DHL says new Chile e-commerce business is ‘booming’

By Rosalba O’Brien
| SANTIAGO

May 10 DHL eCommerce’s first entry
into South America via Chile is exceeding expectations a month
after starting as it gives retailers easier ways to deliver to
consumers that could boost online shopping, a regional executive
said.

E-commerce is still in its infancy in Latin America, held
back by poor infrastructure, consumer fears over fraud, and lack
of practical payment options.

Chile, one of the region’s most developed markets, has a
high level of credit card use and good quality roads, but its
package delivery industry to date has been largely focused on
business-to-business transactions.

More than 50 “small and medium” shippers signed up in the
first month and DHL was in talks with some of the
larger players, Paul Tessy, chief executive of DHL eCommerce
Latin America and Canada, said in an interview last week.

“Our solution in Chile is very groundbreaking from what the
competition is offering … the business is already booming
because there is nothing like that out there,” Tessy said.

DHL is introducing consumer-focused conveniences that may
not seem revolutionary in more mature markets, but represent a
sea change in Chile. They include the option for evening and
weekend deliveries, an app that allows customers to see where
their delivery is in real time, lower charges for lightweight
packets, and an option for returns to be picked up from homes.

E-commerce in the region is expected to grow around 14
percent annually through to 2020, analysts at BMI Research said.

“We expect global players such as Amazon to
increase their exposure to the Latin American market,
particularly if DHL replicates its offering outside Chile,” BMI
said.

Amazon.com operates in Brazil and Mexico but is not present
elsewhere in Latin America.

Tessy said Chile was being used as a “model” and DHL is
actively evaluating markets such as Brazil, Argentina and
Colombia.

Large retailers such as Falabella, Ripley
and Wal-Mart already operate e-commerce businesses in
Chile.
(Reporting by Rosalba O’Brien; editing by Grant McCool)