Direct Import – The Cross-border Revolution

The Cross-Border Revolution – Direct Import

Which of the possibilities below does your company fits in?

I can imagine some possibilities where your company/brand fits in, with regards to the Brazilian Market:

– Your company has no representation or presence in Brazil;
– A Brazilian importer is responsible for the presence of you brand in Brazil;
– Your company has on office in Brazil but does not import;
– Your company has an office in Brazil and is the importer;
– – Your company, for some reason, left Brazil;

No matter which of the above options are close to your brand’s situation, the cross-border strategy always adds to, and does not exclude (on the contrary, complements) any structure that already exists in Latin America’s largest economy.

But let me relate a brief story of B2C evangelism, that I experienced in 2001:

When I founded Escalena, in 2001, the first e-commerce outsourcing company in Brazil, I literally went door to door of big brands and companies, industries and retails, showing that e-commerce B2C was already a present, not a future.

My collection of business cards, from the most variable companies, was so large that I joked that if I earned 1 dollar per card exchanged, I would be a millionaire.

At each meeting, with no exception, the following departments were present: sales, marketing, logistics, legal, finance and accounting, usually two or more people from each department, who watched me carefully and asked questions to see how their department would be affected.

These department leaders used to take a defensive position, because everything that is new, and consequently unknown, causes fear.

The fear among all fears was what we called “channel conflict”: how is a brand going to sell directly over the Internet competing with its own distributors and retailers, especially the big retailers?

The solution found by the sales department was simple – we will sell on the website more expensively than the retailers.

Although I was not in favor of this policy, I was already happy to have managed to bring not only a few, but many companies to B2C e-commerce.

When we sold our operations in 2011, what was just an idea had become a vital strategy.

The most interesting thing is that in 2011, retail chains started to become marketplaces, forcing companies (that used to visit them in order to sell their goods) to expose their products in a new format, the electronic consignment sale – Marketplace.

Many of the directors and CEOs I met began to live a nightmare, because the cost of inventory, previously assumed by retailers, was now under their cost, and the ERP, which was used to issuing a single invoice of many items for a single company, would now issue a single-item invoice for each buyer.

On the other hand, the e-commerce that we created between 2001 and 2010 was vital not only technologically but culturally so that these companies suffered much less from the new distribution reality.

Evangelizing a new strategy, in the eyes of many, is an act of faith, but I see it as a light that illuminates a new path that, in a way, is in everyone’s collective consciousness, but has not yet been meticulously explained and carried out, and is, at the same time, outside of the day-to-day reach of companies, which struggle to hit their targets daily.

If there are no financial risks to follow this new path; contracts can guarantee security for the parties, remuneration is based on success, without any fixed cost. Not following it demonstrates a myopic vision that sooner or later will make the company lose market share.