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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Aug 2, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 2nd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon sees its share price rise 10% and beats revenue expectations Amazon has exceeded revenue expectations, mainly due to its Amazon Web Services cloud business and its fast-growing advertising arm. Investors who have been concerned about the effects of sharp macroeconomic effects have been reassured as the ecommerce giant has overperformed and seen growth. [Read more on the Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/911f7a71-72ed-4c26-8a07-932832ffff4d) Amazon set to launch localised versions of its Prime Video in Southeast Asia Amazon is launching local versions of Prime Video across three countries in Southeast Asia, with new investments in local content. The service will launch in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, where users will be offered a 7 day free trial along with other discounted introductory offers. Prior to this launch, consumers in these countries had been able to shop cross-border on the platform but Prime Video has not been available until now. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/26/amazon-prime-still-worth-it/) Amazon closes down its cloud storage platform, Amazon Drive By the end of 2023 Amazon Prime members will be losing a big feature, Amazon Drive, as the company turns its attention towards its Amazon Photos service. The tech giant wants to focus on photo and video storage features, allowing Prime members to safely back up, share and organise photos & videos with Amazon Photos, which is currently available on iOS, Android and desktop devices. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/01/amazon-prime-members-are-set-to-lose-a-big-feature/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify lays of 10% of its workforce Shopify has cut 10% of its workforce as it struggles with a slowdown in ecommerce growth. The company was relying on a permanent jump in online purchases in the retail space, and are now realising that incorrect assumptions were made, which now need adjustment accordingly. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/27/shopify-cuts-10-workforce/) Alibaba Group goes after primary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange By the end of 2022, Alibaba will become dual-primary, listed on both the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) and HKSE (Hong Kong Stock Exchange). Being listed in two major financial centres will allow the company to expand its openness and diversity, broaden its investor base, and will help to pave the way for its globalisation strategy. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/26/alibaba-group-pursues-primary-listing-on-the-hong-kong-stock-exchange/) Shopee and P&G launch virtual home shopping experience As part of Procter & Gamble’s Regional Super Brand Day on Shopee, a new exclusive 360 degree virtual home shopping experience feature has been launched, with P&G brands of household essentials on offer, categorised according to rooms. Accessible through P&G’s official store on Shopee’s website and app, the feature includes multi-format touch points like videos, games, and localised content to make online home shopping convenient and engaging. [Read more on Business Mirror](https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/26/pg-and-shopee-launch-a-new-exclusive-360-virtual-home-shopping-experience/) The Hut Group ends investment deal with Japan’s Softbank UK ecommerce company, THG, has recently put an end to an investment agreement with Softbank due to “global macroeconomic conditions”. The deal was made to help fund the expansion of THG’s technology platform before going public in London. The company saw its share price fall after the announcement and its valuation remains well below its flotation price despite recent bidding wars. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jul/26/uk-thg-ends-investment-deal-softbank-lookfantastic-zavvi) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Third-party online marketplaces sales to account for 59% of all global ecommerce by 2027 By 2027, third-party sales through marketplaces will be the largest and fastest-growing retail channel globally, accounting for two thirds of all online sales. Alibaba will continue to hold its place as the global leader in retail sales, growing total net GMV sales in 2027 to $1.5trn, and Amazon in second place with $1.2trn. The number of third-party marketplaces operating globally has increased by over 500% since 2007, and is expected to see further growth. [Read more on Internet Retailing](https://internetretailing.net/marketplaces/third-party-marketplace-sales-to-account-for-59-of-all-global-ecommerce-by-2027/)
Jul 26, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 26th July 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon moves into healthcare through a $3.9bn deal with One Medical Amazon has acquired membership-based health service, One Medical, which offers virtual and in-person advice and care to patients. One Medical has close to 767,000 members and 188 medical offices in 25 markets, but has recently been making a loss. The ecommerce giant will take on One Medical’s debt, and sees the acquisition as a mission to make “quality healthcare more affordable, accessible and enjoyable”. [Read more on Retail Gazette](https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2022/07/amazon-healthcare-one-medical/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=bd98bc7b9e-EMAILCAMPAIGN202207220737&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-bd98bc7b9e-61040615) Amazon set to increase the price of Prime delivery and streaming services Amazon is raising the price of its Prime delivery and streaming service in the UK as a result of “increased inflation and operating costs”. Being a Prime subscriber allows for unlimited free delivery, entertainment and sport streaming services. The cost has been £7.99 since 2014, but from mid-September will increase to £8.99 for new customers or on existing customers’ next subscription renewal date. