To conduct our global eBusiness research at Forrester, we rely heavily on support from our multilingual group of Research Associates and Researchers. Recently, one of our Research Associates, Lily Varon — whose family originates from Peru — spent two weeks in the country and emailed us with her take on the state of eCommerce. Given that an increasing number of our clients are eyeing the online retail markets of Latin America, I thought it would be interesting to hear Lily’s observations of what’s happening in the region’s sixth-largest economy.
“Here are a few high-level findings from my travels:
Consumer adoption of online shopping in Peru remains low. The lack of online shopping is largely due to the fact that it’s just not customary, but also due slightly to the fear of putting personal financial information on the web. Retailers are encouraging consumers to overcome these barriers by prominently displaying payment and security information on the website, as well as educational information such as FAQs, step-by-step shopping, and payment instructions or YouTube videos explaining the shopping and checkout processes.
There are established eBusiness players in retail, travel, and financial services. Each of these sectors now counts multiple players in Peru. For example, Supermercados Wong, LAN Peru, and Interbank have all won awards for their as eCommerce leaders in retail, travel, and financial services, respectively.
Offline advertising is focused on driving traffic to companies’ Facebook pages. Large and small merchants alike are encouraging customers to engage with them on Facebook rather than driving them directly to the website. Some retailers and restaurants that do drive consumers to their websites are using QR codes for this purpose.
A new marketplace is gaining traction in the B2C space. While MercadoLibre has a localized Peru offering, a Peru-specific website called Plaza21.com launched in December 2011. Companies selling their products on Plaza21.com each have their own storefront — pricing is based on revenue share and a membership fee. Plaza21.com has a strategic alliance with Grupo Scharff (a FedEx partner in Peru). Shipping is free in Lima to all districts and all packages are trackable online, but extra fees are charged for shipping outside of Lima. Payments include credit cards, SafetyPay, and PayPal. Plaza21.com has a Facebook page and Twitter account where it offers deals and responds to customer posts.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive view of eCommerce in Peru, simply a few observations I made during my trip.”