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ECONOMY | 21-07-2021 10:46

MercadoLibre, BigCommerce ally to boost US sales to Latin America

MercadoLibre partners with Texas-based BigCommerce Holdings to give the online-shopping software-maker’s web merchants access to a new region.

MercadoLibre Inc, the Latin American e-commerce giant, is partnering with Texas-based BigCommerce Holdings Inc. to give the online-shopping software-maker’s web merchants access to a new region.

BigCommerce, which helps brands like Skullcandy sell on their own websites, in online marketplaces and through social-media platforms, will offer its 60,000 vendors access to what has become the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce market. For Buenos Aires-based MercadoLibre – Latin America’s second-biggest company by market value – the partnership bolsters its efforts to increase cross-border trade.

The alliance is the latest move by BigCommerce to align with the world’s largest players in e-commerce and compete with its bigger rival, Shopify Inc. In February it signed a pact with Walmart Inc. to let its merchants sell on the retailer’s third-party web marketplace, and earlier this month BigCommerce announced a new integration with Amazon.com Inc. that gives it access to the tech giant’s advanced fulfillment services. The company went public in August and its shares have more than doubled since then.

“We love having lots of partners that service the different needs of merchants,” Russell Klein, BigCommerce’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview. “What we’re doing with MercadoLibre is removing the complexity of selling outside the US.”

The partnership will initially focus on cross-border trade to Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, Klein added.

MercadoLibre, which gets about two-thirds of its overall revenue from e-commerce and one-third from financial services, thrived amid the pandemic as Latin Americans increasingly turned to web purchases and digital payments. Online shopping accounted for five percent of Latin America’s overall retail sales before Covid-19 and could surge to 25 percent over the next decade, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

The company usually matches buyers and sellers from within the same market – like Brazil, the largest of the 18 countries it operates in – but Chief Financial Officer Pedro Arnt has said that he’s looking to set up distribution centers in free-trade zones to deliver imports more quickly. In a May call with analysts, Arnt said the firm was expanding its sourcing efforts in Asia and North America.

“Another part of our long-term vision is to turn global supply local for our consumers across Latin America,” Arnt said on the call. Sales from international trade currently make up less than 10 percent of MercadoLibre’s total.

As part of the alliance, MercadoLibre is also opening an office in Miami.

by Matthew Boyle & Vinícius Andrade, Bloomberg

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