Online shopping in South Africa is cheaper than the store

Ecommerce retailers have seen impressive growth in South Africa, growing their share of the local tech consumer goods market by 52% in 2017.

According to a study by GfK South Africa, online stores have almost doubled their share of the market since 2015, and accounted for 6.9% of total consumer spending by rand value for 2017.

Consumers who responded to GfK via a survey said they prefer shopping online to physical retailers, due to better prices and wide product selections.

Respondents also believe that the prices of tech products in online stores are generally cheaper than their retail counterparts, and – according to the data collected by GfK – they are correct.

“Across the top 100 products, online prices are an average of 4.7% cheaper,” said GfK.

“Ecommerce in South Africa is still in its infancy compared to European markets, where a quarter of technical goods spending goes through digital channels,” said GfK South Africa senior retail manager Cherelle Laubsher.

“However, growth in South Africa is strong and shows no signs of declining as bargain-seekers flock online to buy technical consumer goods like smartphones, IT, consumer electronics, and major home appliances,” she said.

Source: mybroadband.co.za

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eMarketplaces Huge Opertunity For Smaller Retailers

by MarkLives (@marklives) What roles do brands play in today’s world of ecommerce? How does this impact on how consumers choose products? We emailed a panel of key industry executives for their take on South Africa’s ecommerce market. Next up is Ryan Bacher of NetFlorist.

NetFlorist logoRyan Bacher (@ryanbacher) is managing director and co-founder of NetFlorist, which launched in 1999. It leverages global sourcing to enable customers to send bouquets, arrangements, gifts, perfumes and a wide range of quality jewellery and watches to loved ones, friends and associates, both locally and around the world.

MarkLives: How is ecommerce impacting on how consumers choose products?
Ryan Bacher: Ecommerce has created a platform that provides ease of access to consumers, allowing them to search for what they are looking for directly, anywhere and anytime. With so many e-tailers to choose from, the consumer has access to a virtual shopping mall online, conveniently from the comfort of their own home or office. Ecommerce is helping consumers to compare information on the desired product. Instead of the inconvenience of driving or walking from store to store, they now have unlimited information on the product, from price and product descriptions to reviews from another consumer. Consumers are therefore less likely to buy impulsively because of the direct search that they’re able to access. The good news for e-tailers, though, is that consumers are more likely to spend a bit more to have that convenience factor, and there is always the option of showing recommended products that match the product already up for purchase. Even if a retailer doesn’t have an escommerce platform, it’s important for brick and mortar stores to have a website to showcase their products so that consumers can see what is available to them, should they visit the store.

For a brand like NetFlorist, it makes sense to buy online because customers are not only paying for a product; they are paying for the convenience and the emotion behind the gift ie getting the gift delivered with the surprise factor, in a decorated van by a smiling delivery [person] without having to go in-store to achieve this. We are also able to deliver nationwide, so consumers can conveniently place an order from one city to be delivered to another city.

MarkLives: What should brand managers know about online retail through online marketplaces (such as Amazon.com and similar local operations)?
RB: Online marketplaces have been a huge enabler for smaller retailers to sell their products online. Amazon leads in this space, but Takealot (South Africa) havs such an offering and, as far as we know, it is working well for most of the retailers who are on it. [This] also allows the marketplace (Amazon, Takealot etc) to offer a wider range of product without initially holding stock. NetFlorist has decided to make and deliver all our own product, so we don’t play in the marketplace space, nor do we invite retailers to list their products on out site. We are of the view that, as gifting is such an emotional experience that requires on time and accurate delivery, we must be in control of the full process ourselves. There are some gifting sites overseas and locally that offer a marketplace but it’s not our strategy to do so.

MarkLives: How may a brand optimise its presence in these online retail spaces to make it easy for consumers to find and access their products?
Ryan Bacher: The most-basic requirement is to have an official desktop site that works alongside a mobile site or application. For NetFlorist, SEO (search engine optimisation) is a massive factor in optimising our online presence. By making use of Adwords and GDN (Google Display Network) banners, we have increased traffic to our site, as well as our online visibility.

