David Geisen
Country Manager
Mercado Libre
/
View from the Top

Personalization Drives Region's Largest Digital Marketplace

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 06/05/2020 - 14:09

Q: Ford has announced a sales program through Mercado Libre. What does this mean for Mercado Libre?

A: Mercado libre has more than 1,000 official stores in Mexico. The idea behind such agreements with other companies is to improve their offer and bring the brand closer to our consumers. In Mexico, we have more than 10 million visits per day on the website and app, which is a very meaningful audience for other companies. Our marketing tools also allow companies to target those users who relate the most to their brands, allowing the company to segment its database according to the navigation search information we receive.

A couple of years ago, Mercado Libre bought Autoplaza and now we are the biggest motor vehicle platform in Mexico. Mercado Libre also has the biggest online market for auto parts and general equipment for mechanical shops. This is a complete ecosystem for automotive players, which is why many companies are looking at our services.

We only open official Mercado Libre Stores when the identity of the person or the brand is confirmed, which ensures the existence of only one official store per brand or retailer. Within this space, we do allow personalization of the official store to put up visual material and highlight certain products.

Q: Why is Mercado Libre the best platform to partner with?

A: Mercado Libre is the largest digital marketplace in Mexico and Latin America. For companies that want to strengthen their online presence, partnering with the main platform makes sense. Mercado Libre registers more than 6,000 searches and 13 sales every second. On a daily basis, we register more than a million products sold on the platform, which generates a lot of information about the people navigating on it and their interests. In Latin America, we have 46 million buyers and 11 million sellers, while in Mexico we have more than 35 million registered users on the platform. Just in our last quarter we got 3 million unique users.

Our search trends found that many users start looking for information regarding a product or brand within our platform, which makes us the second-largest search engine just after Google.

Q: What actions is Mercado Libre taking to create a more personalized search service?

A: Personalization is a key factor for our platform. In Mexico, we have more than 50 million products and it is very complex to always highlight the right products for users. Mercado Libre has many algorithms to deliver personalized results based on user behavior, interests, previous purchases, search nomenclature and seen products. The system compares this with other profiles for compatibility to determine which products draw the most attention.

Our main objective is to increase the relevance of the products we showcase and try to make the purchase process simpler by providing the option to save information like payment methods, addresses and preferences. Most users of the app keep the user logged in, which is also user-friendly, especially now that the world is shifting to smartphone use over laptops. Mercado Libre also has an element of surprise because we are constantly launching sales and discounts that make for a more dynamic user experience. 

Q: What is Mercado Libre’s role in pricing products needed during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Having a high inventory of those products helps to balance out prices and this mechanism has really helped when users try to take advantage of the situation by putting a higher price on their products. Additionally, Mercado Libre is monitoring products related to the crisis and manually moderating the publications that have seen a significant increase in price. Depending on the increase, we can take down the offer and prevent the sale. We also are doing this with products that do not meet our policy standards, for example with products that are promoted as the cure for COVID-19. Mercado Libre has really been active regarding those types of situations and has acted quickly to resolve them.

Q: Due to the pandemic Mercado Libre has announced support for MSMEs through credit lines. How has this initiative been received?

A: Last year, Mercado Libre started offering credit for companies that sell their products through our platform. According to their billing level, we support them with a credit line that provides them with more working capital to grow their business, carry more stock and increase sales. Additionally, we launched a credit product for consumers. This product is 100 percent digital, which makes it a more friendly process compared to a traditional credit request. Also, the conditions are very fair, which has put us in a strong position in the credit segment in Mexico for both companies and individuals. We offer additional flexibility in terms of payment, especially regarding interest rates, which helps support our clients given the higher default risk that has been common during the pandemic.

We have also removed sales commissions on basic necessities that we commonly charge for each product sold through the platform, which is another strategy to help MSMEs. In total, Mercado Libre has exempted more than 250,000 products from this charge.

We are offering training for business people who want to learn about e-commerce to compensate their losses from traditional retail. Working with the government of the State of Mexico and others, we are offering a training course to around 3,700 entrepreneurs. Mercado Libre also has a program called Codo a Codo where, in collaboration with the Mexican Red Cross and the Mexican food banks, we try to connect companies that want to help address this crisis. We direct companies to either the Red Cross or a food bank and the visibility of these donations encourages others to join the movement.

Lastly, Mercado Libre is growing at a faster speed than before the contingency. The increase in operational volume has led us to hire more employees at our distribution centers. Right now, we have a plan to hire 1,800 people for Mercado Envíos, which is the branch in charge of processing product orders.

Q: What new categories or products will be introduced to your services due to the health crisis?

A: Demand behavior has changed among consumers. Last year, we launched Super Mercado Libre, where we offer a wide range of nonperishable food and beverages. This segment is experiencing triple-digit growth compared to last year. Healthcare products and cleaning products have also experienced significant growth, as well as entertainment products, from video games to traditional toys and pools. 

Q: What are Mercado Libre’s priorities for 2020?

A: Mercado Libre will continue expanding its logistics solutions, increasing the capacity at our distribution centers. Stock and storage represent 43 percent of already sold products in Mexico. Our logistics operation allows companies of all sizes to participate in the platform as we take care of the packing and distribution. Regarding our platform, our focus will be on Super Mercado Libre, as we want to add more brands that sell directly on the platform.

We also want to focus on fintech innovation by offering more credit lines and extending our services to companies that use physical payment methods, like using QR codes to pay. Our online wallet service will allow Mercado Pago users to manage money through the app to even make payments for services such as phone, electricity and even tag services for transportation in Mexico City and national toll highways. This improved environment for Mercado Pago will be available in Mexico this year. It will include more companies and will also be accessible through QR codes. The platform will also serve as a savings fund for users, which will lead to greater financial inclusion.

In 2019, we surpassed the industry’s growth expectations and I am confident that this year, Mercado Libre will reach even higher growth.

 

Mercado Libre is an online marketplace for e-commerce. The company also operates Mercado Pago, Mercado Publicidad, Mercado Shops and Mercado Crédito

Photo by:   Mercado Libre
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst