From October 2 to 3, the ‘Ecommerce Summit Colombia’ will be held in Bogotá, which will address key issues regarding the future of the sector in the country. Maria Fernanda Quiñones, executive president of the Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce (Ccce), spoke about this event and how the adoption of digital commerce by companies and the challenges that SMEs face.
(Digital mindset, the new challenge for organizations).
How has e-commerce been growing in the country?
Electronic commerce grew by more or less 40% last year, let’s say that it is a very notable growth, which was influenced by 73%, more or less, by services, which is positive because electronic commerce is beginning to penetrate more everyday. Now, the behavior of the average ticket has been downward if compared to the average ticket registered in the pandemic, which was close to $250,000.
Today we already have an average ticket close to $160,000. We still have some issues to improve, but we have not returned to the participation that was before the pandemic.
How much do you expect to grow this year?
What we want is that over that 40% we are going to grow more or less 19%. Likewise, we expect a turnover of electronic commerce close to $60 billion.
Do you think that with the reactivation of physical commerce there has been a decrease in online purchases?
We are seeing that consumption is nourished by both sources (physical and digital). It is important to point out that there is a consumer who is changing, who is an omnichannel consumer and who needs both environments to make a decision when making purchases. Undoubtedly, they are two environments that complement each other and do not move. But we do see that the physical channel is still important due to payment issues.
(Will the rise in the dollar affect digital adoption in the country?).
How have you seen the adoption of ‘ecommerce’ by companies?
On the side of the large retail chains, we have seen, in general terms, a great adoption driven mainly by serving that demanding consumer who seeks to buy online. Undoubtedly, large stores have understood the importance of having both the physical channel and the digital one. The concern that we see in relation to digital adoption is in small and medium-sized companies and is that before the pandemic this digitization had not been necessary, but now it is an issue that must be on the table.
From the Chamber we have started programs to train small and medium-sized companies, through very intuitive training platforms that are focused on the entire length of the value chain; Since knowing about electronic commerce is not setting up a website, to this end we launched the platform ‘yaestoyonline.com’, which is financed by Google, and now we have 12,000 businesses on the air, but we know that there is a lot of work to be done.
How have you seen the adoption of digital payments?
This is a very pertinent point because we still have a long lag, despite the fact that progress has been seen in banking and that has been evidenced by the Banca de las Oportunidades through its indicators. However, financial inclusion is still naturally developing in the country.
It is important to note that a regulation on open finance was recently issued that may open up possibilities for greater acceptance and greater competition from financial actors to generate more payment solutions.
Do you think that factors such as inflation and the rise of the dollar can impact consumption?
Yes, without a doubt the Consumer Confidence Index will be affected and the devaluation will end up impacting the availability of imported products. Likewise, there is a natural contraction due to the issue of inflation, but what we see that can greatly affect the development of electronic commerce in the country is the tax reform. Since there are some approaches to significant economic presence that have us concerned, and that is the impact that this tax approach has directly on the possibilities of digitalization of small and medium-sized companies. Since services that companies need to be able to digitize will become more expensive, such as cloud services, digital marketing. That would certainly slow digitization.
What would be your proposals for the Government?
In relation to the adoption of digital payments, we have proposed that withholdings be withdrawn, some tax advances that are associated with the use of digital payment instruments, credit and debit cards. Let’s say that they are retentions that inhibit the development of digital payments, since for SMEs it becomes a cost or an affectation of their cash flow and they do not represent a tax collection.
This week begins the eSummit, what can be found?
This Ecommerce Summit 2022 is very important because it is the first with the current Government and we believe that this space will be important to learn about its approaches and projections on digitization and public policy. Additionally, we are going to have some valuable discussions for the industry because we will focus on the digital trade route.