Mobile has made online buying quicker and more convenient. The more devices you have, the easier it is to access stores, which translates to more purchases. This will again allow customers the opportunity to compare prices and reviews. You can instantly research a product from the palm of your hand and find it at a store nearest to you at that moment, bringing in another factor of convenience.

Consumers are now also able to shop via social media. Facebook now offers a marketplace option and, according to a study done in January 2018 by Statista, 95.1% of Facebook users are predominantly browsing on mobile whereas 31.8% of users are using desktop. This means people have even more platforms to shop from. For offline buying, mobile will make it easy to compare prices. This could lead to a consumer researching in-store, finding the same product for cheaper elsewhere, and therefore leaving the store or getting the better deal.

Source: by MarkLives

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How online eCommerce technology is driving the retail market

Over the last decade, the retail industry has seen a shift in how it operates. The exponential increase in online shopping has had a significant impact on how we buy our products.

How technology is driving the millennial retail market

The evolution of e-commerce culture has particularly affected one demographic: the millennial. This collective term we hear about in today’s media and society is set to make up 75% of the working population by 2025. This represents a massive share of the retail market.

At the heart of the millennial’s modus operandi is consumption of technology. This new generation of e-shoppers has incredible spending power that retailers need to recognise if they want to succeed. In fact, according to Forbes, millennials spend $600 billion annually. This accounts for 28% of all daily consumer spending, and this will rise to 35% by 2030.

Service demand among millennials

In order to target millennials successfully, retailers have to go down the omnichannel route. This is important as it will support marketing strategies across all channels – including online and offline. Omnichannel is vital in capturing the millennial sale, as it can deliver personalised content to customers at the right place and at the right time. This can also be used to analyse key metrics such as store visit frequency, repeat visitors, customer retention and cross-store visits.

Linked to omnichannel is the growing popularity of click-and-collect. The typical millennial mindset is one of instant gratification – an ‘I must have it now’ mindset. Step forward click-and-collect. This service enables stores to deliver better customer service by allowing consumers to place their order online and then collect in-store, a local shop or lockers. In the case of in-store pick-up, a notification can be sent to the enterprise’s picking systems when a click-and-collect consumer comes within a certain radius. This notification prompts staff to get the order ready. This is seamless retail in 2018.

Embracing a more connected South African retail environment

Increasing numbers of e-commerce sales are accompanied with the offer of free returns to avoid unsure customers leaving with incomplete sales. Returns processing inevitably comes at a cost for retailers, impacting margins, so this element of omnichannel also rolls into that of click-and-collect in which one best practice methodology is to encourage customers to try out their goods on the spot, minimizing the risk of damage or loss and bringing forward any returns, thus minimizing the time stock is out of the inventory cycle.

Some progressive retailers’ stores are increasingly being treated as extra warehouses, creating a single view of stock across the business wherever it sits, and often enabling shipping and receiving returns directly to the local outlet. Retailers need to ensure mobile payments are at the forefront of their offering to engage with this specific audience.

Driving sales with technology

Identifying the services that millennials desire is an easy enough task, but what technology is needed to deliver these? Managing the operation behind the shop front is a vital factor in retail strategy.

Central to the conversation here is the Internet of Things (IoT). And while much of the conversation surrounding IoT may seem like hyperbole, connected devices are not only the future, they are the now. Indeed, research by Zebra Technologies found nearly 96% of retail decision makers are ready to make changes required to adopt IoT.

The Zebra study revealed retailers are investing in IoT technologies – from beacons that send shoppers customized coupons to radio frequency identification (RIFD) tags that track inventory – to simplify, enliven and customise the shopping experience, generate revenue, and reduce costs. They’re embracing IoT platforms to transform real-time, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights.

