Generalizes on the best strategy to enter the market, e.g., visiting the country; importance of relationships to finding a good partner; use of agents.
For marketing purposes, Honduras can be divided into two regions: The Northern Coast, including the country’s commercial and industrial center, San Pedro Sula; and the Central region, where the political capital and largest city, Tegucigalpa, is located. Both are major distribution centers for imported goods. A single distributor or representative is usually sufficient to cover all of Honduras. Within the context of the Central America region, consumer tastes, marketing, and distribution channels are very similar.
Starting a Business
Having a local presence by appointing a local agent, representative, or legal advisor is strongly recommended to help with import procedures, sales promotion, after-sales service, and becoming familiar with the Honduran market in general. Independent intermediaries are especially important for smaller companies, as their knowledge of the market and of the relevant business customs and practices adds strong value for the U.S. manufacturer/exporter. U.S. companies are advised to evaluate local prospects in terms of the services and benefits provided, considering factors such as location, financial strength, quality of the sales force, warehousing facilities, reputation in the market, product compatibility and overall experience.
Price and Credit
Price is among the most important selling factors in Honduras. In many cases, Honduran businesses buy directly from the source if they feel that the cost savings are sufficiently advantageous. The local banking system is traditionally conservative and generally extends only limited amounts of credit, though looser monetary policies and increased competition from regional and international banks have led to overall consumer credit expansion. U.S. exporters that properly use and offer attractive trade terms for Honduran importers have the best chance of gaining market share and enhancing buyer-seller relationships.
Testing the Market
When entering the Honduran market, U.S. firms should always seek legal advisers with specific expertise in local trade law and take advantage of the help offered through different organizations supporting trade, such as chambers of commerce and industry associations. U.S. firms should also consider testing the market by participating in local events, trade missions, and other exploratory visits.
Prior to engaging in a commercial relationship, U.S. companies should conduct corporate and regulatory due diligence, as well as visit potential partners or agents in Honduras to get a sense of the overall business environment.