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Nova Pontocom goes mobile as retail opportunities expand in Brazil

Brazilian retailer Nova Pontocom is partnering with Taqtile Mobility to create a mobile presence for its stores.

Nova Pontocom, one of the largest retailers in Brazil, owns three brands: Ponto Frio, Extra and Casas Bahia. The first mobile initiative for the retailer involves a mobile-optimized site for Extra, but the company is preparing to launch a number of mobile sites and applications by the end of 2013.

“The mobile site for the Extra was just the first step of the partnership,” said Danilo Toledo, head of sales and marketing in Brazil/Latin America at Taqtile, Brazil.

“In the coming months, we will launch mobile Web sites and applications from other brands in the group, as Ponto Frio and Casas Bahia,” he said. “Following the completion of these projects, we will focus on the influence smartphones have on consumer behavior inside the store, and to add features that encourage the customer to visit the store in person i.e. get them in the door.

“The goal will be a considerable improvement in the in-store shopping experience, both digitally and physically.”

Mobile retail
The first project which Nova Pontocom and Taqtile have released is the mobile-optimized site for Extra. For now, the site is purely a mobile commerce site that lets consumers shop via the mobile site.

Mr. Toledo explained that the site will give consumers a faster and more engaging experience. It will load quickly and help consumers find what they are looking for in a timely fashion.

Nova Pontocom plans to roll out an app for each of its three brands. These apps will provide features such as in-store information, product updates, discounts and promotions.

Additionally, dashboards in the apps will track consumer behavior in real time, regardless of customer location.

The apps will use Taqtile’s platform Retail 1.0, which is planned to be rolled out in September.

Mobile Brazil
The mobile world in Brazil is similar to that in the United States, Mr. Toledo said. Brazil contributes a substantial percentage of global revenues for Taqtile.

One difference in Brazil is that the market share of Android is much larger than the iPhone, but conversion on iOS devices is still higher.

It is noteworthy, however, that while Nova Pontocom is just beginning to roll out mobile sites and apps, retailers in other parts of the world are past that and looking to more advanced technology.

For example, Chinese retailers are piloting a new form of mobile point-of-sale that is based on Light Field Communication (see story).

Additionally, Walmart is rolling out a program that would let customers checkout using their iPhone (see story).

Nova Pontocom may be a bit behind in the game, but better to start now than never.

According to Mr. Toledo, the user base of smartphones in Brazil is nearly doubling every year. Brazil is the fourth-largest market for smartphones in the world, per Morgan Stanley.

“In addition, retail in Brazil has grown in recent years, driven by the increased purchasing power of the lower-income population, which is a large segment,” Mr. Toledo said.

“This equation, plus the recent series of tax cuts on cheaper, Brazilian-made smartphones and the rapid expansion of available mobile broadband make Brazil an excellent market for products and services enabling retail via mobile channels,” he said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York