Brazil’s food and grocery retail industry has a market worth of US$330 billion, coming in fifth behind China, the United States, Japan and India. That number is expected to reach almost US$450 billion by 2015. A number of players have laid claim to those numbers, the online sector being one of them.
Various services related to food and grocery retail are popping up online in Brazil, recognizing the country’s increased internet penetration and a culture that is becoming more and more comfortable with shopping online. The opportunities seem limitless as consumers become increasingly eager to find technology that renders daily tasks simpler via the internet.
Brazilian startup MeuCarrinho is one of the many looking to capitalize on the opportunity the sector represents.
MeuCarrinho was born as a platform providing price comparison among products and supermarkets as well as grocery list management options. By facilitating the purchasing process and empowering the consumer, the website aids users in maneuvering grocery purchases and food stock management. The online platform has proven very useful, and MeuCarrinho has also had significant success with its mobile app for iPhone and Android.
A winner of the Sua Ideia Vale Um Milhão challenge, MeuCarrinho has taken full advantage of the experience to refine the product under the care of Buscapé’s business-savvy wing. The MeuCarrinho team, composed of André Nazareth, Bruno Branta, Danilo Campos and Luciano Frezzato, took some time out to tell us more about their experience with Buscapé as well as the startup’s development on the whole.
MeuCarrinho Co-founders André Nazareth, Bruno Branta, Danilo Campos and Luciano Frezzato.
Emily Stewart: How was MeuCarrinho born? What are the comparable business models around the world, and who are its competitors? How do other platforms that offer online shopping options affect your business, if at all?
MeuCarrinho: MeuCarrinho was created based on a problem that many consumers have at the supermarket in making shopping lists and comparing products and prices. We noticed this while we were at college and formulated a more generic idea, some sort of a social network for products. Eventually, we just chose to focus on supermarkets and offer a solution to this problem.
At the beginning, we relied on MySupermarket, which is a successful online supermarket comparator in the UK. After talking to friends, we adapted the model for Brazil. But the mobile application is similar to other shopping list applications, such as OutOfMilk.
The existence of purchasing platforms helps to change the paradigm of online shopping by introducing this habit to the Brazilian consumer.
ES: What is MeuCarrinho’s business model?
MC: Our business model is based on commissions from sales on online supermarkets as well as advertisements. As we are point of sale, MeuCarrinho will become very attractive for manufacturers’ and supermarkets’ communications with its consumers in order to convince them to buy their products.
ES: How many users does MeuCarrinho currently have? How many visitors are there to the site per month?
MC: After we won the Sua Ideia Vale Um Milhão contest, MeuCarrinho has presented a monthly increase in visitors. After we launched our mobile app for iPhone in January, we reached the milestone of 100,000 downloads in the first few weeks and, since then, have experienced sustainable growth. Both the mobile app and the website undergo constant evolution and therefore increase visibility.
When we launched the mobile app, we realized that there is an increasingly demand for these kinds of apps here in Brazil, which pushed us forward and gave us motivation to continue to invest in our product.
ES: What do you plan to do from here? Are you going to stick to Brazil, or do you want to go international? How are you dealing with investments? What features do you seek to offer?
MC: At the moment, our focus is on the Brazilian market, which is still evolving. Smartphones are starting to be used by Brazilian consumers in their purchases and, thus, new opportunities arise. We are following the changes in consumers’ habits, and our application is a pioneer in this market. It has been accepted well by consumers, who have helped us to evolve our product. We are working very closely with our users in order to offer features that help them in their purchases.
ES: How did your involvement in Sua Ideia Vale Um Milhão assist in the development of your business? What adjustments were made?
MC: In being part of a digital commerce ecosystem like that of Buscapé Company, our product matures every day. We have great resources here, especially people, who are experts on what they do and contribute with comments and suggestions. This is certainly very important for a startup.
Over the past few months, we’ve received feedback from hundreds of users and also from Buscapé Company. We are making various adjustments on our product flux and interface, which helps to improve the user experience. Also, we communicate with manufacturers and retailers in order to validate our business model.
MeuCarrinho seems to be positioned well in its approach of the Brazilian food and grocery retail market, especially capitalizing on the growing presence of mobile devices in the country. May this be a case where an idea works better on a smartphone than on a PC? Perhaps.