Informal commerce grows through Facebook and WhatsApp

The Informal commerce jumped from the streets to the internet. Due to the pandemic of covid-19, the sale from person to person was complicated, so that artisans and heads of families who had in the Informal commerce their way of subsisting, they now turned to social networks to offer their products and take advantage of the so-called e-commerce, but on a micro scale.

Even before the confinement caused by the high number of infections of SARS-CoV-2, small producers of articles such as soaps, candles, woven garments and other types of crafts had their most important points of sale in bazaars.

However, restrictions on commercial activity imposed by authorities in practically the entire country determined the closure of these spaces, so the artisans had to move their commercial activity to the digital platforms.

« When the pandemic everything migrates online, because a lot of people don’t want to go out or because we shouldn’t go out. Store sales fell to 20 percent and with the store closed in Red light to a zero; back then, it was very important to boost online sales so as not to lose that income ”, says Lilia Cortés, producer of handmade soaps « Cami. »

In this regard, Santiago Naranjo, President for Latin America of Vtex (company specialized in electronic commerce), explains in an interview with MILENIO that, unlike what happens with the online sale large scale, in the case of small-scale e-commerce still there are no clear figures on the number of people who benefit from it or on the amount of sales.

« Let’s say it is a mix between social networks, address and a catalog of Whatsapp. Is a growing economy, very fun, because it is generating a lot of well-being to female heads of household to survive, but it is still an informal market, there are not many figures on that yet. But I would risk saying that today we are 150 million people in Latin America using WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook to make some kind of transaction ”, explained the e-commerce specialist.

The way of operating is the following: the small producer uses his cell phone to offer his articles through Instagram and in groups of Facebook or in the Marketplace section of this network. There he describes the characteristics of the merchandise, the cost and the delivery area, which is usually in public places close to his home, particularly Metro or Metrobús stations.

The sale is managed and closed through these platforms, or it is transferred to Whatsapp, where the date, time and place of delivery of the product are agreed.

Lilia Cortés, from “ Cami Soaps« , He explains that » all the information on the products needs to be available to the customer, that is, that he knows everything we handle, that there be photos so that they can view it and obviously support from the technological parts. In this case, the Whatsapp it has been fundamental to us, as well as Facebook and Instagram ”.

About him Method of delivery, Lupita Díaz, artisan candle producer through her brand “Bougie candles”, He details that he makes deliveries in metro stations of the Mexico City, as well as through couriers and parcel companies.

“I have online sales, two online stores, one in Canasta Rosa, Shopify… And, well, I make deliveries at different points in the Metro. I have four points that are: Mixcoac, Zapata, Mexicaltzingo and Barranca del Muerto. I make home deliveries, either through a courier or a courier company and I send through parcels nationwide ”, he specified.

And although e-commerce is attractive because of the variety of products on offer, it still much remains to be optimized In this method of sale, recognizes the president for Latin America of Vtex: “(Despite) the possibility of being able to search a page for 2,000 products with a search engine, compare, view images, we still have a lot to work on; first, the social concept, e-commerce is still a 2D relationship, we have a photo, a button, but there was no interaction, there we have everything to do. « 

According to the Mexican Association of Online Sales, in 2020 e-commerce in the country represented 316 billion pesos in sales.

Thus, regardless of the size or activity of companies, electronic commerce is also being used by small-scale people as a means of subsistence, being another area of ​​opportunity for their businesses.