SAO PAULO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc began offering electronics from third-party sellers to Brazilian shoppers on Wednesday, expanding beyond books in the fiercely competitive e-commerce market in Latin America’s largest economy.
The long-awaited move will offer televisions, cell phones and laptops from hundreds of independent sellers on Amazon’s website in Brazil without involving the company in the tricky logistics that have hurt many online retailers in the country.
Alex Szapiro, Amazon’s country manager in Brazil, declined to say if there were plans for the company to stock its own electronics inventory or open a fulfillment center to ship third-party goods more efficiently, as it did simultaneously with the launch of independent sellers in Mexico two years ago.
“Each country has a different playbook,” said Szapiro in an interview with Reuters at Amazon headquarters in Sao Paulo. He helped launch the company’s Brazil business with e-books in 2012 after running operations for Apple Inc in the country for five years.
Shares of local e-commerce rivals MercadoLibre Inc, Magazine Luiza SA and B2W Cia Digital have fallen 14 percent, 17 percent and 20 percent, respectively, in the past week on concerns of heightened competition from Amazon.
Keeping pace with the local e-commerce market, Amazon will parcel purchases into as many as 10 monthly installments without interest, a practice the company started in Brazil for Kindle e-reader sales in 2014, then extended to Mexico and other markets.
Sellers will be paid up-front, minus a 10 percent commission to Amazon and fees of 19 reais ($6) per month or 2 reais per item. Szapiro called the 10 percent commission a “promotional” rate without saying when or how much it would eventually rise.
$1 = 3.16 reais Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Lisa Shumaker