Alejandro Betancourt eCommerce2 


In this time, when digital is already part of our daily lives; business, trading and entrepreneurship are rapidly becoming more linked to the virtual world. The amount of companies developing online stores, with ordering systems through internet or mobile applications which help you buy or sell comfortably and safely; make way for new languages, strategies and business techniques on which we must be updated – since they are more popular each day- and whose widespread growth is only beginning.

That is why I would like to share a series of articles with different contributions to the topic of electronic commerce or e-commerce, with ideas, information and case study reviews or successful experiences for entrepreneurs, who have on Internet and social networks the appropriate platform to begin their businesses.
Let us start with the basic: e-commerce is a process where two or more parts (business owners and/or consumers) make business transactions which can be distribution, selling, buying, marketing or providing information about products and services, through a computer and internet access.

In the beginning it was only used for transactions such as electronic data interchange, but in the mid-90s the concept of selling services through the net began to develop by using electronic means like credit cards as ways of payment. This fact created the idea of electronic commerce, making companies build up electronic commerce divisions or virtual sales.

From the entrepreneurship point of view, this tool generates great opportunities because there are neither barriers nor borders for e-commerce, but in a world where almost everybody has smartphones which are product displays for businesses; without creativity or a worthy, different and genuine proposal, expected results will not be seen.

All over the world there are figures which show the big potential of doing businesses having internet as their platform. The website Live Stats averages that 40% of the world population has an internet connection, and examples like Amazon, which through e- commerce has become the biggest online bookstore in the world, the same with Dell Computers, all of them say that e- commerce is real. Amazon reported revenues of more than 74 billion dollars for 2013; and for 2014, Dell reached revenues of more than 57 billion dollars.

Keeping distances between a humble entrepreneurship with little time and one of these big companies, what is it all about? With a website or social networks strategically managed you can have a virtual store open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day in all telephones and computers connected to internet, giving the chance of generating customers even from the other part of the world.  


First Steps
Even if you think that having a smartphone is enough to be effective to sell your products or ideas, the topic is not that easy as it seems because these products or services you want to promote online have to be determined, to redefine sales processes, distribution, invoicing, marketing and customer service. That is why you should be careful and develop a well thought and proved strategy in order not to waste time or resources.
Here is a list of points you cannot miss if you want to begin e-commerce:


  • Products to sell: First you must remember that not all products are likely to be sold online, besides you must analyze if you have the place and personnel required to keep products or merchandise in good conditions. Likewise, the demographic aspect has to be taken into account, since e-commerce is closed to technology and constant updates; it is not advisable for products to people, for example, older than 60, overall because at this moment the age range of people online is between 20 and 40.
  • Partners or specialized providers: You need to work with a supportive company related to details from the website design to installation and software handling required to make online transactions. Make sure the hosting provider (the one which posts your page in a server), guarantees safe transactions so your customers’ confidential information remains confidential and encrypted during and after transactions. These kinds of providers are in charge of registering your domain name as well, and will be your advisors when setting up your virtual store.
  • Web design: Importance of a well-designed web page lies in being different from the other existing millions of pages which will be your competition. It must have attractive spaces for special offers and promotions; and a comfortable, kind and nice way of navigating. It is worth having links to other sites of interest, and always leaving spaces for customers to express themselves through suggestions or commentaries.
  • Assured production: You should develop a portfolio with services or product images you offer, but make sure articles are available in inventories. It is advisable to offer what you already have and not to disappoint the customer promoting products you would not have.
  • Logistics: Make alliances with courier, tracking and delivering companies. Check if these companies have worldwide coverage, and in case of any inconvenient, packages can be traced electronically.
  • Invoicing: Although there are different methods, as writing checks before buying or paying by credit cards, the most recommendable way now is to work with bank transactions since they have no limits related to geographical distances and can be monitored in real time.
  • Customer Relationship Management: A good website will help you have detailed updated information about your regular and potential customers, and according to their preferences and suggestions, offer them service during and after the purchase. I suggest that you follow e-mails, messages in social networks or enquiry calls generated by your website. Do your best for your customers to register basic personal information, or more information about their hobbies, lifestyle, professions, likes, etc., in return of personalized bulletins, promotions of articles, discounts and memberships.

