Luiz Piovesana, CMO at LatAm's ecommerce unicorn Nuvemshop
Luiz Piovesana, CMO at LatAm's ecommerce unicorn Nuvemshop. Photo: Cortesy.

"Next month is always the best month. E-commerce never stops growing in Brazil," says LatAm's unicorn Nuvemshop CMO

In an interview with LABS, Luiz Piovesana talked about the 77% growth in online sales of the SMEs served by the platform in 2021 and how this drives Nuvemshop’s strategies.

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Over 95,000 retailers in Latin America currently use Nuvemshop’s platform, 50,000 in Brazil alone. Last year, these small and medium-sized businesses saw sales grow 77% over 2020, the year in which the pandemic had already caused an explosion in e-commerce. They earned BRL 2.3 billion – BRL 1 billion more than in 2020, according to NuvemCommerce, a study carried out by Nuvemshop every year. “The growth from 2019 to 2020 was higher [166%], but month by month, we see the evolution happen not only in revenue but in the number of new stores entering [the ecosystem]. We’ve never had a downturn [in the number of new stores]. The next month is always the best month”, said Luiz Piovesana, the company’s CMO, in an interview with LABS.

Driven by the pandemic, e-commerce is estimated to have grown from around 5% to more than 10% of Brazilian retail, according to the Brazilian Electronic Commerce Association (ABComm) and its partner consultancy Neotrust. “In 2021, that went to 12%. And then, there are also issues of seasonality and crisis. For lack of other alternatives, people are driven to open their own businesses; and e-commerce, as the trendiest sector, also is also attracting these people”.

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The number of orders also grew, by 75%, jumping from 6 million to 10.5 million. And 5 million consumers shopped online for the first time last year – that’s a lower number than estimated for 2020. However, it still attests to how e-commerce is becoming more and more part of people’s routine in Latin America.

The segments that earned the most did not change: fashion, health & beauty, accessories, electronics, and home & garden.

Last year, the credit card continued to be the most used means of payment in online purchases, with more than half of the transactions of Nuvemshop’s shopkeepers. The PIX, with 6% of the total transactions, surpassed the boleto (5%) and should continue to grow. “Especially when we think of lower ticket purchases. People will continue to need credit cards and other financing and installment solutions for more expensive products,” says Piovesana.

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We see e-commerce accounting for at least 40% of Brazilian total retail. China has already reached 50%, the United Kingdom 40%, and the United States is at 20%. And we’re not just talking about total sales. We believe that 80% of all retail transactions will have at least one digital touchpoint in the next 15-20 years.

Luiz Piovesana, CMO at nuvemshop.

With this premise in mind, the company has bet on two fronts: product and service. Nuvemshop already offers almost 200 applications on its platform, both its own and partner’s, free and paid, ranging from freight and supplier management solutions to payments. “We offer a series of options in which the customer can plugin and access the products they need, with the autonomy of choice. This also allows us to offer a localized operation, with products and partners that serve a certain city/region best.”

On the services front, shopkeepers have access to around 1,000 partner agencies and freelancers connected to the platform in a self-service style.

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For companies with revenues above BRL 100,000 per month, Nuvemshop offers the services of a special team to help these customers scale and improve their operations. “The so-called mid-market is something that we are focusing on a lot, and it’s something natural. We started looking at the small ones, but as we grew, they also grew.”

Two of the brands most recently served by the platform’s mid-market team are Aff the Hype (a brand of authorial products “for grumpy, but good-natured people” of stationery, socks, and home decor) and Lolja (the geek store owned by Felipe Neto, Brazil‘s biggest influencer).

Unlike large retailers or other platforms, Nuvemshop does not intend to verticalize operations. “We strongly believe in the ecosystem strategy. For those starting out, the platform gives a lot of autonomy, which will only grow. We should close 2022 with more than 300 ready-to-use apps for customers to plug into. Our payment solution, NuvemPago, launched last year, is an example of that. It has an engineering team behind it, but we also have partners helping us with conversion, anti-fraud mechanisms. We want our customers to have access to the best solutions, but not to be tied to anyone .”

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Nuvemshop was founded in Argentina in 2011, is one of the market leaders there, and has its most extensive operation in Brazil. Still, gradually it is intensifying its operations in other Latin American countries as well. In 2020, the platform ended the year with just over 70,000 tenants in the region; today, as already mentioned, it has over 95,000.

“We’ve been in Mexico for just over a year, and the growth rate we’re achieving there, compared to Brazil, is impressive. We’ve also just started operations in Colombia and Chile; we’ll probably invest more in Colombia in the next two quarters, building a team there as well”.

In all, Nuvemshop currently has around 1,000 employees in Latin America, counting recent acquisitions: Mandaê, a logistics platform that brought 250 people on board, and the education platform Ecommerce na Prática, which brought another 50.

As part of the ecosystem strategy, Nuvemshop announced in December a US$10 million fund, called Nuvemshop Capital, to invest in e-commerce startups. “It is a separate entity, focused only on that. We are still structuring the operation, bringing the right people to do it, and in the coming weeks, we will disclose more news”.