eCommerce Evolution in Latin America

Zia Daniell Wigder

I just got back from a couple of days at eTail Latin America in Miami — it was my third year at the event and I always come away having learned an enormous amount from the other attendees. This year, some of the takeaways included:

Everyone’s talking about mobile, but the real shift is coming. The online retailers I spoke with had all either rolled out or planned to roll out smartphone offerings, but mobile investments overall are still quite small. Tablet commerce initiatives are few and far between. Retailers’ mobile revenues, while growing, are not typically at the same levels seen by many leading eCommerce players in Asia. This dynamic will shift significantly as both smartphone and tablet penetration increase: Across the region, penetration of both types of devices will shoot up over the next few years.

Payback periods on new eCommerce offerings remain long. A theme we write about frequently is the fact that businesses often assume short payback periods on new global digital offerings. The unfortunate reality, however, is that eCommerce initiatives often take many years before becoming profitable. This challenge is front and center in Latin America. There are some profitable businesses — the founder of Brazil’s Beleza na Web talked about how he got his company into the black — but many large online retailers continue to suffer losses. Businesses jumping into any of the Latin American eCommerce markets must be patient.

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GoPro Lets Us Share Our Most Exciting Mobile Moments

Julie Ask

Why do we use Facebook on our mobile phones? Because when we are out and about doing something fun, we want to tell our friends about it.

If I were posting from home, my posts would be:

“I am working.”

“I am watching TV.”

“The cat just sat on my laptop.”

“My cat just knocked over my water cup.”

Yawn. Boring. It is much more exciting to post updates to our friends about the latest sashimi we’ve eaten or the last run we skied on Val d’Isere. These are the mobile moments we want to share with our friends. This is part of the mobile mind shift, the expectation that we can get what we want, in our immediate context and moment of need.

GoPro takes the capture and sharing of mobile moments to new heights. We (yes my family owns one) not only use our GoPro at cool, exciting outdoor places like Yosemite and Tofino to capture HD images, but also use it when we are in motion – fast motion down hills on skis, snowboards, and bikes, or in the water.

But rather than waiting until the day’s adventure has ended, GoPro enables the consumer to share these moments in context with friends and family, thanks to wifi enabled cameras and the GoPro mobile app. It’s immediate proof and boasting rights for some of the most exciting mobile moments.

Here’s one of my favorite mobile moments GoPro has enabled:

What is it like to free fall from a space capsule?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9CsZMsIgRU

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eCommerce Grows But Physical Stores Will Live On

Sucharita  Mulpuru

If I had a dime for every time I heard the question “Isn’t eCommerce taking over retail?”,  it wouldn’t make me wealthy, but I’d certainly have a few hundred dollars more than I do now. Nonetheless, it’s a question that is unfortunately misguided and has permeated our zeitgeist. The truth is that yes, eCommerce is growing - but physical retail is far from doomed. Let me take the two parts of that last sentence and address them each separately. 

First, the fact that eCommerce is growing. Forrester just released the latest five-year online retail forecast and to no one’s surprise, the numbers are big. We’re projecting $294B in eCommerce sales across 30 retail categories in 2014, expected to grow to $414B by 2018. The web keeps doing what it has always done well: it provides huge assortments of products, at comparable, often lower, prices than physical stores, with 24/7 access and often free shipping. For many categories like media products or electronics, we’ve already observed a heavy shift to the web channel away from physical stores. Add to that the ubiquity of mobile devices and that drives even more shopping in more instances and places. In fact, we’re projecting that $87B of that $294B will happen on phones and tablets in 2014, and that doesn’t even include another $28B in additional mobile transactions on sites and apps like Uber and Domino’s Pizza that aren’t even in that aforementioned mobile commerce number. 

But all this growth certainly doesn’t mean that stores are dying. Here’s why:

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You Know Your Customers Aren't Going To Download Your App, Right? Even If They Do, It Doesn't Mean They Want To Open It

Julie Ask

Ok, well, some of them will. Those customers who are mobile-savvy enough (they are the shifted as part of what we call The Mobile Mind Shift) and engage with your brand frequently will. You own those mobile moments with your customers. They reach for their phones to engage with your brand. You will still need to work hard to keep them engaged, but it's a good start that they downloaded your app. It's even better if they allow you to send push notifications - that gives you the opportunity to create mobile moments with them. 

If they don't download your app, borrow moments. 

Let's face it. Lots of your customers won't download your app. They won't invest the time or energy. With these customers, you must borrow mobile moments - that is, you must engage with your customers on third party apps (really platforms). 

We see more and more brands embracing this strategy. What is your strategy to engage with your customers through borrowed moments?

Google Maps released a new app version this week. Uber is integrated into the Map app if you are already signed up for Uber (and in this implementation have the Uber app on your phone.) Uber already owns mobile moments with thousands if not more consumers. Exposure through Google Maps gives them more upside. First, it will help them to acquire customers through exposure. Second, it puts Uber in the mix of transportation options I have as I evaluate how to get from point A to point B within my Map app that also shows me traffic and parking availability. Highly contextual. 

If they do download your app, don't assume they will actually open it - kind of a hassle for quick tasks, right?

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Digital Is What We Do Now: Banking Trends And What Digital Teams Should Do About Them

Peter Wannemacher

The first email I received at work in 2014 was from a bank; along with a festive new year’s greeting, the email touted the bank’s new mobile app and a new feature that let customers set up travel notifications directly from the bank’s website. Later that day, I was in an airport reading a friend’s Facebook post about how she wished “more apps were like Uber.”