These pieces of advice will help you draft your e-commerce business plan. In future articles I will go deeper in topics such as promotion, growth and advantages of online businesses.



Spanish version: Una mirada al e-commerce

Alejandro Betancourt

I have been very attentive this week to all news related to renewable energy, especially the one concerning solar energy, which I have always considered a very interesting technology where, undoubtedly, will lay a big percentage of energy generation worldwide in a close future.


 energia solar 


After checking some articles and reports, the release revealed by Bloomberg, based on the outlooks of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), is the one which has given me more satisfaction because of how complete and interesting is, but overall for its initial point: “the costs of solar energy will slide 66% in 2040, and wind power onshore 47% with renewable energies overlapping most of power plants for 2030”.

The report is based on the latest projection from the main firm of financial journalism made for the New Energy Outlook 2017 (NEO), which basically shows how the global system of generation of energy is decarbonizing.

Let me share my remarks about some conclusions of this report:


It is forecasted that by 2040 the solar energy will grow 14 times its own capacity. By that year, It is expected that both solar and wind energy represent 48% of the installed capacity and 34% of electric power generation, which nowadays indicates 12% and 5%, respectively.


The costs of solar energy will go down 66% by 2040. In countries as big as Germany, Australia, The United States and other smaller ones like Italy or Spain, electricity from photovoltaic panels is already as cheap as coal. For the year 2021 it will be much cheaper than coal in other big countries such as China, India, Mexico, The United Kingdom and Brazil.


China and India show an investment of 4 billion dollars for the power sector, in fact, the Asia Pacific’s region invests almost the same as the rest of the world in power generation. From the total amount of this investment in energy, it is projected that a third will be for wind and the other third for solar; 18% for nuclear and 10% to coal or fuel.


Batteries and new sources of flexibility further the attainment of renewable energies. The report foresees that the market of lithium batteries is expected to scope a valuation of at least $239 billion between 2017 and 2040, the year when 57% of households and businesses will have small scale storage systems, meanwhile nowadays, we see how natural gas provides flexibility of the system in critical moments. High scale batteries compete increasingly with natural gas to provide flexibility of the system in high demand time. The report also anticipates that renewable energies will help reach penetration of 74% in Germany until 2040, 38% in the United States, 55% in China and 49% in India.


In Europe and the United States, the electric vehicles (EVs) will represent 13% and 12% of the generation of energy by the year 2040, respectively. The demand of these vehicles will increase the cost of lithium batteries.


This is surprising information. By 2040 the photovoltaic home energy will express almost 24% of the electricity in Australia, 20% in Brazil, 15% in Germany, 12% in Japan and 5% in the United States and India. This reduces the need of coal plants and high scale gas.


A slow demand, cheap prices in high scale renewable energies and switching from coal to gas, will decrease 87% the use of coal in Europe by 2040. In the United States it is going down to 45%. However, in China it will continue to grow a fifth part during next decade, but it will reach its highest point in 2026. The global demand of thermal coal will decrease 15% between 2016 and 2040.


Spanish version: 7 claves para entender el futuro de la energía solar

Alejandro Betancourt

 Alejandro Betancourt inglés 

The last issue of the magazine Forbes España had on the cover the four geniuses behind the sunglasses brand, Hawkers, the corporation where I am the chairman of the board and feel very proud of. Hawkers created a guide for businesses based on the strategy of creating an innovating market and closer to the consumer, thanks to the opportunities of the digital transformation, which has revolutionized the fashion and accessories industry.

In the article in Forbes ( it is explained how this entrepreneurship grew in an exponential way, pointing out figures which exceed any expectation in the traditional e-commerce, becoming the current model of reference for the startups:

- More than 4,5 million of sunglasses sold.
- Presence in 50 countries.
- 90% of the sales are done through internet, being profitable and removing the pillars of the area.
- From 300 to more than 100.000.000 millions of euros billed in only three years.

