bit when the lockdown is over, and people gradually start to go out and reorganize their lives. But with this boom, the customers have transitioned to in a lot of ways, living a life online. This will still be the case for many as they have set their routines online with us.
7- What role will you foresee BoaCompra playing in the economic recovery of the Latin American markets?
A.: We have been there for the boom, delivering an excellent service and will continue to do so, so consumers will be even more used to see us when they buy online. Companies will know we are their partner.
As joint companies, PagSeguro/PagBank and BoaCompra have proven its resilience in a delicate moment for the world economy, continuing to offer merchants our vast experience and expertise on market behavior and industry trends.
Together we provide for financial technology solutions that enable companies to easily access emerging markets, including true, local payment methods – especially relevant from now on, as merchants will pay extra attention to digital sales channels.
Some of our e-commerce experts who have helped us with this interview:
Christian Desert, Chief Revenue Officer
Peter Elfgren, Head of Account Management
Rodrigo Martins, Lead Product Manager
Antonio Meroño, Payment Manager
Mayara Martini, Marketing Coordinator
Cláudia Feijão, Account Manager
Bernardo Manfredini, Account Manager
Mia Piao, Sales Account Executive