According to data from the e-commerce Observatory, e-commerce last year moved nearly 14.6 billion pesos (USD 4.571 billion) in Colombia and showed an increase of nearly 14 percent. Although the balance is positive, for Jaime Ramírez, CEO of Mercado Libre, the penetration of e-commerce is still low compared to other countries in the region.
To change this trend, a spokesman for one of the leading platforms in the country in this category explained in Inside LR (format via La República streaming) how he will expand the activities and new services offered by the payment gateway, Mercado Pago. The main task: to transform it into a digital bank.
Mercado Libre just got the green light in Brazil to offer financial services, or will it do it in Colombia?
Yes, our Mercado Pago business unit is responsible for processing transactions. Not only does it provide services to Mercado Libre, we have over 6,000 customers and we are a leading payment platform in the region. At the end of 2019 or at the beginning of 2020. Our star product will be a loan, we will offer loans to buyers and sellers.
We will start with sellers, and these loans can be used for working capital. For users, the idea is to offer loans to people who will buy depending on their consumption patterns. For now, they will only be for Mercado Libre, sellers and buyers, and later we will see if we put them on other markets. These will be loans from 3 to 5 million dollars.
What investments do you have in 2019 in terms of technology and logistics?
For the next year, our main assumption is logistics, to speed up deliveries and improve delivery rates, we already have our own warehouses in Brazil and Mexico and we are building in Argentina, which should be ready in a few months. We see what we can do in Colombia to speed up delivery. We know that we want to deliver products faster and more reliably.
Where will the money come from for lending? Did they make an alliance with the banks?
We want to democratize money. Banks are expensive because they have very high defined fees, technology companies have lower costs and can send many of these savings to the user. In Argentina, we collect 0 pesos for transfers between users. In Colombia, prices are very high, but we have not talked to any entity, the capital we intend to provide is ours.
Will they work the way Nequi does?
We want to return to Mercado Pago, a digital bank.
How many transactions and money will e-commerce carry out this year and in 2019?
In terms of projection, it was a good year and we expect to close by 25% more in 2017. Electronic commerce is growing, especially in recent years. Since 2016, we have seen increases above 20%, so this year will not be an exception.
Is the number low compared to other countries in the region?
At the regional level, we remain behind and around the world. In Colombia, internally in Mercado Libre with some market data, we estimate that the penetration does not exceed 1.5%, which is extremely low. In other countries of the region, more developed at the level of this market, such as Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and even Chile, exceeds 3 to 4 percent.
How much will Amazon affect the Colombian market?
When they enter Colombia, they will accelerate the e-commerce of the country, which will make the cake grow and our share.
What was the platform operation in Colombia in global results?
We see sustained growth. Over the past 12 months, which ended in September at the regional level, we sold 330 million products across the region, an annual increase of 37 percent.