Tag Archives: online sales
Mobile, online-offline convergence and simpler payment methods paint the landscape for where e-commerce is headed in South Africa, according to Luke McKend, country director for Google South Africa. Speaking at the uAfrica eCommerce Conference in Sandton on Wednesday (11 September 2013), McKend presented the challenges of doing e-commerce in South Africa, and painted a picture of what the market will look like in the next few years, according to trends seen by Google. According to McKend, the key challenge faced by online stores in South Africa is to deliver on the promise of e-commerce – to gain loyal customers through meeting expectations and provide a stable, trustworthy and secure service. Looking at the South African e-commerce market, McKend highlighted that the country is projected to see 29.8 million Internet users by 2016, with a 25% increase in online spend anticipated this year. Notably, McKend noted that, in 2014, South Africa is expected to have 80% smartphone penetration as mobile operators such as Vodacom and MTN are working to bring “sophisticated” devices to more people at a more affordable price. “The web is mobile,” McKend said, stating that most people’s first interaction with the Internet in South Africa will be through a mobile phone – and Google SA stats reveal that there are more mobile searches than desktop searches in South Africa. The future of e-commerce Quoting data from World Wide Worx, uAfrica head Andy Higgins said that, in 2013, South Africans are projected to spend as much as R4.2 billion online – excluding air tickets – representing an estimated 25% growth in the market. According to McKend, the “store of the future” will a convergence between physical retail and online – where customers don’t discern between buying something online or offline, but view purchases and transactions as “I’m buying this from a store.” The gap between what is considered “commerce” and what is considered “e-commerce” is going to narrow, McKend said, and technology is going to be core to the transition. To this end, McKend said that all stores will need to make sure all their products are available online – if not for purchase, at least for review. “We need to make sure that all the inventory we actually have lives in the cloud,” he said, adding that users need to be able to see everything retailers have, online. Users who don’t see products online, assume it’s not available [...]
The South African market is adopting ecommerce at a rapid pace. With more and more consumers becoming comfortable with using online platforms to make purchases, It presents opportunities for businesses and brands especially in an environment of slowing retail sales, as reported by Statistics SA on Wednesday. According to Claude Hanan, Co-founder of design curated website Citymob.co.za, “Ecommerce in SA is quite a defensive industry at the moment. Even when broader macro trends point to muted consumer spending, the number of shoppers becoming online shoppers is growing faster than the decline in basket sizes as a result of falling disposable income.” We are still very far away from being in a position where all those who WANT to shop online, can and do shop online. If one takes a deeper look, South Africa has 3% ecommerce penetration (being the % of total population who shop online). This equates to about 1.5m people. This figure is expected to double by 2016 to 6% or 3 million people, but Hanan feels it will more than double. “ There are 13.2m internet users in SA currently. However, a measure we prefer looking at – which has been identified by Arthur Goldstuck, is the number of internet users who have been online for LONGER than a 5 year period. Currently this sits at 4.6m.” But a point Hanan is eager to make is that no-one is comparing the 1.5m currently active online shoppers to the 4.6m potential user base. If you do, you see that only 32% of people, who are ready to shop online, actually are shopping. Why is this? There are a number of reasons but top contributors are awareness, trust and quality of offering. The market is growing very quickly. Again, according to research by World Wide Worx, online retail is growing at 25-35% per year and is expected to reach R4.2bn in 2013. “It’s not a case of local online companies getting better in the next few years, they are getting better right now. It’s happening today. More users are online, shipping is faster, product offerings are better, client service is smoother. So the tailwinds in the industry are legitimate and we are benefiting massively from that and are hugely excited about the growth of ecommerce in SA over the next 5 years.” Citymob took advantage of the opportunity and have seen phenomenal growth across the board. “All KPI’s are [...]
