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Monday, April 9, 2018

Cuba will experience online shopping

Por qubano22005

The Caribbean island has almost three decades of delay on this kind of trade that may be accessible to Cubans since the coming summer season. According to Cuban authorities, the service will be available to customers with magnetic cards in national currency, but unlike what happens in other parts of the world, items must be bought personally, completely absurd as it questions "the ease" that electronic commerce would grant to Cuban clients.

Although it may seem surreal, Cuba, which is still a surrealist country, highlights the client must be present while buying the products. Several questions lurk: what’s the advantage? Why to buy online if clients must go to the store afterwards? Will there be different products? Will there be discounts?

These interrogations are circulating from ear to ear in the capital of the country. But apparently the absurd is not so absurd at all. It is known that Cuba, in addition to a backward and weak telecommunications infrastructure, has other disadvantages related to electronic commerce, like the necessity of training the personnel who will offer the service as well as a strong infrastructure such as computer programs and databases to address these issues.

In addition, the services have the imperative participation of the Correos de Cuba Mailing Company, one of the most impoverished sectors in the country and a constant target of critics; even in the delivery of postcards, the postal service sucks in Cuba. Finally, stores also lack of transportation that would allow a constant fluid and efficient flow between them and the final consumer.

On the other hand, there is the stock of products’ issue. Currently in Cuba, private business owners and regular customers have a daily dispute over products that are generally scarce in the Cuban market, since they are imported. Others, when they come to the stores at some point of the year, are quickly monopolized by the private sector and street retailers in combination and plot with dependents, a serious problem for stores and customers. Regarding discounts, Cuba is well known for making very few promotions and product discounts in the chain stores. The incentive of online shopping to purchase products at fewer prices will not be part, at least not at the beginning, of the sales strategies of Cuban stores.

The infrastructure of connectivity and availability of feedback from Cuban stores will also spook Cuban managers if this highly requested service in the rest of the world becomes popular.

According to the official note from the Cuban government, the service will be available, for the time being, at Miramar Shopping Center in Havana, an area where most of embassies and foreign companies are located. However, the Cuban authorities foresee that the service will be expanded "at least to one store in each province".

Cubans have dreamed for years of being able to use e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba, but the limited internet connectivity in the country, the limitations of Cubans to access international cards due to the Embargo as well as the mailing malfunctioning have delayed these services.

Cubans long to be able to acquire an item from the comfort offered by the internet and according to the official sources of the Caribbean nation, the pilot test with a payment gateway was satisfactory. Some of the requests to have access to the service will be having access to the national network, a magnetic card in CUP and an electronic banking service card (Telebanca).