How can a LATAM e-tailer de-throne U.S. giants?

Published by channelfront on

The use of eCommerce in Latin America has been increasing for years. However, the current pandemic and economic shutdown have accelerated this increase. Ecommerce in Latin America is expected to grow 8.49% and reach USD 200 billion in market value, becoming one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Grupo Exito is leading the charge on this front. It is likely that once things return to normal, people will continue shopping online. In Latin America overall, 78% of consumers stated in a survey they are willing to keep shopping online post-Covid-19. 

Formed in Medellin, Colombia in 1949, Grupo Exito is a leading food retailer in South America with a presence in 4 countries; Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina. #1 retailer in Colombia and Uruguay and #2 in Brazil. Grupo Exito has clear competitive advantages derived from its strength in bricks & mortar and the value of its brands, supported by the quality of its people. Grupo Exito diversifies its revenues with a strategic set of complementary businesses to enhance its retail offering. Casino Group from France is the majority stakeholder of Grupo Exito with ~55%.

Grupo Exito’s marketplace initiative and part of the Omni Channel’s strategy include Exito.com and Carulla.com. Subsidiary Carulla is an online store with nationally-focused sales. Most eCommerce net sales come from the “Food & Personal Care” category. The marketplace allows expanding the offer of products and services in eCommerce through third-party vendors. Sellers make use of the platform and the payment gateway of the site to sell their own products.

In 2019 Grupo Exito was announced by America Retail as a finalist for “Best E-tailer of Latinoamérica”. Other finalists included Falabella, Mercadolibre, Cornershop, Paris, Olx, Ripley, Sodimac and Linio. Grupo Exito won Best Colombia Retailer.

International Brands & Operations

Grupo Exito introduced innovative products from all over Colombia and the world. Exito.com leads international brands such as Miniso, Decathlon, Bata, US Polo Assn, Mac Center, and many others. Exito allows for sellers to manage all their content in English and translates it automatically to Spanish. Prices can be listed in US Dollars, avoiding exchange rate volatility that could affect sellers’ earnings. Exito’s international operation counts with a logistic operator partner with distribution centers in the U.S., England, and China. The cross-border model allows sellers to sell in Colombia with both Colombian taxes and international shipping costs being taken care of by Exito.

Robust Mobile Sites

Grupo Exito launched Exito’s and Carulla’s mobile site in 2019. A platform designed for mobile devices that improves the shopping experience for customers around the world online, offering greater usability, better display of the product description, and greater ease in the purchase process. All the developments were carried out by Grupo Exito’s own development team. Today, 40% of the visits made to exito.com are through the mobile site, of which 10% are converted into effective purchases.

Global eCommerce

In 2020 Grupo Exito became part of the ChannelAdvisor network. A leading provider of cloud-based eCommerce solutions that enable brands and retailers to increase global sales. Committed to helping brands and retailers reach new global audiences.  ChannelAdvisor is looking to grow its eCommerce reach globally. With the help of ChannelAdvisor, Grupo Exito unfolds an aggressive plan to incorporate US sellers and expand their offerings to Latin America. Grupo Exito is also looking to simplify even more the Cross Border Trade between the United States and other Latin American countries. Grupo Exito joins the ranks of Mercadolibre who have already joined the ChannelAdvisor network as a marketplace integration.

Continent Wide Exito (Success)

Joining Exito’s marketplace provides an entryway into a rapid growth market like Colombia and a partnership with Colombia’s biggest retailer. Sellers’ benefits include Trust, Diversification, Expansion, Support, Experience, Visibility, Autonomy.

Sellers can expose their products to thousands of people who visit exito.com every day. It is the opportunity to offer their products with a recognized brand, manages their own inventory, prices, content, and logistics while having security in the payments they receive since the entire transaction goes through exito.com and it is Grupo Exito paying the seller directly. More than 38 million visitors a year of exito.com, can access great commercial offers and carry out transactions safely and with the confidence that the sellers go through an approval and monitoring process by Grupo Éxito.

Solid Current State

Grupo Exito´s strong and profitable Omni-channel strategy responded rapidly to the new customer´s habits, levered in a dual model (own capabilities and exclusive partners). Omni-channel strategy reached a record on sales during 3Q20 (COP $490,624 million or ~ US140 million, 3.5x growth) and the activity represented 18.2% of Grupo Éxito’s total sales in Colombia (versus 14.7% in 2Q20).

Exito.com and Carulla.com grew sales by 5.3x in 3Q20 and totaled over 52 million visits (an increase of 2.5x million visits vs 3Q19).  Over 1,300 vendors were registered as of 3Q20 in their marketplace. The business unit grew by 2.2x in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), reaching over 18,000 sold units. Grupo Exito has seen a +120% growth in the first half of 2020.

The pandemic accelerated Grupo Exito’s eCommerce effort. From 4% of its total transactions to 12.5%. A gigantic leap that forced a rapid adaptation in the online sales application, adjustments in logistics centers, and even the purchase of a fleet of electric delivery cars. Exito.com and Carulla.com experienced an avalanche of online purchases during the first nine months of the pandemic (March-November). They made nearly 6 million deliveries and estimate that 2020 closed at 9 million. In 2019, 3 million deliveries were processed, an indicator of ​​the logistical and operational reengineering 2020 required. 

It is clear that with international brands and operations, robust mobile sites, global eCommerce presence, continent-wide success, and a solid current state, Grupo Exito is well on its way to becoming a strong player in markets outside Latin America. Perhaps even to compete with U.S. giants, Amazon and Walmart. Stay tuned because Grupo Exito is positioned to make a big impact in 2021.

ChannelFront is an eCommerce agency focused on mastering the marketplaces. Connect with us to learn how we can help take your catalog and launch in exito.com, and many other marketplaces.


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