Nearshore Americas

Q&A: Multiplica’s CEO on the Digital Priorities of Latin American Business

David Boronat believes that, when it comes to the Internet, science is more important than intuition. And this is the philosophy he has taken with him, on his travels from Barcelona, Spain to several Latin American countries – on his quest to help businesses improve online sales. “And we achieve this, above all by focusing on what happens once a user has logged onto a website,” said Boranat, CEO and captain, as he calls himself, of Multiplica, a business he set up 14 years ago.

Multiplica has been operating for eight years in Latin America – in countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, andeven in Miami, Florida. “We are a relatively small company,” explains Boranat. They have a work force of 90 professionals and have participated in around 650 projects for more than 300 businesses.

As creator of the“persuadability”concept, Boronat told Nearshore Americas about his work with the analytical web to create digital and mobile strategies and commercial smart sites; thus helping the electronic trade reach its full potential.

Nearshore Americas: Nearly all businesses are concerned about attracting as many visitors as possible to their websites but many aren’t going any further; to ensure that those who visit actually purchase or provide information that could prove beneficial to the company. How are you working with these businesses, encouraging them to take this next step?

David Boronat: We have created the persuadability concept to encompass this new territory.  The word usability has become commonplace in the industry, but the concept is somewhat incomplete. Usability involves making a website easy to use, but doesn’t necessarily lead to it being persuasive or help to drive conversion – convincing you to make a purchase.We combine persuasion with usability to create the word persuadability: the concept of creating mechanisms that help your offer to appear more attractive; convincing more people to make a purchase.

NSAM: What components are involved in the persuadability concept?

DB:The first issue is how to present your offer; how to explain your service from the consumer’s perspective, rather than the business’ perspective. Another important factor is relevance. This is determined with the help of the analytical web, which lets you know how to make your sites smarter, as it provides you with information as to the origin of the commercial traffic.

Building a sense of urgency comes next. This involves promoting the idea that if they don’t take advantage of this offer right now, they could miss out on a great opportunity. You have to generate fear that if they don’t buy it now, it won’t be around tomorrow. Each industry has its own techniques in this regard.

A fourth aspect is the overall experience. This involves getting rid of all distractions or obstacles so that the user, without being aware of it, proceeds with the purchase process.

Lastly there is credibility: how to make the user feel that he is in control of the situation, that he can fully trust the organization, the fact that they will make good use of the personal information he provides and that all financial information will be safe.

NSAM: Are businesses in Latin America fully aware of just how important their online presence is?

DB:It is best to break this answer down, according to industry. For example, in the travel industry companies such as Aeromexico, LAN Airlines, Despegar and Viva Aerobus, are all fully aware that the majority of their sales are made online. The retail industry is also becoming aware that the online market is maturing. Walmart in Mexico, for example, is making significant efforts to promote online sales.

Other industries, such as the banking industry, have been doing this for some time and have invested large amounts of money in making sure that clients are comfortable using their online service; although they are not currently capitalizing on the potential to make online sales. In the small and medium-size enterprise sector, the answer has to be no. The most they do is make sure they have an easy to find online presence.

NSAM: What should businesses take into account when creating a mobile strategy?

DB:When redesigning their site, their main concern should be making it mobile-friendly; in other words, their site should be compatible with smaller, tactile devices that don’t include a mouse, rather than with the traditional computer.  There are site responsive web page development techniques that adapt content according to the device from which it will be accessed.

For some businesses, using site responsive development is not enough, which is why they look to create a separate mobile site. When does this become a viable option? For example, within the banking sector.Generally, when I access a banking site from my cell phone, it is for a completely different purpose to when I access it from my home computer.

Another area is native applications. It is very tempting to say, “Let’s make a native application,”but the reality is we tend to download a very limited number of applications. And we end up using a lot less apps than those we download – on average if we have between 40 and 50 apps we generally only use about seven – which is why you have to think long and hard when it comes to justifying developing another one. Developing a native app is not the hard part. The difficulty comes in convincing people to download it. The benefits of having it have to outweigh the trouble of going to the app store, downloading, installing, registering and learning to use it.

NSAM: What is your view of the maturity of electronic commerce in the Latin American markets?

DB:Obviously it is on the rise, and varies a lot according to the specific industry. I can’t go as far as to provide figures for the different countries, but I am of the opinion that the Internet has become generally recognized as the means by which people inform themselves when making purchases. And the cell phone is becoming the device of choice when accessing the internet. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether you purchase online or in store. What is relevant is how you behave as a buyer, the use you give to a business’online presence and how you are convinced to buy; even if you didn’t do it online.

I believe that we shouldn’t become overly focused on what is bought or not bought online; things don’t change that much from one day to the next. There are evolutions not revolutions.  But I can imagine that electronic commerce will continue to grow at a rate of 15-20% a year, with potential for further increase in four to five years.

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NSAM: What are most businesses’ digital priorities?

DB:A study carried out in January of this year revealed that businesses are looking for better value when it comes to the digital market.In particular, their priorities include improving their conversion rates, improving the overall user experience, focusing on their activities in the mobile industry and understanding exactly how cell phones are being used to search the web.

NSAM: What are you doing to enhance the multichannel user experience?

DB:We have extensive experience working with the Internet and we have adapted the skills we have developed when it comes to encouraging conversion and ensuring a good overall user experience to include other types of devices.  In fact, we have created a mobility excellence center in Medellin, Colombia – Multiplica Mobile – specializing in the user experience for both native apps and mobile sites.We have also focused on digital kiosks, ATMs and the devices installed in sales centers, with a view toimproving the overall user experience.

As far as sales centers are concerned, we are working on tracking client behavior. We use the Letbe technology, a Wi-Fi analytics solution created by BeaBloo, which uses a device to track the behavior of all the consumers in the store with a smart phone.

There are very few cases of businesses trying to develop a multichannel experience. What is happening in Latin America and Europe is that businesses are trying to improve their presence on each individual channel. Very few are concerned with the role each individual channel plays within the customer journey.

Norberto Gaona

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