Monday, August 01, 2011

Flash Sales Meet Door-To-Door SalesForce


In Latin America is very common for someone to travel to the US buy clothes and then sell them back to their friends in their home country. Clothes in the US are cheaper than in Latin America (in general). Sadly if you want to import a bunch of clothes to a Latin American country is not THAT easy. In certain cases there are tariffs but in most cases you find wholesalers that own the right to sell that brand in the country. Because most of this wholesalers sell their brands indirectly to small retailers the markups end up being outrageous compare to the price in the US. Even if the wholesalers have their own retail, those location cost a fortunes to maintain and again the markups needed to make some margin have to be outrageous.

In Latin America, women want to buy clothes that are less expensive from a source that they can trust. That is why they purchase clothes and accessories from their friends that travel to the US and bring stuff back to sell.


Initially we thought we can just bring a or a to Latin America and that would be enough. Sadly we saw that there were already several players trying to do exactly that in the largest Latin American markets (i.e. Mexico, Brazil and Argentina). Those players (Privalia, BrandsClub, Geelbe) where already fighting for the excess inventory of all the top brands in those countries. As the Groupon-like in this region, they were fighting to death. In this competitive market you want to be different.

Looking at what works in Latin America you cannot avoid looking at the cosmetic industry that has perfected Direct Selling. The Avon, Belcorp, Oriflame, Natura of this world have leveraged our personalities needs and drive to sell their products.

Combining Flash Sale with Direct Selling seems to be a perfect combination for women all over Latin America. Flash Sale provides discounts on top brands and Direct Selling provides trust in the transaction (something that lacks online transaction in Latin America). The idea is simple. Create a platform like ideeli, gilt and ruelala that can be downloaded to a tablet (i.e. offline capabilities). Provide an inexpensive tablet to your direct salesforce. Create a cost structure similar to avon, belcopr, oriflame and natura alikes. Build your company.


Difficult to quantify but you can probably make more than Privalia today (EUR$168M).