Are a lot of customer inquiries coming to your website from Brazil? Then you better gear up now so those customers don’t take their business elsewhere. Here are a few things you need to know about doing business in one of the world’s most important economies. Consider it a primer to getting started in Brazil.
Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy and the seventh largest country in the world. More than half (51.6%) of Brazil’s population used the Internet in 2013, according to the World Bank, and, “By 2020, Brazil is projected to be the fifth-largest consumer market in the world, ahead of France and the United Kingdom.” In 2013, Brazil imported more than U.S. $44 billion goods from the United States alone, making Brazil the United States’ seventh-largest export market for goods.
Doing business in Brazil requires keeping your finger on the pulse of the country, getting to know the people by developing solid, trusting relationships and understanding all the costs involved in doing business in Brazil (for example, distribution costs and governmental procedures).
Brazil is growing like mad, especially in the construction, transportation and infrastructure sectors. The country will host the Olympic Games in 2016, which will generate a ton of additional opportunities for U.S. companies (go here to pre-register as a supplier: http://portaldesuprimentos.rio2016.com/en/).
The Market-Entry Strategy
When you sell business-to-business (B2B), relationships are critical to getting things done. Take time to develop trusting relationships and partnerships in Brazil, learn the unique business culture and invest in visiting there. How else can you bond and form long-lasting relationships that will survive the ups and downs of doing business across borders?
When you sell business-to-consumer (B2C) or ecommerce, you may not meet each customer in person, yet excellent customer service matters. Treat Brazilian customers who visit your website like royalty — or better yet — like family.
Before moving on to ecommerce, visit an Overview on Brazil at The World Bank.
Ways to Develop the Ecommerce Space
Details matter in Brazil. You never want to have an unreadable packing list or invoice, for example, nor do you want to have a package get stuck in customs as a result of regulatory challenges. Do your homework and only work with companies that are knowledgeable about doing business in Brazil. Here are eight other helpful pointers.
- Determine if you are ecommerce ready. A good place to start is with Export.gov’s “Are you E-Commerce Ready?“. If you are:
- Select a domain name that is appropriate for international purposes. Do you want Americanapizza.com.br or just Americanapizza.com? If you want Americanapizza.com.br, you must have a local presence in Brazil, so it is best to hire a local legal representative to assist (for registering, visit: http://registro.br). A competent attorney can also help you navigate the laws of the land in Brazil on an as-needed basis, from trademark issues to technical assistance.
- Register at search engines in Brazil — Yahoo and Google, for example — to encourage people to find you
- Choose a reputable and reliable web host, whether it be Network Solutions, Go Daddy or Verio.
- Tailor your website to the local language: Portuguese. Many web-hosting companies offer search registrations and even site development. Inquire.
- Rev up your social media marketing. According to comScore, Google-owned YouTube attracts a big following in the multimedia category, and Facebook has increased its participation significantly in Brazil. Twitter is also an important part of the Brazilian lifestyle — more than 40% of Brazil’s population falls in the 25-to-54-year age bracket. Some have even dubbed Brazil as the Social Media Capital of the Universe.
- Enable customers to buy products using a variety of payment methods that are universal and work efficiently for them. Most Brazilian shoppers are credit-ready and use credit or debit cards for about 70% of online purchases. Include all related costs to get the product to the customer’s door. For example, detail and separate out the shipping costs, customs duties, taxes and payment fees, if any, so the customer is fully aware of all costs involved. Transparency is the key to a successful completion on a transaction. You don’t want your customer to abandon your site because of a hiccup or experience any surprises later on relative to charges because they won’t come back. Luckily in Brazil, buyers are enthusiastic and fairly free to purchase items on the Internet.
- Make shipping products a positive experience for your Brazilian customer. Worth repeating: transparency is the key to a successful completion on a transaction. Show customers the charges for every aspect to the delivery right at the checkout. You might even offer customers the ability to track packages all the way to their door. Doing as such will foster the growth in cross-border online shopping.
- Promote your web presence. Direct email may be a good way to promote your web presence because it is an inexpensive way to reach thousands of potential customers. Check with the International Telecommunication Union website to see if Brazil has legislation prohibiting unsolicited commercial email.
If you want to learn more about doing business in Brazil and have some extra dollars to spend, consider “Brazil in 2030: The Future Demographic.”
Regardless of the ups and downs you might experience with doing business in Brazil, it’s worth cracking this market for its massive opportunity. After all, it is responsible for almost half of Latin Americas GDP. There’s a reason folks describe Brazil as the country of the future.