These figures have been reached leaving behind traditional strategies and staking for a global action plan which has changed the sector. The industry, dominated by giants with a lot of seniority and experience, did not show any innovation for a long time. These big people from the market did not believe in the feasibility of the pattern of business of Hawkers.

Hawkers has taken advantage from current interconnectivity and technology to contribute with a new strategy to a market which was left behind in the past. Normally, when somebody wants to buy sunglasses, goes to a store, checks the well-known brands, compares prices and makes a decision. We broke off these paradigms, creating an easy new channel of sales through internet, something which had never been done before in the area. By means of our online shop, we offer a brand of sunglasses with design, class, quality and with an affordable price.

Marketing has been one of the keys of success of Hawkers, focused on the consumer, through social networks. These social networks have helped as: an advertising tool to position the brand, an instrument for data collecting to make essential decisions, the means to campaign with influencers who dominate these platforms. Facebook acknowledges us as the company with the best advertising performance in Europe, The East and Africa and in Twitter we have accomplished to break records of organic trending topics.


“Hawkers does not sell glasses, it sells Hawkers”
Our brand is fresh, young, funny, rebellious and groundbreaking. We offer to live an experience and be part of a generation: the Hawkers generation. Two important references in the history of the modern marketing are: Inditex, Zara’s parent company and Swatch. The first one created a market of clothing design affordable and closer to the consumer. Swatch is the revolution in the market of watches. It is about a Swiss product, with good quality, an attractive design and much cheaper than any Swiss watch. From a more contemporary view, this is what we have done in Hawkers. We are still even nearer the consumer, just a “click” apart, we make easy the decision to get a brand with quality, great design and with a price which breaks with the tradition of buying sunglasses which currently cost at least 100 dollars or euros.

In Hawkers, this new corporation, we have broken records, we call the attention in the lists, we win awards and we have achieved to be the cover of Forbes in Spain.

Everybody is talking about us, analysts and experts in the area, just because we are succeeding doing something nobody had done before. We will continue breaking paradigms to become market leaders.


Alejandro Betancourt



Last Monday 6, four Middle East countries broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar in an escalation that, despite it is only at a diplomatic level for the moment, it could bring big consequences if it continues moving forward without any agreement. Saudi Arabia, Baréin, Egypt and The Arab Emirates blame Qatar on supporting the “Islamic terrorism”.

Qatar, which is a small Emirate very rich in oil, says that the decision was taken to put them under responsibility in order to strangle them economically. It is interesting to point out what Professor Alberto Rojas, from The Observatory of International Affairs of Finis Terrae University, said when he was interviewed by the Chilean website Publimetro. He states that serious problem of this episode lies on “as far as the events are happening in a key area in terms of its energetic and political importance, even though it is not an isolated fact. Back in 2014, Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Baréin, withdrew their ambassadors in Doha unilaterally, a fact that shows that this is a topic from the very past”.

The measures taken by Qatar’s neighbor countries, are not only limited to the breaking of their relations but also to the fact that these countries close their airspaces and the terrestrial and maritime entrances, largely affecting the air traffic of the region, which is a vital connector among Europe, Asia and Africa. Likewise, neither their citizens can travel to Qatar, nor the entry of people form Qatar to their territories will be allowed.

Even though this crisis set off two weeks after Mr. Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia, it is not believed that the world´s leading power would not help Qatar because the American Air Base there is relevant for the United States and it is the one used to fight against the Islamic State.

At a first glance given to this situation, we find out that the immediate response was to rise the oil prices half a percentage point. Now, in the medium and long terms, there are many possible consequences due to the fact that Qatar has become closer to Iran and has got apart from its strategic and historic partners, such as its neighbors from The Gulf.

This circumstance is being understood as a kind of punishment, by isolating Qatar to be away from Iran, increasing at the same time the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, what would result in a war conflict and a disagreement among OPEC country members.

