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Interviews

Beyond payment solutions, there is communication and trust – lessons from EBANX

Tuesday 3 September 2019 | 07:51 AM CET

Henrik Nilsmo, EBANX: In order to connect with consumers, you have to build trust and communicate with them in the target language 

What is the role that language plays in dealing with customers locally in Latin America, and what are companies losing when they ignore this basic factor?

Speaking the local language can make a big difference in a conversation, and this is especially true when it comes to business and building relationships with customers. In Latin America, this is particularly important, since the majority of the population only speaks Spanish or Portuguese (in the case of Brazil).

Keep in mind that LATAM is home to about 640 million people, who live in one of the fastest-growing ecommerce markets in the world. These consumers are eager to access international goods and services. In fact, 44% of online purchases made in the region in 2016 were imported, according to KPMG. Launching a website in Portuguese or Spanish is a strategic move to reach Latin Americans.

To connect with these consumers, you have to build trust, communicate with them in the target language, to deliver customer satisfaction and maximize sales. Offering customer service in the local language is practically mandatory for companies that want to seize this market.

At EBANX, we help our merchants adapt to this reality, by providing marketing and after-sales services tailored to LATAM’s consumers. To ignore this means to lose the opportunity to seize an ecommerce market that is growing about 20% per year.

Why is it important to create marketing strategies based on LATAM behaviour? What is the LATAM customers’ behaviour when buying online and how can international digital commerce sell more to them?

Latin Americans are very enthusiastic and communicative people. They have their own way of expressing their feelings and, of course, they have their own way of shopping. Companies need to take all of this into consideration when defining a marketing strategy for LATAM, so that campaigns are more appealing to these consumers.

First, marketing strategies in LATAM should be smartphone-driven. Smartphones are becoming virtually ubiquitous in the region, and are expected to reach 71% of the Latin American population by 2020. In Brazil, cell phones are used more often than computers to access the internet. Having a responsive website and an ecommerce platform that is quickly uploaded to smartphones, besides offering local payment methods, of course, is mandatory for global businesses that want to succeed in the region.

The second thing I would like to stress is the use of social media, but with the right approach. One thing that is huge in Brazil and other LATAM countries is the impact of digital influencers. I am not talking just about celebrities or politicians, but rather regular people, just like you and me. Using the same cultural references and memes as Latin Americans, like these digital influencers do, is crucial for brands to connect with consumers from the region.

Finally, there is a third factor to be considered: the 13-month payment. Most of Latin Americans are paid on a monthly basis and receive, normally by the end of the year, a thirteenth salary, as established by law. In Mexico, salaries are paid usually biweekly. Companies that want to make the most out of this must promote marketing campaigns on the right dates and months, considering this financial flow.

To sum it up, when it comes to LATAM, you can launch a seamless ecommerce platform, you can excel at your services and products, but this is not enough. You need to put together real local marketing strategies, to best reach the consumers.

What is different and unique when it comes to customer service in LATAM?

Language is the first thing to consider, but providing phone, chat, social media, and email assistance to your consumer is only the first step. First, each country in LATAM has its preferred way to connect to a company. In our experience at EBANX, Brazilian consumers love using chat to communicate with companies. Also, they are very fond of using social media for general purposes, especially the messages app WhatsApp. Mexicans prefer using the phone, Argentinians incline towards using any communication channels to speak with the company.

In addition to that, companies must take care of their online reputation. Consumers rely on each others’ opinions and like to share their own experiences with a brand. One of the things that impressed me most about the region was the potential of consumer-powered information outlets, like Reclame Aqui. This website, specifically, is a driving force in Brazil. More than 15 million consumers have shared their reviews and experiences on this platform, targeting about 120,000 companies.

If you want to succeed in LATAM, you must keep this type of interaction on your radar.

Can you tell us more about EBANX Track and how it improves customer experience in online shopping?

We soft-launched EBANX Track in beta phase about a year ago to address one of the most frequent questions that we receive in our Customer Service: “When is my package arriving?”

Despite substantial improvements on logistics in LATAM, it is the lack of information about a parcel’s path that adds anxiety to this process and can frustrate the most. So we decided to do something about this.

Our team developed a solution that compiles information from around 600 couriers worldwide. Through EBANX Track, customers can follow, in their language, their parcels from international purchases all along the way. It also allows consumers to receive email notifications on any updates on the route. It results in a better post-purchase experience, which boosts the reliability and their loyalty to a brand.

EBANX Track helps merchants to be aware of any struggles in the logistics chain.

What are EBANX’s offerings and solutions for physical as well as digital goods? Can you share some examples of successful partnerships?

One of the main challenges we had in LATAM in terms of ecommerce was reaching consumers who didn’t have a credit card. In a region where almost a third of the population is still unbanked, credit cards are still a niche product, especially when it comes to international credit cards for cross-border purchases.

Debit cards, on the other hand, are one of the most common payment methods for Latin Americans. Companies can reach their customers only through a local partner such as EBANX, which is connected to most local acquirers. Our merchants are then able to access a whole constellation of clients who had once been unreachable, simply by accepting debit card payments. Some of them offer recurring billing for product or services subscriptions, thus reaching and retaining LATAM consumers.

Another example of how we help to foster business in LATAM is through our marketing campaigns, such as the one we do inspired by the Chinese Single’s Day, the 11/11. The date has become the largest shopping day in the world. EBANX has helped to make this date equally popular in LATAM, by promoting marketing campaigns especially tailored for the region, tuning in the Latin American consumer to this occasion. Last year, EBANX has processed around USD 15 million in sales on this single day, delivering great results to our Chinese merchants engaged in the 11/11 campaign.

What are EBANX’s strategies for fraud prevention and compliance?

Developing the best fraud prevention tool adapted to the region is on our priorities’ list. We also take data protection and privacy very seriously. Any data collected from our merchants and customers is treated with high-standards practices, to ensure that every information is protected from external shareholders.

EBANX Shield, our global fraud prevention strategy, operates in four layers of protection and uses internal knowledge databases, that identify and mitigate any potential risks to our merchants. Through a combination of machine learning and experts’ analysis, we are following up every behavioural data we get from EBANX’s transactions on a daily basis. It is a strategy focused specifically on Latin America environment, that identifies the most common patterns of fraud from each country in LATAM.

About Henrik Nilsmo

With over 10 years of experience in commercial and product leadership Henrik Nilsmo, based in New York City, is the Chief Commercial Officer of EBANX. He is leading the initiative to further grow and expand EBANX geographical reach and footprint, especially in North America, APAC and EMEA.

About EBANX

EBANX is a payments company that offers end-to-end payment solutions for global companies wanting to expand in Latin America. Founded in 2012 to bridge the access gap between Latin Americans and international websites, EBANX operates across the entire cross-border ecommerce transaction flow for international companies. It has operations in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, and offices in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, US, the UK, and China.

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