Brazil is a growing force to be reckoned with on the global playing field of retail. Brazil, the most populous country in South America, is the world's seventh largest economy by nominal GDP and purchasing power parity, as of 20121. As the market in Brazil ripens in maturity, there are new opportunities for growth among retailers.
Perhaps most important, the fast emergence of a middle class is creating a new group of consumers eager to buy. Retailers in Brazil are responding by looking for opportunities to not just keep up with—but leapfrog—retailers in countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States. Brazil is inherently different from these and other countries, yet these differentiators might just offer the playbook for creating new seamless retail experiences.
A culture of connectedness
The Latin culture is social, with a keen focus on family and friends. It’s no wonder there is high participation in social media. In 2016, the number of Facebook users in Brazil is expected to reach 81.6 million2. These interactive, social consumers are also ready to engage with retailers. While they want a personal flair from a retail experience, they also want the convenience of buying through online channels. Retailers in Brazil must seek innovative ways to drive interactions through social media. They can also consider using loyalty programs to connect with people who thrive on loyalty and relationships.
More from the store
Perhaps the social culture is why Brazilians continue to shop in stores—and they want that experience to be a positive one. According to Accenture’s 2014 Seamless Consumer Research, 39 percent of Brazilians plan to shop more in the store, compared to 22 percent in 2013. Those surveyed also want a better in-store experience, with 28 percent wanting to see an improvement.
Brazilian retailers are taking note by beginning to bring the benefits of the online experience to the store. Leading retailers offer interactive screens that display product information. Some have equipped store associates with iPads and other technologies to offer a personalized, consultative experience that is powered by technology.
Get it to me
People in Brazil are nonstop and on the go. Many use public transportation to get to and from work or school; and because they don’t have cars, the store isn’t a convenient channel for shopping. Perhaps this is why delivery remains an important service to Brazilians. Accenture’s research reveals that 75 percent of those surveyed want to schedule delivery—furthermore, 25 percent want to schedule within a one-hour time slot.
Retailers in Brazil that offer services such as ship from store or subscription-based programs will most likely emerge as the winners. In fact, 75 percent of Brazilian consumers surveyed said they would switch some purchases to a retailer that offers a subscription program, and 44 percent would switch almost all purchases.
As Brazil enters the world stage hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, all eyes will be on Brazilian brands. It’s the perfect time for retailers to step up their game to deliver unprecedented seamless experiences.