Selling on Mercado Libre: The Ultimate Guide

Kevin Lamb

October 21, 2021

A lot of ecommerce brands look to China to expand internationally while overlooking Latin America. But with the help of Latin America’s largest online retail platform Mercado Libre, brands can pivot to a less crowded market that offers an almost greenfield opportunity for growth.

In 2020, Latin America’s retail ecommerce sales grew by 36.7%. That’s higher than any other world region, including Asia-Pacific, which grew 26.4%, and North America, which grew 31.7%. Latin American countries also have some of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. Brazil’s is 68% and Mexico’s is 70%. Couple this with the fact that Mexico’s population is 127.6 million and Brazil’s is 212 million and the opportunities for growth here are undeniable.

In this article, we’ll go over the what, who, why, and how of Mercado Libre, so you can take full advantage of Latin America’s growing ecommerce market.

What is Mercado Libre?

Mercado Libre is Latin America’s largest ecommerce platform. The name Mercado Libre translates literally to “free market.” And it’s easy to see why. The ecommerce platform has 63 million active users across 18 different countries. It’s one of the top 10 most visited ecommerce sites in the world and as of the first quarter of 2021, it had 299.5 million live listings. It’s no wonder the platform is valued at 77.49 billion USD.

Since its founding in 1999, Mercado Libre has expanded to integrate different ecommerce services, including a shipping service (Mercado Envios), a payment platform (Mercado Pago), a credit line (Mercado Crédito), and an advertising program (Mercado Publicado). Together, these create a full ecommerce experience for Latin American consumers.

So why sell on Mercado Libre? For one, Mercado Libre helps you establish brand awareness outside the US. Latin America is close enough that the low cost barrier to enter makes it an attractive opportunity for taking your brand into the global marketplace. Plus, you’ll benefit from more incremental sales and revenue. Mercado Libre customers overlap less with customers on other ecommerce platforms than, say, Amazon customers do with Walmart Marketplace customers. So you’ll get more from joining Mercado Libre as a seller.

How to sell on Mercado Libre


Mercado Libre is open to US sellers through its cross-border Global Selling Program. With it, you can sell to customers in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Columbia from one account. But keep in mind, the Global Selling Program is invite only. That means you’ll need to apply to join. To apply, you’ll just need some basic information, including your business’s website URL and its monthly sales in USD.

Listing products on Mercado Libre

Once your application is approved, you can start listing products on your Seller account with an excel spreadsheet template or an application programming interface (API). Just be careful not to list any restricted products. Mercado Libre provides a detailed list of restricted products by product category, where you’ll find that restrictions vary by country and fulfillment type.

While listing products is free, selling items comes with selling fees. When you make a sale, Mercado Libre takes a percentage cut that varies by product category and country. Each country also has different minimum listing prices. That means you can’t sell products below a certain price threshold. Try bundling smaller items into a larger package if you need to bump the price over the minimum listing price.

Payment on Mercado Libre

Mercado Libre customers have different payment options. One of the most popular is interest-free installment plans. Bear this in mind as you’ll be required to offer it. Other payment options include mobile Point of Sale (mPOS), digital wallet QR payments, prepaid cards, and credit.

What about different currencies? Fortunately, Mercado Libre has you covered. They allow you to set listing prices in USD and get paid in USD. The platform automatically converts your listings’ USD prices into your customers’ local currency. That way, you don’t have to worry about exchange rates and so on. Just process everything in USD from start to finish. You can withdraw your earnings every 2 weeks if they amount to at least $500. If not, you’ll have to wait until you reach this amount to withdraw. You can transfer payments to a Payoneer account or directly to your bank account.

Language translation on Mercado Libre

In addition to taking care of currency conversions, Mercado Libre softens the language barrier for you with an automated translation tool. It lets you communicate with Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking customers in English by handling all the translation work behind the scenes. This is a great feature that takes some of the stress out of expanding into new countries and foreign markets.

Shipping and logistics on Mercado Libre

When it comes to shipping your products to Latin America, you have two options:

First, you can take advantage of Mercado Envios Full, a comprehensive fulfillment service similar to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). It allows you to store your inventory in Mercado Libre warehouses and handles the entire logistics process, including picking, packaging, and shipping. What’s more, Mercado Envios Full is free with the avoidable exceptions of long-term storage and pickup stock fees.

Second, if you’d rather ship your products to customers directly, you can choose Mercado Envios Direct to consumers. It partners with international carriers DHL and MailAmericas. Just bear in mind that both carriers have different package size and weight restrictions. With this fulfillment option, your Seller account automatically generates a shipping label when an order is placed. Print the label and attach it to the order, which you’ll need to ship to DHL or MailAmericas within 3 business days. They’ll then deliver the product to the buyer within their own shipping time frames.

Tips for successfully selling on Mercado Libre

Now that you know how to sell on Mercado Libre, let’s go over how to be successful on the platform. Mercado Libre marketplace has a Seller Reputation System that measures your seller performance and quality along a color scale from red (low) to green (high). To stay in the green, you’ll need to reply to customers within 24 hours, minimize the number of quality complaints your products get, keep order cancellations under 3%, and handle shipments within 3 days.

If you perform well on Seller Reputation metrics, you’ll rank higher on the platform’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and you could save up to 60% in shipping costs. In fact, we’ve found Seller Reputation to be the number one driver of search engine optimization (SEO) on Mercado Libre. For example, we researched the keyword “bomber jacket” and found that the top result had fewer reviews and was twice as expensive as the other top five listings. What made the difference? The top listing’s seller had the highest Seller Reputation. So score high on your Seller Reputation if you really want to give your listings a boost.

Mercado Libre also offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to help you increase your sales. So far, the advertising tool is pretty simple, but it can help you attract new customers. Users will see your ads in search results and on product pages as sponsored ads.

Partnering with Pattern

Ultimately, success on Mercado Libre comes with experience. If you need help expanding into the Latin American ecommerce marketplace, Pattern can help. Our marketplace experts have helped brands successfully launch products online into Mexico and Brazil, for example. We’ve also specialized in shipping health and beauty products following the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency ANIVISA’s strict import regulations. We know all the ins and outs of Latin American ecommerce.

Plus, our brand management helps brands grow revenue by an average of 30% in their first year. We can do this by analyzing which of your products would make a good fit for the Latin American market, providing estimates on annual revenue and potential duties, taxes, and non-tariff barriers, and giving you strategies on gaining market share in your product’s category. Learn more about Mercado Libre in our on-demand webinar or Request a demo of our ecommerce acceleration platform today.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.