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Tag Archives: small business

How to Sell Online in SA …and be Successful

By: Jonathan D. Novotny | Founder of   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 Design: The usual design issues arise from the use of: Outdated, irrelevant structures – Ensure that you are using the latest version of one of the global most widely implemented platforms – These are currently OpenCart,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 [...]

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E-commerce boom in South Africa predicted for 2013

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 — [...]

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Imminent growth of South Africa’s e-commerce industry

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 [...]

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How to Create Killer Product Pages

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.

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For Small Biz: Your Website is Your Cash Register

There is some particularly great information and tips towards the end of this Infographic. For a comprehensive eCommerce solution for South African Small business check out

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