In 2016, the founders of TraigoTuCompra realized they were often transporting otherwise unavailable or expensive products for friends and family members living abroad in their luggage. They recognized that asking friends/family members to transport products was bothersome and would often come with a delay. They also recognized that hundreds of individuals travel daily with idle suitcase space.
The solution? A platform which allows people to buy products abroad in a simple, safe and economical way thanks to qualified travelers, who give up available space in their luggage and transport orders in exchange for a reward. Traigo Tu Compra removes the need for buyers to use expensive couriers or bother friends and family with requests to transport goods.
Tell us a little about yourself and your website?
My name is Marcelo Machuca, I am an Uruguayan Public Accountant and after having worked at top international consulting firms (like KPMG and BKR) for 20 years, in 2014 I decided to found Desafiomundial.com, a digital content site that had more than 50 million visits and almost 400,000 followers on social networks until I decided to sell the business in 2016 – through Flippa – to US investors.
In 2016 I lived in New York with my wife and each time we travel to LATAM (to Argentina and Uruguay), we loaded our bags with orders for family & friends… and we did it for free! Why this happens? Because buyers throughout all LATAM do not find certain products or they are too expensive locally.
Therefore, in 2017 we decided to launch https://traigotucompra.com/, to connect buyers who need products from abroad with travelers, who transport orders in their luggage in exchange for a reward.
We did an investigation and identified that Cross Border Market in early 2017 exceeded $100 million dollars in only LATAM and USA (today exceeds $160 million) and on the other hand, we only found a single strong competitor acting in the region such as Grabr.io. So, in April 2017 we decided to invest in the development of the Traigo Tu Compra platform and in August 2017 we were already in a position to launch.
The business has not been around for very long and you’ve found almost immediate success. How have you marketed the product and where are your customers originating from?
At the beginning of the project, during the final months of 2017, we decided to launch the platform promoting the opportunity to buy abroad through travelers, exclusively among our own contacts and friends (through email & WhatsApp), although also incorporating orders that were spontaneously generated through our platform, as it began to rank in the Google searches. Our main customers were from Argentina and Uruguay.
Together with my wife and a friend, we traveled several times to Miami and thus delivered the first 200 orders with total success. The rewards that we obtained (added to the 10% commission) compensated the travel costs, and that travel tests were extremely useful to accumulate experience, adjust details, as well as to make financial arrangements in the United States as the opening of our first Bank account.
During 2018 we continued to deliver orders in a similar way, traveling the team of founders from Argentina / Uruguay to the United States although already alternating with our first spontaneous travelers who registered on the platform.
In August 2018 we received financial support from the Ministry of Production of Argentina that provided us with $5,000 USD, of which we allocated 80% to the development of a Mobile App for iOS, and the remaining 20% for specific marketing actions mainly on Instagram and Facebook.
In 2019 we achieved an alliance with Viasendo (a Uruguayan courier agency that consolidates, stores and delivers packages inside the USA) that allowed us to optimize the process of buying and delivering orders. This alliance allowed us to consolidate an alternative business model that consists not only of earning money through the commissions generated by the intermediation between buyers and ‘spontaneous’ travelers, but also earning money (between USD $1,500 and USD $2,000, net of travel expenses ) product of the trips made by the Traigo Tu Compra’s team (also adding external travelers hired when necessary) and delivering orders for clients principally from Argentina and Uruguay.
How does your business make money?
We make money in two ways:
1) 10% commission over $ transaction
2) In some cases we contract travelers and pay their travel expenses in order to obtain not only commissions but also revenue from rewards .
How much time each week are you currently spending on the business?
Almost the entire process is automated: all you have to do after the agreement between buyer and traveler is finalized, is to be aware of the status of each order on the platform.
Payments are automatically processed by PayPal: when the traveler delivers the order, the buyer confirms receipt on the platform and changes the order status to “delivered”, and at that time you must manually transfer the money to the traveler through PayPal. This activity, as well as customer service, will not take more than 3 hours a day.
However, it is important to highlight that in this instance to give movement to the business and considering the lack of funds for marketing, the business owners are traveling monthly to the United States to buy and deliver orders which implies more work hours.
Why have you decided to sell the business?
TraigoTuCompra needs capital to finance marketing actions that will allow the business to expand and at the same time reach an equilibrium point that includes compensation for the owner and for future employees.
Because I don’t have those necessary funds, nor have I been able to get them, and the best thing for the business is a new owner who has those financial possibilities for himself or with potential investors.
What would someone need to do or know to continue operating the business?
Traigo Tu Compra needs some capital to finance marketing actions that allow the business to expand, to be massive, and thus reaching an optimal financial position. So, the best thing for the business is a new owner who has those financial possibilities for himself or with potential investors, to sustain this growth.
if the new owner does not have extra funds or doesn’t have access to potential investors, he can also continue managing the company as I have been doing, with a slow but sure growth. And even if they wish, and following my instructions (I give 30 days free support!), the new owner can also act himself as a Trago Tu Compra traveler and earn revenue from commission and rewards, delivering orders from USA to any country of LATAM.
Can you list a few growth opportunities for a potential buyer?
- TraigoTuCompra is a global company: anyone from anywhere in the world can make cross border shopping not only in the USA, but also in any country at Europe, Asia, or even LATAM. We started exploring the Argentine and Uruguayan market because we identified a great potential in purchases from the USA mainly. However, there are other markets such as Chile, Peru and especially Brazil, with immense potential to explore and grow the business. Cross Border Trade market reaches USD $160 million at LATAM & USA and USD $1 Billion GLOBALLY.
- Make agreements with Amazon to obtain income derived from its Affiliate Program.
- Sign agreements with travel agencies to create a network of frequent travelers
- Offer buyers the possibility to buy in installments and thus obtain profits from accrued interest
- Millions of Latins who permanently or temporarily reside abroad want access to national products. (Examples include yerba mate, wine, dulce de leche etc) in their country of residence. Access to these products is difficult and if possible, they have a high cost. Family trips are also infrequent. So an opportunity of growth is to boost the business through marketing actions aimed at exploiting this niche market