This year saw a rise in online spending across the globe, with USA reporting a 20% increase in online shopping on Cyber Monday as shoppers snubbed physical retail stores in favour of missing out on the holiday queues. Locally we are coming to the party, with recent report showing that 9.5% of South Africans are planning on doing their festive shopping online in 2013. Picking up on this trend, Style36.co.za and 5rooms.com, two of SA’s leading online fashion and furniture retailers, proved that SA is indeed embracing online shopping by breaking their sales records in one day with the launch of their Cyber Monday campaign. Offering customer the opportunity to shop top local and international brands at up to 80% off for 24 hours only, the campaign not only showed that South Africans are shopping online but that they are willing to spend large amounts of money when given the right opportunity. Style36, SA’s ultimate online style destination, set a record number of sales, receiving over 5000 orders in just 24 hours. For the first time ever, the site received over 100 000 visits in one day, a clear indication that South Africans are curious and excited about the prospect of shopping online. Online furniture, homeware and lighting store, 5rooms, went on to record their biggest sale day since inception in 2012 with close to 1000 orders being placed in the 24 hours provided. In total South African consumers spent over R3 million shopping on these two online stores alone. “We are very pleased with the results of our first ever Cyber Monday campaign and judging from the results we achieved, South Africans from all over the country are embracing online shopping. The most positive aspect of the campaign are that we not only managed to give our already loyal shoppers what they want that being incredible deals but also increased our customer base by over 60% in just 24 hours, introducing an entirely new audience to online shopping,” says Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, Head of Marketing at Style36 and 5Rooms. Cyber Monday in SA proved to be one of the biggest online events of year a promising indication as to where e-commerce is headed in this country. If companies like Style36 and 5rooms continue to set the standard locally, South Africa is sure to hit the big time on the world stage in coming years. This article was contributed to [...]
Here you will see the latest trends in online shopping in South Africa and the impact which both good customer support as well as the credit card penetration is having in the online retail economy.
The South African market is going to be in a competitive space as larger players and international retailers and service providers continue to penetrate the market and seek to absorb sectors currently dominated by SMEs. How can the average business ensure sustainable growth in 2014? One word: Online. Everything, and I mean everything, is moving online. Plumbers see the need to promote themselves online and so do seedling growers, vehicle manufacturers and paper mills. Accounts, orders, communication, storage and recruiting are more efficient online and the list goes on and on. Every year, a percentage of the established markets of both offline advertising and traditional retail are siphoned off by the internet. This is what is growing global e-Commerce at over 20% per annum. While the e-market is growing organically, it’s mainly hijacking existing offline revenues. Despite this, it might seem “safer” to adopt a “wait and see” approach to investments, but it is clear that those pursuing disruptive innovation through leveraging customer relations and efficiencies online are reaping the results. (Just check out some of the market share and brand equity FNB acquired by being a first mover in innovative online consumer engagement.) 2013 is the year to prepare one’s online partners (retail, strategy and media) and draft a serious online investment strategy. I’m not talking about putting up GoogleAds, but seriously considering ways to undercut the competition and offer more value to your clients in 2014 through online efficiencies, portals, information and retail channels. If you’re not, someone else will be. Taking the Pain While some have been burned by over-investing in a limited online market, the majority of innovative internet-launched initiatives are reaping a great ROI. But to avoid painful expenditures and misdirection of online marketing, the business should keep in mind: 1. The Internet = NOT Magic. What doesn’t work, sell or attract offline, probably won’t work, sell or attract online. 2. Is it needed? Is the facility of service being offered online really needed? a. How much time does it same the client? b. How easy is it for the client to do? (If it takes more than 5 seconds for them to figure out the flow, dump the idea.) c. How many current clients do you have that would benefit from this? Don’t expect to triple market-share just because of an online gadget. 3. Is there a way to Test the Market with your approach, [...]