These are just a few small anecdotes about ongoing digital trends impacting businesses and banks both large and small. I recently spoke with a banking executive who put it simply: “Digital is what we do now.” (This quote is now the header of my Twitter feed.)

Forrester recently published our Trends 2014: North American Digital Banking report, in which we identify major forces impacting banks and lay out five actions that we recommend digital strategists take to prepare for the future of digital banking. Here’s a sample of some of our findings:

  • Banks will face a sustained – yet unclear – regulatory environment. In both the US and Canada, banks are confronting an uncertain regulatory future. The Dodd-Frank Act was signed into US law on July 21, 2010, but a large number of the rules and regulations remain unwritten. It's unclear when they'll be finalized, and the fact that 47% of deadlines have already been missed – according to the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell – doesn't bode well.
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Is Peer-To-Peer Lending A Threat To Banks?

Oliwia Berdak

Social lending, or peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, is not even ten yet, but it has caused a great deal of commotion already. Consumers, regulators, and banks continue to be perplexed by a business model which is so emblematic of the digital economy, or of digital disruption. Thanks to digital tools, potential lenders and borrowers can interact with each other online without the involvement of banks, credit unions, and other traditional financial institutions. And nothing epitomizes the confusion about how banks should respond to the phenomenon better than the initial ban of Wells Fargo on its employees investing in P2P loans, lifted only a few months down the line. So is P2P lending a threat to banks or not? We think it is.

Forrester first wrote about peer-to-peer lending in 2006, soon after the launch of the first P2P lending marketplace Zopa. We argued that lending would never be quite the same again and indeed, it hasn’t been. As we write in our new report, a lot has happened in those eight years:

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As US Health Plans Shift From Acquisition-Ready To Retention-Ready, It’s Time To Pay Attention To Digital Billing And Payments

Ellen Carney

One word describes the state of US health plan digital strategists at the end of 2013: exhausted! The October 1, 2013 open enrollment milestone for the public exchanges became not an event but an epic saga. Integration failures, wobbly deadlines, and substandard policies that became the walking dead stymied large numbers of potential plan buyers, who either gave up or stood on the sidelines. But through a lot of persistence, 8 million Americans had managed to enroll in the public exchanges by mid-April 2014.

But with the enrollment process behind them, these tired digital strategists can’t rest. It’s time to shift attention from getting customers to keeping them. And not surprisingly, what matters to consumers when it comes to picking health plans is whether their doctors are “in-network”. But other practical aspects of the health insurance experience also matter, like:

  1. Ease of resolving problems. When it comes to handling the nit-natty issues of plan maintenance issues like claims and payments, consumers want easy. That means that health plans have to make it easy for them to view their payment history, get their individual plan bills paid, monitor claims status, and access statements and tax documents online and increasingly through a plan’s mobile site, especially for that critical “young and healthy” segment.  
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Just Where Do My Online Orders Come From?

Peter Sheldon

Have you ever stopped to think where your last online order came from and how it got to your house? We might assume that the package on our doorstep has probably just made a lengthy and complex journey across the country (courtesy of the belly of a UPS freighter, a handful of trucks, a few miles of conveyor belts and some good old human muscle) from a large, nondescript distribution center located in the suburbs of a city we've barely heard of. You may be surprised to learn then, that today it is increasingly likely that the package at your door came no further than a few miles down the road from a locally based store of the retailer you ordered online from. Of course, as consumers, we don’t really care where our purchases came from or how they found their way to our doorstep - as long the right merchandise arrives damage-free and on time.

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Why You Should Turn To Poland For Digital Financial Services Inspiration

Oliwia Berdak

“How come America put a man on the moon 45 years ago but still has not produced decent online banking?” asked recently on Twitter Michał Panowicz, mBank’s Managing Director for Products, Digital Channels and Marketing and one of the speakers at last week’s Net Finance Conference. As provocative as the question is, Panowicz is in a strong position to ask it. After some big investments in the bank’s online and mobile offering, the bank has just announced record profits for the first quarter of 2014. Digital innovation is obviously paying off. But once you’re on that road, there’s no turning back. You can’t "undisrupt" yourself.

As my colleague Benjamin Ensor wrote some time ago, innovation often happens in clusters.This means that innovation by one company causes its competitors to not only match it but also to try to leapfrog it — resulting in rapid cycles of innovation. This is what is happening in Poland right now. During my trip there last week, a few bank executives told me of the increasing internal and external pressure not to fall behind digital innovation. There a couple of other reasons why Poland is a great testing ground for new financial services ideas; it has:

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F8: How To Use Facebook To Borrow Mobile Moments And Meet Your Customers Where They Are

Julie Ask

Most retailers, and other selling services, look to drive traffic in-store, to their mobile app, or to their website. But why not engage your customers where they already are, on social networks and media platforms like Facebook and The New York Times. Mobile allows you to do this.

Facebook’s F8 announcements today put forward new tools to do just that.

This is the notion of “borrowing mobile moments” that we talk about in our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. For brands that don’t already own their customer’s mobile moments or can’t manufacture mobile moments effectively, third parties like Facebook, with large audiences and minutes of use, can offer instantaneous engagement. It’s highly contextual and offers a great mechanic to engage with your customers – where they are and where they want to be.

Facebook has driven 350M app installs through their mobile platform. For those of you looking to generate revenue, 60% of the top grossing ads use Mobile App Ads. (Source: Facebook’s Ime Archibong)

One quick case study:

 “Facetune” – tweak and tune photos before you share

#283 to #2 in under 5 days in the US with $500 in marketing budget

#1 in 78 different countries (now in 94 countries they are the #1 slot)

You want to increase the engagement in your mobile app

One solution - and the most common - is to drive engagement in your app directly through push notifications.

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