Ever ordered a product on-line in Ecuador? While merchandise from such companies as Amazon, Wish, and eBay arrives within days in the U.S. or Europe, in Ecuador and most of Latin America, it can takes weeks, even months. Often, orders never arrive at all.
“In Ecuador, shipping is a super big problem for e-commerce,” says Miguel Torres, partner in Escapes With You, a subsidiary of the Chilean company Shippify. “The on-line ordering services are well established all over the world but shipping times and reliability is the big downside in Latin America. What we are establishing will allow customers to receive their merchandise within seven to 12 days.”
Torres and his partner Luis Loaiza joined Shippify in 2016 and have been busy establishing a network of delivery contractors as well as a computer tracking system since early this year.
“Our plan, is to be operating in Ecuador’s major cities by the end of 2017,” Torres says. “The demand for quick, reliable delivery service in the country is enormous so there is pressure for us to be fully operational as soon as possible.”
According Ecuador’s Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), there was $540 million of e-commerce purchases in Ecuador in 2016, up from only $70 million in 2011. In addition to merchandise ordered from overseas companies, 17% of Ecuadorian businesses now have on-line purchasing platforms.
So far, Torres says Escapes With You has commitments from 45,000 delivery contractors who will use their own vehicles, responding to calls on software similar to that used by Uber and Cabify. “We don’t have the resources to establish our own fleet of vehicles and drivers but that will come later,” says Torres. “We are going through a process of rigorously vetting the independent contractors we will work with.”
According to Torres, Escapes With You will work with international as well as Ecuadorian e-commerce companies, coordinating shipments through Ecuador customs, if necessary, then tracking them to their final destinations.