IoT has the power to transform how we shop. In today’s omnichannel world, product availability is critical, and many retailers have in-store inventory visibility challenges. Technological advancements in areas such as machine vision, RFID and data analytics – underpinned by IoT – are enabling more advanced business visibility by allowing retail inventory to be “seen” and connected by both staff and customers alike.

Bulk of retailers brace to transform customer experience through IoT

By 2021, smart technologies will provide shoppers with new levels of personalisation, speed and convenience...

Source: By: Mark Thomson read more

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The World's Best Investment Deal eCommerce Web Properties

Naspers is one of the world's 100 largest stocks – with a market value of $110 billion.

It owns dozens of high-tech businesses in media and e-commerce. One of those businesses is a Chinese tech giant called Tencent (TCEHY).
Naspers currently owns $154 billion worth of Tencent shares.

Retail behemoth Walmart (WMT) recently reached out to Naspers. It was interested in Naspers' stake in a tech company called Flipkart, which is like the Amazon of India.

Just two weeks ago, Walmart announced a big deal... Naspers ended up selling its stake in Flipkart to Walmart – for a $1.6 billion profit. (Yes, a $1.6 billion profit, not a $1.6 billion sales price.)

This is just one example of the value of Naspers' other businesses. Naspers is also a world leader in online classifieds (businesses like Craigslist). And it's quickly becoming a leader in food delivery with iFood, a mobile delivery platform in Latin America.

This is barely scratching the surface of what Naspers does.

Naspers' other businesses are mostly private companies, so it's not easy to value them. But if you value them around $20 billion total (which is roughly what analysts say they're worth), and add that to Naspers' $154 billion stake in Tencent, then you have a business that's worth $174 billion today – but that's selling for $110 billion in the stock market.

So Naspers is selling for a $64 billion discount today.

Naspers is actually a South African company, so its shares primarily trade in South Africa.

Source: By Steve Sjuggerud

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Secure online payment is key to South Africa’s eCommerce growth

Research indicates that online commerce is set to grow in South Africa, the speed and extent of that growth will be dependent on several factors, with payment as one of the most crucial.

Getting online payments right will play a role both in encouraging existing online shoppers to buy more, and to tempt offline shoppers online.

A key characteristic of online commerce in South Africa—and in Africa more generally—is the centrality of mobile commerce.

Research by the online fashion retailer, Spree, in 2017 indicated that the number of respondents preferring to use a mobile phone to shop had increased by 167 percent over the 2015 figure. Apps will thus power online shopping going forward, making the penetration of smartphones a critical consideration for online retailers.
Winning online payment solutions will therefore have to include mobile.

As regards payment, research from Effective Measure shows that there is overwhelming preference for either credit cards (45 percent) or debit cards (21 percent), with bank transfer the next-biggest category (20 percent).

The Effective Measure survey confirms the important of payment to online commerce. It finds that the biggest barriers to shopping online include a trusted payment solution and a better experience on the website. For online shoppers a trusted payment method was identified as a desirable improvement by 14 percent of respondents. For offline shoppers, a lack of trust in online payments was the top deterrent to shopping online (20 percent).

All indications are that South Africa’s e-commerce market is set for strong growth. But the big winners will be those online retailers who create payment solutions that inspire confidence but that also enhance the customer experience.

By Moath Ismail, VP Digital Banking for CISMEA, Gemalto


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Online shopping is on the rise in South Africa, says PayPal

Online payment gateway company PayPal says there is a growing demand by South Africans to use digital wallets as a payment method.

The company, which is targeting SA's unbanked population, supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like cheques and money orders.
Click here

A digital wallet refers to an electronic device that allows an individual to make electronic transactions. This can include purchasing items online with a computer or using a smartphone to purchase something at a store. An individual's bank account can also be linked to the digital wallet.

As of 2016, PayPal has 600 000 users in sub-Saharan Africa.

PayPal recently released data about mobile phone usage and mobile e-commerce in SA. According to the company, online shopping is on the rise in SA.

