How is ecomm doing in Portugal?

Max B, CEO
Max B, CEO
Jul 29, 2023
5 minutes
Inspired by moving to a new country, one that is closer to Europe, and therefore to civilization, I decided to collect Portuguese E-commerce features related to omnichannel, penetration of online into offline to a single article. I will tell you where the Portuguese, in my opinion, are great, and where there is a need for improvement. I am really looking forward to seeing from you similar examples in other countries in the comment section/in DM/or at least in the email, so that later I can publish some kind of summary.
To begin with, a few figures and facts, as I believe you hardly know anything about Portugal other than portwine, surfing, beautiful tiles and the westernmost point of Europe:
In 2021, Portugal ranked as the 45th largest E-commerce market with US$4.3 billion in revenue. It's between New Zealand and Ireland.
According to Europe's E-commerce report, in the same year, more than 60% of Portugal's residents order goods online. For young people, that number is even higher, at 70%, according to JP Morgan.
According to a 2020 study by Digitalks in Portugal, 52% of residents made purchases from mobile devices. And only 36% of buyers used a computer or laptop.
The most common online payment method in Portugal is an open account (for example, Multibanco). In 2019, 36% of ecom payments were made this way. This means that the buyer pays for the products after the purchase, for example, at an ATM, at a gas station or in a supermarket. One advantage is paying online without disclosing credit card information.
And here is how the income of different sectors in the economy in Portugal changed
Now, nevertheless, let's move on to those features that caught my eye during the 6 months that I lived in Portugal.

Click & Collect

I saw this at Ikea when I was furnishing my new apartment. You collect your order and pay for it online, and then you just come to pick it up. You will say that this is a simple pickup. Yes, in fact, nothing complicated, but marketing and the name play their role + convenient format. You arrive by car at the shopping center and load everything into your car right in the parking lot. You do not need to roll a heavy cart from the cash register through all the halls, you do not need to look for an empty seat closer to the entrance. I just rolled to the storage, loaded and left.
An interesting moment came out: I had no money on the card, only cash. I went to the nearest Ikea to pay for the purchase on the spot and pick up the completed order in a day or two. I went to a specialist at the hall, he clarified my email, entered it and saw my basket, my favorites on his computer. Then, in just one click, he pulled all the products that I had in the shopping cart on the website to his CRM, printed out the necessary documents, and took the cash from me and placed the order.
This is a wildly simple functionality, anyways all the data is stored in the website database - and providing administrators with such functionality is super simple, and for the client it is very convenient to make the purchase. You can display such a code for the client on the website / in the application in order for example, not to dictate email when making a phone call or to identify him somewhere else.
In general, everything that we offer as an E-commerce extension is very easy to integrate offline as well.


Very close to the previous story. Saw this at Leroy Merlin. You form an order, pay, after 2 hours the order is placed in the cell for self-delivery and an access code is issued.

QR and photos in the interior of other buyers

We came across an interesting idea in a furniture store. I think this should be adopted in many areas of trade at all.
Each product has a QR code, you scan it and you get to the page on the website with the product. There is a photo, description, composition - everything is as usual. But what is interesting - it shows a photo of this product in the interior of people who have already bought it.
Not only do I see the experience of other users how they use it. Here you can go further. For example, implement social media functionality: comments, likes, social media integration to increase user engagement and reach.
And you can also see how different people combine this product with others, what they buy with it - a kind of upselling. It is possible to develop sharing ideas immediately with group photos, showing links to them directly from the photo, as is done for example in farfetch, inmyroom.

Electronic price tags

Probably a hackneyed topic already. Instead of paper price tags, use electronic ones. They are cheap, they google well for the word “digital price tag”. Long battery life and no wires.
Thus, all prices can be controlled completely remotely. But my point is to add dynamic pricing. For example, to make discounts on bakery shops in the late afternoon, analyze the balances and, if we understand that the product runs the risk of being left in stock for a long time, offer discounts.

Analytics *

This is an item with an asterisk, because I really like it, and because I haven’t seen it in Portugal, but I know how it is used in the world. We are talking about carts that track movement. A sensor is installed in the trolley, and we impersonally track the customer's path through the store. Thus, we understand the path of users and can display promotional products along the path of buyers. We can change the location of products and track how this affects their movement and average purchase. This is a complex task with huge data. It is unlikely that small retailers need it, but large retailers, where +1% of revenue can make a huge figure, are super.
Amazon Dash Cart
Video analytics also fits in here. Honestly, we don’t need to recognize faces, and in reality it doesn’t work so cool and causes a lot of controversy. But to understand crowded places is fire. Based on this information, you can open cash desks (if you see the regular queue accumulation), analyze demand, and arrange products at crowded points so that people do not crowd. In general, think about user comfort and build merchandising.

Customer tracking

My wife had the boots in Favorites on the Zara app. She was walking past one of the shops when the notice came. I opened it and saw a map of the store, on which was marked the place in the hall where the boots from her Favorites lay. One more pair was in stock, so the app offered to show the QR code to the seller to bring the boots. This is all, by the way, implemented using bluetooth beacon.
Now imagine that we can combine a bunch of features in E-commerce into one powerful tool. For example, to give a personal discount on a product that you added to the cart, but forgot about it, at the moment when you walk past the store.
In Portugal, by the way, there was also such a startup - Sizebay. They provided a subscription-based AI solution for fashion E-commerce sites. The bottom line is an algorithm that recommends the best size and fit for clothes and shoes. Once a customer has made a selection, they enter their height, weight, and age, and then select their waist and/or hip measurements and receive a recommendation on which size would suit them. The tool cuts profits in half by reducing expenses and improving customer experience and increases sales by 5%.
Functionality from Sizebay

Smart checkout

Instead of the usual scanning of each product at the Decathlon self-service checkout, you can simply put your purchases in a large basket, and the checkout will recognize what is inside and add all the items to the receipt. This is done using RFID tags.
How to make it even cooler? For example, using an application with a linked card so that the money is simply charged upon exit.

Loyalty program

We talk a lot about loyalty programs separately. And then I noticed a cool moment to stimulate the use of the bonus program - on the check of one of the stores after the total section there is a phrase - they say if you were a member of the bonus program, you would save 2 euros on this purchase. There would also be a QR code for downloading an application with a bonus program, and in general they would not have a price!


This item is with an asterisk, because I didn’t notice anything technological and super cool here. For example, you can order cold beer and nuts during football, which will be delivered right to your door in 15 minutes, Zara boots from a warehouse in Spain in 2 days, and a sofa, which is available in the store, only after a week.

Marketplace trends

Everything is clear with trends, but I saw 2 classic ways for marketplaces to appear.
I think, once an ordinary online store, built and optimized processes, logistics, warehouses, and realized that the market is tight and it is difficult to scale further. And decided: “Why not put products from other suppliers in my capacity in order to earn more from them?”
I think that Cash&Carry (Makro) has gone through a similar story. They even have a banner offline on a huge store: “Connect to our marketplace”. They took and created a tool and a platform for smaller players using their own capacities and brand.
In general, I am happy to follow the development and penetration of IT into the life of such large brands like Zara, Ikea. We are talking about all sorts of startups, innovations, but they already have a lot of things implemented and you can actually spy on them. They are not clumsy dinosaurs, they are cool, they also buy other startups, technologies to integrate into themselves, like farfetch bought a Belarusian startup.
By the way, we have extensive experience in building marketplaces. We can help transform your business, as we did with Fashion House. Feel free to message me in a DM and in the comments about your experience with E-commerce or ask questions. I will be glad to everyone!
Maxim Bontsevich