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/26/amazon-prime-subscription-rise/) --- Other Marketplace News --- YouTube and Shopify team up to add live shopping features YouTube has partnered with Shopify to offer users the option to purchase products without leaving its website. Viewers in the US, Brazil, and India will see the shoppable content in the explore tab within the next month, later rolling out to other regions. Someone watching videos on YouTube may come across a list of products on their page, and is then able to purchase the item without leaving the website or the video itself. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/19/youtube-partners-with-shopify-to-add-live-shopping-features.html) Alibaba is set to close Tmall online store in Hong Kong Alibaba recently announced that it will be shutting down Tmall in Hong Kong at the end of October this year. Tmall is Alibaba’s online retail platform that sells large Chinese and global brands.The company made the decision based on “business strategy adjustment”, but has stated that it will continue to provide payment and delivery services to local residents in Hong Kong through its Taobao marketplace. [Read more on Tech Node](https://technode.com/2022/07/25/alibaba-to-shut-down-tmall-online-shop-in-hong-kong/) Klarna is set to open its first brick-and-mortar retail pop-up shop Klarna is launching an immersive shopping experience in a pop-up store in Los Angeles called ‘Klarna Oasis’, and is focused on supporting the company’s mission-driven merchant partners. Customers will be able to shop exclusive discounts from specific partner brands and will have the option of donating gently used clothing and accessory items. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/22/klarna-to-open-first-brick-and-mortar-pop-up-shop-in-los-angeles/) Superdrug signs more than 200 brands to its online marketplace Superdrug has a new and upcoming online marketplace set to launch in September, and has already signed over 200 brands both premium and start-ups. The company aims to recruit and partner with more sustainable brands to support entrepreneurs and small businesses, promoting diversity and inclusion within the industry. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/20/superdrug-signs-over-200-brands-to-its-online-marketplace/)
Jul 20, 2022

Colin Boucher, Senior Performance Department Director: People of Pattern

Here at Pattern we believe that our people are integral to our success, and are what makes us great. Our PeopleofPattern series highlights some of the incredible, data-driven people in our company to learn about their roles, experiences, and what it’s like to work at Pattern. This week we caught up with Colin Boucher, Senior Performance Department Director in Pattern’s Melbourne office in Australia. Could you tell me a bit about your role and experience working at Pattern? I’ve been working at Pattern for five years now in the Melbourne office, one of our two offices in Australia. My current job title is Senior Performance Department Director and I head up the Performance Marketing team, our responsibilities include things like Google Ads, paid social, advertising, affiliates and marketplaces advertising, as well. I manage our team and also work across the client set from a strategic point-of-view when working with some of our key clients on relationship management also. I started at Pattern as an Account Manager, implementing the digital channels and working with clients on a daily basis. In August 2020, I started my current role working across all of our clients, in particular our key brands, including Under Armour, Converse, Rip Curl, & Baby Bunting. You worked at Practicology when it was acquired in 2018, why did you choose to work at Practicology then and why do you choose to work at Pattern now? When I first moved to Australia I had experience working in different sized agencies in the UK, and when I met Merline McGregor, she instantly grabbed my attention as someone that I wanted to work with. The role I came into wasn’t what I’m doing now, it was more of an account management role, running the clients on a day-to-day basis. At that point, they hadn’t had anyone in the Melbourne office in that sort of role. Because of this, it was a bit of an opportunity to go in and put my own stamp on things. I’d also done bits of ecommerce, but not huge amounts of it. This was a really key area in Australia, so it made sense to pursue from that perspective. Even in 2017, the company had some fantastic global and Australian brands that really appealed to me, including Rip Curl & Converse. During the interview process, I got such a great impression of the people and culture, there wasn’t anywhere else I wanted to work. What has been the most rewarding part of working at Pattern for you? The most rewarding part for me has been seeing clients that were quite small when I started, grow much, much bigger and gain a great deal of significance. Being part of a brand’s growth is really satisfying, especially when, at times, the channels we own are crucial to them. There are also a few people that have been in my team for a few years and they’ve gone from more junior positions to much more senior positions. This is also rewarding to me, it’s really nice to see people grow and develop. Ultimately, going to the office and seeing the team is a pleasure, it’s a privilege to work with our brands too. Last question, why would you recommend working at Pattern? The people! I love working with the team across Australia. There’s loads of smart, really experienced people and the company continually recruits really talented people across all positions as well. Over the years we’ve also developed a strong client base. We have global brands like Under Armor and Converse, but also more local Australian brands that we’re helping to grow bigger. It’s really a mix of the people I work with at Pattern and the clients I work with - they’re all great. We’re growing our team at Pattern! If you're looking to start a career in ecommerce or even if you're a seasoned professional and want to learn more about our exciting opportunities, [check out our open positions here.](https://pattern.com/about/careers/)