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With it becoming easier than ever for businesses to ‘go global’, lots of previously developing territories are showing the world their worth. 

Brazil is an interesting market, as it has been flagged as the next hot tech market and has the distinction of being one of the fastest growing emerging markets over the last decade.

For any ecommerce business, Brazil has a lot to offer. The Brazilian economy has grown exponentially in recent years creating a very large urban middle class with disposable income to spend online.

And as the country prepares to take center stage, hosting both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, all eyes are on the South American powerhouse. So what’s stopping other countries looking towards Brazil as a big business opportunity?

As with any new market, there are idiosyncrasies that need addressing. Before a business can even consider selling to Brazil, it is important to act now to avoid falling foul of some common pitfalls.

Do your research

Like any new business venture, it’s important that entrepreneurs understand the dynamics of the business environment of the market they are targeting.

There are 26 different administrative states in Brazil, all with their own character, traditions and economic profiles.

Finding the best one for your business can make all the difference in generating the best results but if you expect quick and easy results, you are likely to be disappointed.


Despite this steady growth and engaging perspectives, many Brazilians still stay away from ecommerce sites due to security concerns.

So for someone to buy from you they must completely trust the website they are buying from. If you can’t build trust with your potential customer you won’t get the sale.

Fill out and check out

Brazilian customers used to seeing their address details displayed in their format will often be unwilling or even unable to fill out their details on UK and US sites, and as a result, aren’t completing the purchasing process. 

And for all those that do manage to fill their details out, the lack of address validation often results in goods being shipped to wrong address - if at all.

A lot of retailers shipping to customers in Brazil will compress an address into three lines just as they do in the US, which can lead the shipping carrier to deem the address as incorrect.

Tackle the situation by investing in software where customers, partners and those within the supply chain can type in any fragment of the recipient’s address and have a fully validated record returned.

Delivering into emerging markets is a challenge, and the better the data organisations have when it comes to validating and locating addresses the better they will be able to serve their customers and reduce costly returns and address corrections after a delivery slips.

Money talks

Brazil is quite different to most European markets where credit and debit cards are widespread. For this reason you will need to offer a variety of different payment solutions, rather than just PayPal.

Instalment payments are very common in Brazil which allows consumers to purchase even simple household products online and pay for them over time. And given the choice, Brazilians use national payment methods for almost all of their online payments.

Boleto Bancáriois is the leading push payment method for businesses as well as consumers. It is a small slip that customers can print out and pay at a bank. It’s a very popular with consumers who do not have credit cards or bank accounts and prefer the security of cash payments.

However, it will require a localised payments program with local processing partners.


It’s imperative you work with a native Brazilian-Portuguese speaker when translating your website and marketing collateral. Machine translations can be spotted a mile off and will reflect poorly on your brand.

But since different cultures interpret information differently, the localisation of your site extends far beyond word for word translation.

Doing business in Brazil can seem daunting for those new to the market, but taking a strategic approach is the key to making the process manageable.


Published 13 March, 2013 by Guy Mucklow

Guy Mucklow is CEO at Postcode Anywhere and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

4 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Rico Mäder

BRAZIL _ BRASIL: I lived in Sao Paulo, SP.
It is a megalopole with more than 13 million people and generate almost 35% GDP from all the country.
Doing business here is quite excitable.... it means pro and con, specially with government tributes and taxes (con) but syn! we are in a special moment with low unemployment and people getting more and more conected at Internet (pro).
So, if you really is looking for a new market, we are ready.
Excelent article... tks for share here, syn!
Welcome to the Brazilian Way of Doing Business

over 3 years ago



Cracking the Brazilian market is tough and as the article recommends, you need local help. For a complete directory of Brazilian companies, including manufacturers and service providers, visit B2Brazil.com. B2Brazil.com is Brazil-based, and focused on facilitating business transactions between Brazil and the rest of the world. The site also contains resources and tools to assist companies wanting to do business in Brazil. B2Brazil.com is your gateway to Brazil B2B.

over 3 years ago


Peter Trinder

Brazil is an exciting and challenging market. There's no one way to crack it, but be aware of the size of the place, and start in key areas before spreading further afield. Be aware that Brazil is a very bureacratic country and in order to do anything you need to plan far in advance. From memory, in some states it can take just over a year to get a company legally set up.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, Brazilians are a social breed. Don't be surprised if business meetings also mean meetings out of hours with family. As with any relationship it is important that both sides feel comfortable with the agreement - this is never more true than in Brazil.

over 3 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

thanks for the insight, Brazil is a really exciting market for a number of online retailers as are a number of developing countries around the world. Coincidently we have just published a blog on ecommerce exporting and some of the issues to look out for starting with Brazil as a case study. go to www.gibedigital.com/blog/international-exports-e-commerce for the full story.

over 3 years ago

Gabriel Candido

Gabriel Candido, Acquisition Manager at Elsevier

Nice article. Building trust among Brazilians is imperative. One advice is combining offline + online activities and marketing strategy. Another important topic is the current lack of good professionals in the field. The good ones are extremely expensive, but still a good challenge and market to expand.

over 3 years ago


Miguel Alves

Great article. It is natural the evolution of the brazilian market which is specific (thinking about the huge sucess of Orkut). There is also the legislation and costs import to get down the prices, but it his the policy of a government to protect brasilian producers and industry. Ecommerce will have an amazing evolution next years forsure. Retailers just need to increment the confidence.

over 3 years ago

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