China is Hype, Latin America is Your Cheap Date

Latin AmericaGetting ready to expand your ecommerce presence into China? You may want to give it a second though, and think, instead, about venturing into Latin America.

Speaking last week at the Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum in New York City, Perry Ellis International Vice President of Ecommerce and Digital Marketing Jose Nino said China is hype. Based on Forrester’s research, Perry Ellis chose to focus on Latin America because of its growth potential of 228% as online retail revenues in the three largest markets in the region will more than double from almost $20 billion in 2013 to $47 billion in 2018.

Meanwhile, Forrester projects Asia-Pacific growth to be 117% during the same timeframe.

Here’s some Nino’s findings about Perry Ellis’s venture into Latin America, and what you can learn if you want to expand there:

Translation cannot be machine-based

Are you trying to sell jeans, or cowboys? If you use straight machine translation for jeans in Spanish, it’s “vaqueros.” But in Mexico, “vaqueros” means “Cowboys.”   With several dialects in Latin American regions, you cannot rely solely on machine translation, and should do translation by country, not language.

Be relevant in your region

Product “X” may be a popular item in Mexico, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a top-seller in Brazil. And you have to consider price points as well, as no two Latin America economies are the same. Even brand-wise, Nino said the company discovered Perry Ellis was the company’s breadwinner in Latin America.

Be patient, but listen to metrics

As stated above, no two brands perform alike in different countries. Also, it may take a while for a brand to pick up steam. In Chile and Peru, Nino said PerryEllis.com generated a gigh average order, but not a lot of traffic. Giving up on those countries solely on traffic would not have made sense for the brand.

Video works

Nino said video has been a very productive – and inexpensive – tool to attract Latin American customers. It costs Perry Ellis 2- to 8-cents per YouTube video with TrueView ads. And they videos have proven to be relevant, with viewers watching at least, on average, a quarter of the videos’ length vs. just 10% in the U.S.

Google is your “cheap date”

Nino referred to Google as its “cheap date” in Latin America. Google is very affordable and quite effective in Latin America compared to places like the U.S. and Europe. Branded keywords for Perry Ellis are 65% cheaper, and non-branded keywords are 80% cheaper, than in the U.S. , and click-through rates in Latin America are 322% higher.

Tim Parry is Multichannel Merchant’s Managing Editor, and the lead programmer for Growing Global.

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