The best online shopping stores: When it comes to tech startups, ecommerce is at once an easy and tricky space to play in. It’s easy, because to get going all you really need is something to sell, a good design and the right plugins. It’s tricky because people are trusting you with their money. You have to make sure you have the right security, and can guarantee delivery. It’s also not easy to stand out in a market like South Africa where broadband penetration remains comparatively low, forcing you to compete for place in a crowded space. There are a few that have done so well. They sell a wide variety of products, but generally occupy specific niches. The South African ecommerce awards recognises these sites on an annual basis. This year’s winners included sites owned by mega-corporations, while others are more independent. 1. Best ecommerce store — YuppieChef This online store claims it is “dedicated to making the world’s best kitchen tools available to South Africans”. According to the awards’ judging panel: The Yuppiechef website is a pleasure to use with fast, accurate search results and crisp clear images. The site is informative and the ordering process is streamlined and efficient. The delivery experience is incredible, ensuring satisfied customers. Customer service is responsive and attentive whether it’s over the phone, email or online chat. We loved the mobile site. 2. Best ecommerce services website — Bidorbuy The online auction site is an ecommerce stalwart in South Africa, having been around since 1999. In early 2011, it bought group-buying site UbuntuDeal “We enjoyed the fast and secure online shopping, an awesome mobile site and timely responses to customer queries,” said the judging panel. 3. Best group-buying site — Groupon SA The company might not be faring so well internationally, but the SA franchise maintains that it’s in it for the long-haul. With the like of Naspers’ Dealify and Avusa’s Zappon out of the game, it definitely had less competition for this award than it would have a year ago. “The website is easy to navigate with a wide range of deals of which the ordering process was extremely quick and straightforward,” say the judges. 4. Best classifieds website — Property 24 The online classifieds game is seriously hotting up, around the world as well as in South Africa. Some think they might even be the thing that finally kills off newspapers. According to the judges, the Naspers-owned [...]
By: Jonathan D. Novotny | Founder of CloudSales.co.za Most online stores operated by small businesses in South Africa fail to provide the user with an experience which leaves them at-ease and confident about their order being processed and delivered. The good news is, most of these problems are easy to avoid. Let’s look at the most common issues and the simple solutions. Design: The usual design issues arise from the use of: Outdated, irrelevant structures – Ensure that you are using the latest version of one of the global most widely implemented platforms – These are currently OpenCart, Magento, PrestaShop or Shopify if you want a DIY solution with no hands on support available. Weird, unusual or incomplete themes – If you want to be pro, just purchase a quality theme. This is like your skin, and regardless of how good your structure is, if your site looks like a ‘90s website, you aren’t going to inspire confidence. Just downright bad product photos – Get better ones. Give people what they want – If they are looking for contact details, don’t offer them a form to fill out, or if they want to pay and order online, don’t ask them to fill out an order form “…So you can get back to them.” Functionality: If you have time to set up your store and are an IT genius then there’s nothing stopping you from implementing this yourself. Responsive Design means the website scales down to the size and complexity of the device viewing it. For example, mobile devices see a narrow site with small product images and a simpler menu. Automatic Invoicing – Keep in mind that some shoppers may not want to pay via credit card, so give them an EFT option or have the system send them an automated invoice for payment. Integration with SA Payment Gateways – or just setup your own PayPal account & link to that. Integration with Courier Services Special offers, Coupons & Vouchers – You may not be planning on using this straight off, but if you are investing time and thought into your solution, best make sure that it has everything you need to build on. The Vital Final Touches: Use more & larger Product Images. Most insecurity online comes from not seeing the product up-close-and-personal. So make it as easy as possible for your clients by having pictures from every [...]