Therefore, there are two very different and important strands: If it is simply a diplomatic dispute, this could break off agreements about production quotas and would bring an increase of the quote in the world, causing a decrease in the prices. If this situation went to a higher level and there were any kind of war conflict in the Middle East, it would result in a shortage of the production and exportation from the area and would turn into a raise in the prices and that is something that the market is not granting at this moment, after having the immediate impact. If this happened, the price of the oil barrel would be something that I do not even want to anticipate.

How important Qatar is for the oil market is immeasurable. It is the country with the highest per capita income in the world, besides, it is the biggest worldwide liquefied natural gas exporter and has a sovereign fund with interests placed in companies such as Volkswagen, Barclays or Tiffany & Co., as it can be seen in this chart done by Bloomberg with some of the global investments of this Qatari fund.




When Tarek Fadlallah, a chief executive officer of Nomura Asset Management Middle East, was asked by Bloomberg, he said “there will be consequences for people, travelers and businesses. Apart from that, it puts the geopolitical risks in proper perspective; it is difficult to predict what will occur”.

Regarding Venezuela, this analysis is relatively simple. It is obvious that an escalation of this conflict in The Middle East would bring consequences not only for the international relations but also for the economic level and the direct result will be reflected in the price of the oil barrel: if oil goes down, the crisis will stand, but if it goes up, Venezuela might get foreign currency incomes which were not planned.


Alejandro Betancourt



What Venezuela and the world witnessed last Sunday June 11, was a sports show which is the consequence of the effort and talent of a group of people who, believing in their capabilities, earned the respect of the world of soccer. A sub championship which looks like a real championship, a defeat that, even though it was painful, set strong basis for the beginning of a cycle which starts setting foot in history that, if it continues being managed this way, it will be able to write full chapters full of emotions and success.

Among all articles I read, getting to know the advance of the Vinotinto Sub-20 in the U20 World Cup in South Korea, I cannot forget a description which said something like: “Venezuela plays, it likes itself, scores goals and has fun. But it is also good at defending and it grows when it is cornered by the game”. In this sentence some management basic concepts are reflected, which I believe were the pillars of the achievements of this team, such as their work capacity, the confidence in the strategy applied; their efficiency and commitment, besides showing being strong in hard times.

The work capability of this team was clear when they played games which went to extra time, and until they were decided with the so called penalties, when the players showed their resistance and strength not to fall until getting victory. Their confidence in the strategy and among the players was clearly seen because they never played differently, the players made a very devoted tactic job and that “soccer without the ball”, which is not understood by everybody, made these main characters glow with labor work, dedicated and concentrated in their task. The effectiveness got by this team was the awards as goals to what was already said, but with a lot of ability to finish, as well as to defend and to calm down the situation in hard times.

Comparing the team with a corporation, this company was totally and completely synchronized in all their divisions, departments or management; nobody avoided their responsibilities and all enjoyed with the same level of commitment and leading role.

It is obvious that we would not be talking about a successful formula if we did not refer to the leadership got by this group of big competitors, talented Venezuelan teenagers who were prepared for this championship. In fact, some analysts agree to place “the preparation” of this team as their big secret. This team gained knowledge with major leagues in international scenarios in order to have a background which gave them maturity to face the challenges of this World Cup, with the experience acquired of one who has survived and won thousands of battles.

The journey of this Vinotinto Sub-20 to be prepared for this world championship was never so organized, planned, intense and accurate, that is why the players reached such a high level. In fact, those who were still in pain due to previous lesions, as Soteldo, a number 10 whose physical capacity was half percent in Korea, showed all the bright in their performances.

I want to insist on the leadership because it was clearly seen full of experience, patience and group management. It was never taken for granted when victories were too obvious and warned when it was necessary to give instructions for each penalty kicked in the most intense moments, this says a lot about the head coach Rafael Dudamel as one with a great personality and group managing, what was noted, for good, in the achievements of this team which represented a whole country

I want to end with a managerial principle: “if something works, don´t touch it".


Alejandro Betancourt