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E-commerce on the Increase in Cuba

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E-commerce is taking hold in Cuba. Photo: Jack Sparrow, Pexels

E-commerce is on the rise in Cuba. Electronic payments by warehouses and retail in Cuba’s domestic trade system have shown an increase in the number of transactions taking place.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade (MINCIN) has been working for the last two years on implementing the EnZona app e-commerce payment system, developed by the high tech firm Xetid. EnZona, used with a QR code, is transforming the way business and Cubans pay for goods and services.

Miriam Pérez González, the Deputy Minister at MINCIN, said 110 consumer registry offices, known as Oficodas and the ministry’s commercial registry are working together to enable the online payments system to function among all actors involved in the trade system.

The process began in 2019 with the implementation of the point of sale system (POS) in construction materials stores. The following year, e-commerce began in wholesale warehouses for the sale of high demand food products.

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Perez said that 5,431 retail facilities linked to the basic food basket have carried out transactions through online payments. A total of 130,639,000 pesos in sales transactions have taken place.

“This is a public registry that will allow all the people who carry out an activity related to commerce do not have to go to the offices authorized for this purpose, but that all the procedures can be done online. This not only includes state entities but also self-employed workers with activities related to commerce,” the Deputy Minister said.

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There are plans to implement the process throughout Havana and the rest of the country.

Perez also said that today there are eleven virtual stores, both for retail and wholesale trade. In the case of wholesale, wholesale markets, and non-state forms of management businesses, more than 215,000,000 pesos of sales were registered in the first quarter of this year.

The advantages of online payment systems, Perez said, is that it permits a greater control over finances, makes the activity more transparent, and avoids the handling of large amounts of cash. It has also minimizes the organization’s chains of non-payments to suppliers.

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She said that over 215,000,000 pesos worth of merchandise have been sold through electronic payment apps in the wholesale and retail stores.

Perez stated that during the first quarter of the year, payments through electronic channels for shipping of goods between retail stores and suppliers began in Havana with the distribution of dairy products, but should expand for food such as bread, meat and tobacco.

Perez advised managers and consumers to promote the “culture” of the use of electronic payment methods.

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