The survey was run by Johannesburg-based research company Answered Insight. The research followed a quantitative approach where data was collected via a smart device (smartphone, tablet), PC or laptop form of an online survey.

"Our survey has shown that South Africans want to shop online via their mobile devices," says Efi Dahan, GM of PayPal for Russia, Middle East and Africa. "We found that many are already using their phone as a digital wallet, going so far as to leaving their wallets behind to do all their transactions with their phone."

It emerged that 85% of the respondents have used their mobile phones to make a purchase in the past year, and 46% said being able to shop on their mobile phones has made them buy more.

According to PayPal, 52% have said in the past month, they have left the house without their wallet at least once, preferring to do their payments with their mobile device.

The majority of South Africans would rather leave home without their wallets than leave home without their mobile devices (47% vs 53%).

Three of the top seven most used mobile apps were related to e-commerce.

"E-commerce has the potential to connect consumers to the digital global economy," says Dahan. "The data showcases a huge opportunity for South African businesses to reap rewards and grow their businesses if they embrace mobile e-commerce and provide the convenience consumers all over the world crave."

PayPal also asked respondents to rank a variety of stressful scenarios that would cause them the most anxiety. The survey results found 60% ranked losing their phone or having it stolen as a scenario that would cause them the most anxiety and worry.

This scenario tied with a home invasion for the highest response, and more South Africans are worried about having their phone stolen than getting fired from their job.

South Africans are beginning to see the benefits of online shopping, which gives them access to a large variety of goods, Dahan says.

He attributes this to an increase in mobile device penetration in SA. Mobile devices are allowing almost anyone to access the Internet.

There is also popularity with using PayPal's technologies like "One Touch", which allows users to complete purchases faster, he notes. When a user logs into PayPal, with their mobile phone or from a desktop, tablet or laptop, they can choose to stay logged in for easier, faster check-out across all eligible merchants.

He adds local retailers have upped the game regarding deploying technologies that enable online shopping.

Although many South Africans are still using feature phones, Dahan says more and more cheaper smartphones are being shipped into the country.

According to Dahan, the South African market is growing much faster than PayPal expected, thanks to mobile devices.

Source: itweb.co.za

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New e-Commerce Business Opportunities

e-Commerce has changed the way the world conducts business, and the rise in technology has made it easier to interact with customers quickly and across borders. With economies becoming more interconnected, companies large and small are now able to access markets that were previously unattainable.

With a growing shift in retail industry trends, driven by technology and access to the Internet, consumers are now accessing most stores and brands through online platforms. This shift provides entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to expand with new opportunities to sell their products or services to a much bigger international market.

According to the PayPal and Ipsos third annual cross-border commerce report, South Africa’s online spend is forecasted to grow to over R53bn by 2018. In 2016, 43% of adults in South Africa shopped cross-border. The US is the most popular cross-border online shopping destination for South African online shoppers, followed by China and the UK.

“It is essential that e-commerce business owners address the entire value chain of the online shopping process to make sure that they cater to their customers’ needs and deliver on their expectations,” says Mike Higley, Vice President Operations, FedEx Express Southern Africa”.

“Businesses that manage to combine innovative products and services with a seamless online experience and quality customer care, will be the ones who attract and retain their online customers,” Higley adds.

Customer service, customer experience and price are the three main ways for e-commerce retailers to distinguish themselves from the competition. In “Seizing the Cross-Border Opportunity ,” a study commissioned on behalf of FedEx, Forrester Consulting surveyed online merchants and thousands of online consumers across 17 countries and markets to understand their concerns, their priorities, and what smart SMEs are doing to bridge that gap and remain competitive.

Below are some of the key research findings highlighting best practices for cross-border businesses in the digital age.

