Emerging markets can be amazingly nimble when adopting digital technologies, with smartphone penetration often acting as a digital front door to access merchant features, financial services, and more, bringing the underbanked and unbanked into the connected economy.
Among the most revealing examples of this is the Latin American nation of Brazil, where smartphones are helping rapidly create a vibrant digital shopping ecosystem.
This is among findings in The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Playbook: Brazil Edition, a Cybersource and PYMNTS collaboration, and part of a larger survey of some 13,000 consumers in six nations along a continuum from highly developed to emerging.
The study shows that “Brazilian merchants offer some of the most frictionless shopping experiences in the world, and the quality of those experiences is improving with time.”
Brazil’s high scores signal that “Brazilian merchants are adopting more digital and cross-channel shopping features en masse, but also that their feature offerings exceed those seen in nearly every other country we studied, with the UAE and U.S. being the only exceptions.”
Here, we look at three key findings that show how regional economies are leapfrogging legacy issues and creating more meaningful digital connections with consumers.
Adding features, enhancing experience
Having tasted what digital transformation does for business, Brazil’s merchants are adding more shopping features—some of which consumers aren’t fully aware of yet—to create new experiences that align with those found in the most digitally advanced nations.
The research found that Brazilian merchants “were 4% more likely than average to offer apps that shoppers could use to navigate brick-and-mortar stores and 20% more likely than average to provide real-time inventory updates for items they might like to purchase, for example.”
Brazil’s merchants are also 14% more likely to offer digital profiles that can be accessed across several shopping channels, such as websites or apps, tapping into omnichannel.
Smartphone shopping is smart
Where Brazil really shines is how merchants are adapting their offerings to smartphone-centric shoppers, removing friction from the mobile path.
That’s smart, as our study found that “an estimated 33 million Brazilian shoppers are using their smartphones to inform or enable their shopping experiences at any given time, whether to shop via app, use mobile wallet payments in-store or otherwise.”
In addition, “Brazilian consumers who shop entirely on their phones or use their smartphones in-store experience 58% and 8% less shopping friction than the average consumer, respectively, across all six countries we studied,” and 20 million used their smartphone while inside brick-and-mortar stores for price comparison and deal searches.
Brazilian consumers using voice assistants reported 37% less shopping friction than average, while “the few Brazilian consumers who buy items on their mobile devices and pick them up in-store or curbside experience 25% less friction than average, underscoring the transformative impact that digital shopping features can have on the customer experience.”
Getting the word out
With the pathways and offerings of commerce changing so fast, many Brazilian shoppers still don’t know the features and experiences merchants now offer.
Found primarily among those who do not use smartphones as their primary means of interacting, the study notes that “Brazilian eCommerce shoppers who order items on their computers to be picked up in-store or curbside are roughly 30% less likely than other online-native shoppers to realize that local merchants provide both free shipping on digital orders and apps that can be used to place orders for pickup.”
As this group is 6% less likely than mobile cross-channel shoppers to know that local merchants offer free shipping, it “strongly suggests that many Brazilian merchants are integrating shopping features in a way that makes it difficult for their customers to locate, or that merchants are not doing enough to ensure their customers are aware that such features are available.”