SOUTH Africa will see a boom in e-commerce next year, according to Simon Leps, CEO of digital solutions provider Fontera Digital Works. “We are at a very exciting time for e-commerce in South Africa. A lot of the big brands have started to take notice and have realised they could be left behind. Locally, we have plans for about 10-15 e-commerce sites to be launched next year for our clients,” Mr Leps says. By global standards, the e-commerce platform in South Africa is small, but as the timidness of local shoppers fades, a growing number of time-poor and techno-savvy consumers are turning to the internet for retail therapy and bargain hunting. Research by World Wide Worx, commissioned by Google, indicates that online retail is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, growing at a rate of 30% a year. Online shoppers continue to increase locally, with 58% of the country’s 8.5-million internet users shopping online, and with the industry consensus aiming for 40% growth this year the highest rate in almost a decade. E-commerce start-up Zando recently landed an investment in the “three-digit million-rand” band from the asset management division of the global investment powerhouse JPMorgan. Zando is an online fashion store that sells local and international brands. “Attracting such a reputable international investor to support our future growth shows commitment and confidence in our business. This investment will assist the business by supporting its vision and all of its operations,” Manuel Koser, joint MD and co-founder of Zando, says. In order to gain market share from competitors Foschini‚ Woolworths and Truworths, fashion retailer Mr Price in July launched its online store‚ which allows shoppers to have their purchases delivered to their street address‚ post office or store for R35. “An online selling capability will enable Mr Price to further strengthen relationships with our target customers‚ who are tech-savvy and require a convenient and secure way to get their fashion‚” Mr Price CEO Stuart Bird says. Mr Price Home and Mr Price Sport are expected to follow with online stores next year. Woolworths CEO Ian Moir says the group’s online store is going well. “We’re seeing significant growth, but from a small base. We’ve invested a lot in our digital strategy, we’ve replatformed the site; it has our entire catalogue on now.… We’ve invested in better solutions in terms of picking and packing from stores, the distribution to the customers — [...]
The imminent growth of South Africa’s e-commerce industry presents a number of opportunities for business to leverage. However, it is also important to take cognisance of the specifics of the South African context to ensure that these benefits are fully optimised. Research by Morgan Stanley has estimated that sales of smart phones will exceed those of PCs in 2012, while research group Gartner has also forecast that smart phone penetration will reach 80% in South Africa by 2014. With the increase in smart phone users reaching a critical mass, combined with take-up of online and mobile payment solutions, this will lead to a rapid boom in e-commerce. According to Katherine Akeroyd at Step Advisory, a boutique professional services company, these two factors will significantly affect the online landscape for businesses in Africa over the next few years. “Internet penetration in South Africa has, so far, lagged many other countries, due to the high cost of access; however as more and more South Africans gain access to the internet for the first time through smart phone technology, this will radically alter the face of e-commerce in South Africa. “We have seen a number of new online payment solutions being developed including EasyPay and Virtual Card Services as well as the introduction of PayPal in South Africa. As consumers begin to understand that such services are secure, we are likely to see a far higher take up in online payments in South Africa. “In addition, we have also seen the emergence of successful mobile payment solutions such as Fundamo, a South African company that was bought by Visa, enabling people to make payments via an innovative e-wallet solution. It is positive to note that South Africa is at the forefront of technical innovation and as this solution is made available to local banking institutions, it will further drive confidence in online and mobile transactions.” As a result of this convergence between online and mobile payments, local businesses will be able to reach a far wider pool of potential customers than ever before. “While this change broadens the customer base available, it is also essential that companies that do aim to operate online conceptualise a robust strategy. Engaging with customers online is very different to physical interaction and companies need to develop their strategy for this online channel. “Businesses wishing to maximize their online presence must ensure that their products and services are [...]
We all want to be complemented for our Online Shop. We put a lot of time, thought, effort, hopefully some creativity, or we may have even hired a costly agency to take care of the whole caboodle. But people don’t seem comfortable on the site and aren’t making purchases even though you have plenty of traffic per month. – Sound familiar? Well, researchers found that there are just 3 primary things which prevent product “browsers” from being product purchasers. These are: Insufficient Product Information. Too Small Product Image. Too many distractions. To get a complete overview of the top 21 point in online sales, keep reading below.