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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Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (6th September 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (30th August 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (23rd August 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)