Make It Big

Vanessa Santos Shares New Ways to Tap into Latin American Markets at Make it Big 2021

Beatriz Estay / 3 min read

Whether you’re currently selling in Latina America or looking to expand internationally, you’re in for a treat.

Our very own Rachel Garcia sat down with business coach and fin-tech expert, Vanessa Santos, at BigCommerce’s 2021 Make it Big Conference to discuss how to position your company for global growth.

Vanessa Santos’ Key Takeaways at Make it Big 2021

Vanessa Santos is a Latina businesswoman powerhouse who previously led teams at Mastercard and drove product strategy with global FinTechs across areas like Digital Goods and Services, Marketplaces, Payment Service Providers. She also serves as the Spokesperson & Lead for the Women’s Leadership Network — a global community focused on creating opportunities to elevate women at all levels in their careers.

In addition to all of that, she’s also an ambassador for Girls4Tech, an award-winning entrepreneur, global brand strategist, heart-centric speaker, and a business empowerment coach with success in driving digital innovation.

In this Make it Big 2021 session, expand your knowledge in Latin American markets and learn how to grow your business internationally.

Here are a few key takeaways from Vanessa Santo’s Make it Big session:

Rachel Garcia: Latin America is a massive region — and one that’s gaining in popularity for many global businesses. Walk us through the current ecommerce market overview, what do merchants need to know about the region?

Vanessa Santos: “I’d like to start with the fact that Latin America is an incredibly fluid and digital economy and has proven itself to be a must have in order to stay in business, to be honest with you. The Latin American population has doubled in terms of mobile penetration usage, in terms of being banked, which means that there is this expectation that if something is sold in the United States or in Europe, that you can also get it in Latin America.

Selling across Latin America isn’t a nice to have. It is a must have. And businesses should really consider shifting, whether it’s platform services, partnerships, or ad dollars to these markets, because there’s a huge penetration of consumers that are willing and ready to spend their money. It’s so interesting how our expectations as consumers have changed trade and just how quickly we receive products, how accessible, how can we find them, etc. Online purchasing and online relationships as it relates with consumers and businesses has changed completely.”

RG: We’d love to hear a little bit more about what are some of their expectations, what are they looking for and what do businesses need to keep in mind as they’re building these business consumer relationships with the region?

VS: “If we think about it, quantitative first, there are about 265 million digital buyers across Latin America, and that is going to continue to grow at a rate of 30 percent, which means that there is a huge opportunity to sell your goods and services to a very diverse population. The expectation now has become that if I see something on my mobile device, if I see something on social media, or if I see something in a commercial and advertisement, I want to be able to get it.

From a qualitative perspective, they want it to feel contextual. Consumers want to feel like they’re being spoken to. They want to feel like they’re being understood and recognized. Latin American consumers, while they are incredibly diverse, want to feel like you’re speaking to them. So copying an advertisement that was clearly made for the American audience and then replacing the audio in Spanish is not going to cut it anymore.

A lot of brands are becoming incredibly savvy and they’re understanding their consumer and they’re embracing the diversity that is the Latin American population. You have the top six markets — Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru — that have a demand of people that want to be able to buy the latest silk pajamas or the latest sneakers.”

RG: What goes into creating an efficient omnichannel strategy in Latin America?

VS: “When it comes to omnichannel, it’s essentially creating a brand extension, an experience across multiple online channels. So, for example, my recommendation would be definitely if you want to sell online, it starts with the basic of a website. Then you should consider, do you need to have an app?

The prominence of leveraging all of these existing platforms and being able to ensure that your consumers can purchase on any of them is what a winning omnichannel strategy looks. It’s about being where your consumers are. So, again, if your consumer is predominantly on Facebook, how do you serve up contextual ads or native advertising so that they can feel like they can purchase directly from that?

The announcement between BigCommerce and Mercado Libre was huge because one thing in Latin America is being able to want to access all of these amazing products and with with leverage, essentially being the Latin American challenger to Amazon. They’re now bringing this new diversification of products by being able to bring about all of these different product segments that weren’t readily available before. So now you have this huge opportunity to attract a much larger audience. With Mercado Libre and BigCommerce announcing their partnership, it will now allow anyone in these five, six, seven key segments to be able to access all of these things, not just from one or two retailers, but from thousands that are part of the of the of the network that these two great companies have built together.”

Want more insights like this?

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Beatriz Estay

Beatriz Estay

Beatriz is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce and the fashion and lifestyle influencer behind The Letter Bea, an Austin, Texas based blog. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Sociology/Anthropology from Lake Forest College and specializes in ecommerce, marketing and merchandising strategies, influencer and branding work, and social media. When she's not curating content, Beatriz loves to travel the world, share her journey with Type 1 Diabetes, and find Austin's most Instagram friendly spots.

View all posts by Beatriz Estay

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