While Brazil is one of the world's most mobile-friendly countries, its widespread poverty forces 70 percent of its population to use pre-paid mobile phones. This makes mobile commerce difficult, and in some cases impossible. Online apparel retailer Netshoes worked with every one of Brazil's mobile carriers to develop a first-of-its-kind campaign that let consumers navigate the Netshoes mobile app and website for free, dramatically increasing the number of sales transactions completed on mobile.
Objective and Context:
Brazil is a large, emerging, and mobile-friendly country. However, it is also has the fifth most expensive telecommunications costs in the world, forcing 70 percent of customers to use pre-paid mobile phone plans and data packages with a limit of 10-20Mb per day.
Netshoes, Latin America’s largest e-commerce brand in sporting goods, had to operate within this environment. The brand’s visits via mobile rose from 10 percent of total visits in 2014 to 46 percent in 2015, but sales were not increasing at the same pace as visits. The e-commerce company needed a way to increase the conversion rate in the mobile app and website, and saw its primary challenge being the high cost of mobile internet in Brazil. When consumers accessed the Netshoes mobile site and app, they not only feared that their data package would run out during the purchase transaction, but they also had to prioritize their use of the data plan to navigate on Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media.
The brand had multiple objectives for its 2015/2016 marketing strategy:
Netshoes' targeted all Brazilians with smartphones, but primarily those with pre-paid phones (representing more than 70 percent of all Brazilians). This group had a high dependency on Wi-Fi to browse on the internet, and were not able finish a purchase on the mobile platform due the data limit constraints.
The brand created the "Netshoes Connect / Browse for Free" campaign which allowed users browse the mobile app and site for as long as they wanted for free. This allowed consumers to search every product on the Nethsoes mobile platform and finish their purchases calmly and confidently. Netshoes delivered compelling, simple messaging via TV, YouTube, Google, and more. The objective was to announce to millions of Brazilians that Netshoes was the first e-commerce site to sponsor free mobile browsing in the country.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Netshoes reached out to every mobile phone operator in the country to develop Netshoes Connect, a sponsored data project. Netshoes agreed to pay each operator in exchange for letting consumers navigate its mobile app and website for free. This type of activation had been attempted before in Brazil, but this was the first time every operator in the country agreed to the partnership. The negotiations were complex and difficult, and all business, technical, and contractual matters had to be performed individually with each mobile carrier in a window of three months, but Netshoes was able to successfully execute its plan.
Netshoes sees mobile as the future of advertising. People are spending more and more time looking at their "small screen," and less on the traditional types of media. However, most brands still make their biggest marketing investments on more traditional media. The Netshoes Connect campaign embraced the future instead of clinging to the decreasingly effective tactics of the past. Through a collaborative effort between the brand, its agency, and all of Brazil's mobile carriers, 100 percent of Netshoes' data traffic was free to the consumer, bolstering what had been a promising yet fledgling revenue stream: mobile commerce.
Within four months of the Netshoes Connected campaign launch, the brand’s mobile statistics changed dramatically:
On “Black Friday” in 2015, mobile access surpassed desktop for the first time in Netshoes history.