As E-Commerce Takes Off in Colombia, Foreign Companies Take Note

More now than ever, Colombia is perceived as an attractive market for companies from abroad to expand into and attack. In fact, according to Confecámaras, over 300 businesses with foreign capital have entered the country over the last year. Moreover, earlier this year, Colombia’s Banco de la República confirmed that foreign investments in the country had grown 18% in 2012, translating into US$15.823 billion.

One sector that has contributed in sustaining Colombia’s economic growth is e-commerce, which has become an avenue for companies to raise brand awareness and communicate with consumers, who are consulting and purchasing online via computers and mobile devices at increasing rates. According to eMarketer, e-commerce in Colombia is expected to reach US$5.2 billion on 2016. (E-Commerce in Latin America: Numbers, Opportunities and Obstacles)

One example is Chilean company Cuponatic, which reported its activities increasing 2.5 times over in 2012 with respect to 2011, the year it entered the Colombian market. In 2013, Cuponatic hopes to increase results another 100%.

According to Camilo Perdomo, Country Manager for the brand in the country, not only have sales improved, but the company’s base of clients and followers has increased as well. He noted, “In our social network communities and in our database, the results have increased around 60%.” He attributed success to methodical, intelligent work on acquiring users through contests and campaigns. He added:

Currently, we’re second in Colombia’s online coupon segment, and that’s because we’ve been very diligent with customer service.

Focusing on the well-being of consumers and of its business allies – something that startups and businesses looking to implement e-commerce should keep in mind – is what’s helped Cuponatic achieve such a strong position in its segment.

From King Deals to Cyber Mondays

The development of disruptive strategies has helped Cuponatic to capture users, because, according to Perdomo, improving customer experience when buying means being creative.

On días lunáticos (lunatic days), the company offers clients discounts on discounts. And with the King Deal, it’s experienced great results, especially in Chile and Peru.

In Colombia, deals on public transportation and televisions have proven notably successful, and the purchase of mobile phone minutes is also gaining popularity.

Likewise, government initiatives to promote e-commerce in the country have had an impact – for example, the State serving as an ally in activities like CyberLunes (Cyber Monday), an event that took place for the second time less than a month ago and that will be repeated at the end of the year.

According to the Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico (Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce), Cyber Monday brought about a total of 302,029 unique daily visitors, 1,463,176 pages viewed, and more than 35,000 database registries. Participants’ sales doubled. “In the case of, this Cyber Monday multiplied our daily sales by five. These types of initiatives need to be supported, because they provide unique opportunities for online shoppers, who are always looking for the best offers; and for businesses, this helps us to position ourselves as the best alternative,” Perdomo remarked.

This text has been adapted and translated into English by Emily Stewart from its original Spanish publication