eBay to commence activities in Brazil

The ecommerce giant is entering the market with a Portuguese-language app and preparing a local version of its website

Slowly but surely, eBay is preparing to enter the ecommerce market in Brazil.

The ecommerce firm is due to launch its first eBay-branded product in Brazil, the Portuguese version of eBay Fashion. The app will be available in iOS and Android versions and will allow users to browse and buy from a selection of new, designer, branded, and vintage merchandise. It will also include ensembles from fashion bloggers with items that can be purchased, as well as an image -based search feature.

Operations director in Brazil Luis Arjona told newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the company's local corporate entity is currently being set up and that eBay is approaching local brands with a view to include them in the Brazilian website, which should be operational within 12 months.

eBay already has an active user base in Brazil: according to the company, Brazilians buy a pair of women's shoes every six minutes and a handbag every four minutes, for example.

Mercado Livre, the ecommerce and auctions website that is 25 percent controlled by eBay would be the company's biggest competitor in Brazil. eBay's Arjona has been quoted as saying that a possible acquisition of the Argentine firm could be on the cards.

However, eBay would be better off on its own: many areas of Mercado Livre are in Spanish or badly translated and the buying experience is clunky and process-heavy, with a proprietary payment mechanism that is equally nightmarish. Those quirks could tempt users to a new platform that is simpler to use - plus eBay's payment system PayPal has been doing a lot of the promotion legwork in Brazil and it has already become well-known by online shoppers.

In this initial moment, eBay's biggest Brazilian adversary will be Dafiti, the online multi-brand retailer, which focuses on fashion items and has recently raised an investment of $70mi from Canadian fund Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

Originally an online auctions website, eBay is refocusing its strategy to become a retail portal and about 70 percent of its revenues originate from sales of new, fixed-price items. The company expects that in three years, 25 percent of its sales will ome from emerging markets.