Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amazon to open Costa Rica call centre

(AP Photo / Mark Lennihan)By Jonathan Birchall in New York Financial Times

Amazon, the world's largest internet retailer, is to establish a customer contact centre in Costa Rica, as its steps up its efforts to woo Spanish speaking customers both in the US and in Latin America.

The retailer is planning to open a Latin America contact centre in San Jose in Costa Rica, with between 100 and 150 staff, in its first direct presence in Latin America.

Costa Rica, which has wages well below those in the US, has attracted several call-centre operators who use it to service customers in the US, Latin America and Spain.

Amazon's planned investment in Costa Rica comes as the retailer expands the Spanish language offerings on its US site. This week the retailer launched a Spanish-language software store, and it plans to add a Spanish-language DVD section alongside its existing Libros En Espanol books section.

Amazon is one of the most popular internet retailers in Latin America, in spite of currently selling to customers there only via its predominantly English-language US site.

According to figures from ComScore Media Metrix, an estimated 5.9m Latin American users visited its sites in May, trailing the 7.5m visitors to the retail, entertainment and travel sites of B2W, a subsidiary of Brazil's Lojas Americanas.

The traffic to its US site from Latin America exceeds traffic to Amazon's independent French website, according to Media Metrix figures.

Amazon has not expanded into new territories since 2004, when it acquired China’s Joyo.com site.

(AP Photo / Mark Lennihan)

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