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'Half of the products sold by e-commerce in Spain come from abroad'

Ricardo Migueláñez, Editor of Qcom.es and WikiSpanishFood.com

The Digital Economy Forum is a private business school founded in 2012 which aims to train professionals to lead the digital transformation in companies, and especially those responsible for e-commerce projects. It currently has headquarters in Madrid and Bogotá, with face-to-face and online programs.

It has it own classrooms on Calle Capitán Haya 1, in Madrid, and it offers programs at El Bosque University and also directly to businesses and individuals in Colombia.

The Master's in E-Commerce Management is now in its 5th year, and more than 150 students have obtained their degree through the face-to-face and online program. Those who use the latter have permanent access to a virtual classroom with excellent audiovisual and written content prepared by our staff of expert professors comprising the most qualified e-commerce professionals. Those are our advantages.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- An easy but perhaps complicated question to start. What is e-commerce and what types of transactions does it include?

Roberto Palencia.- Primarily it's a channel for influencing sales that can be completed using any other channel or for generating the transaction directly via the internet.  That will depend on each company's business model.

It's important to note than e-commerce also helps with selling across other channels.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- Historically, it's believed that the Spanish are reluctant to buy online. Has this situation changed, or do we still prefer physical purchases?

R.P.- Spain does not have the same sales penetration as other countries around us, in terms of telesales and catalogue sales; however, it is exhibiting extraordinary growth of 15% per year, ranking us 4th in Europe in this area.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- What are the sector's revenues in Spain?

R.P.- Official data is based only on transactions using various aggregate payment methods, and sales are expected to be around 15 billion euros in 2014; as the number are starting to look very interesting, many companies are interested in getting a piece of this market.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- Are the products people are buying from Spanish or foreign companies?

R.P.- About half of the products sold via e-commerce in Spain are from websites in other countries, evidence that there's still notable scope for growth in Spain for companies that know how to connect with consumers and that truly make a digital channel an important part of their management processes.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- As for food, supermarkets' websites appear to be functioning increasingly well, but what kind of data do you have regarding online sales of food from producers?

R.P.- There are currently very interesting initiatives which eliminate the intermediaries between producers and end consumers. There are fruit and vegetable producers with sound businesses who are using subscription models to ensure sales and focusing part of their production on online customers. There's still a long road ahead in this regard.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- Logistics are important in these types of transactions. Is Spain prepared to suitably develop e-commerce?

R.P.- In recent months, companies have become much more committed to same-day deliveries, and there are an increasing number of logistics operators that can transport controlled temperature goods, so it's vital to identify customers and create stable relationships with them.

WikiSpanishFood.com.- Could you venture a prediction for the future of e-commerce in Spain in the coming years? And for the food industry?

R.P.- E-commerce will indubitably continue to grow at rates of around 15%, as the number of consumers who are using this channel continues to rise. Companies are increasing their investments with a view to competing online and, in most cases, good shopping experiences create a habit which is more profitable for everyone than spending hours going from store to store.

The food sector, which is lagging the trend, is the next sector expected to take off, with the result that we should keep abreast of the news in the months to come.

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25/07/2017