1. Understand your customer

2. Highlight what makes your products special

3. Put global consumers at ease

4. Build your brand on excellent service

Source: Fundisiwe Maseko It News Africa

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Google Africa mentorship programmes for tech entrepreneurs

The Google Developers Launchpad Africa Space was opened on 13 November in Lagos, Nigeria. It will interact directly with tech entrepreneurs in that country, as well as offer support and software tools to help build sustainable tech business ideas from the rest of Africa.

The Lagos operation is the first of its kind to be established outside the United States. The programme is accepting applications for its first onsite and online courses, beginning in early 2018.

Applications are open to tech start-ups with their own seed funding from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Those chosen to participate in the three-month programme will receive more than $3-million (R42m at today’s exchange rate) in equity-free support, working space, travel and public relations support, as well as access to Silicon Valley tech business experts over three years.

Google’s sub-Saharan Africa regional manager, Andy Volk, said Google had been looking for ways to get more involved in African tech businesses for a number of years.

“Anyone who spends time in the African technology space knows that the continent is home to some exciting innovations,” Volk told IOL News. “[Google’s small-scale engagement with African start-ups so far] has been able to tackle everything from healthcare, education and streamlining e-commerce to improving the food supply chain.”

It was now time, he said, to step that up and open opportunities to more African ideas: “We are looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of innovators for Launchpad Africa and continuing to work together to drive innovation in the African market.”

One example of the Google effect on African tech innovation is the South African start-up Jumo, a financial services platform aimed at emerging markets. The company was the first and so far most successful start-up to go through the Launchpad accelerator.

Company founders and some staff attended an intensive two-week boot camp at Google headquarters in California in July 2017. The two weeks were aimed at building the business and developing tools that would increase its footprint in offering easy-to-use financial services on mobile platforms.

The company received a $50,000 funding boost, and benefits from ongoing support and mentorship.

For more information about the Google Developers Launchpad Africa Space, click here https://youtu.be/xoZsNN9UGlQ

Opening Google Play to South African designers

Google’s online app store, Play, this month opened to South African app developers and designers, no matter how small or inexperienced.

In addition to gaining a virtual marketplace for their apps, designers are able to access Play’s development and commerce tools that will help them to monetise their products and access a market of millions of global users.

Apps for Play are limited to Android operating systems, but unlike competitors Apple, Google Play accepts all types of apps, with the aim of helping to develop and streamline app design for the benefit of the consumer and designer. This means that even the most novice and rudimentary app idea has access to and can get help from the global Google brain trust.

Developers in South Africa can get started right away by signing in to Google’s Developer Console and setting up a Google merchant account. If existing apps are already published as free, designers can choose to monetise them by adding in-app products or subscriptions.

Armed with fully developed apps and in-app products, developers can price them in any available currencies, publish, access financial and marketing data, and get pay-outs in South African rand.

“There have been plenty of amazing apps built in South Africa,” Luke McKend, director of Google South Africa, told IOL News at the announcement of the programme, “[but] the process of monetising them was never as smooth as we knew it could be.

“By allowing local developers to monetise their products on the Play Store, we’re underscoring how serious we are about digitally empowering South Africans.”

While the programme is currently limited to South African app development, success in this first stage of the project may lead to expansion into the rest of the continent over the next few years.

For more information about accessing Google Play and the Google Developer Console, click here https://youtu.be/GdZxbmEHW7M

Source: Brand South Africa, Google Africa

 

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South Africans are going global for Black Friday deals

South Africans shop for global Black Friday deals in the US, UK, China, Australia and Europe by subscribing to international shipping services.

This is according to Mark Mahoney manager of eCommerce services for delivery company Aramex Global Shopper, who said that South African consumers have become increasingly more comfortable shopping online from retailers all over the globe.

“Black Friday traditionally kicks off the global retail festive season – we saw a 31% increase in shipments over the festive season in 2016 and anticipate a similar spike this year.

“Additionally year on year growth in global shopping shipments grew by 96%”, he said.

Where South Africans are buying?

Unsurprisingly Amazon remains the “go to” site for many South Africans, said Mahoney.

However he said that site-choice was heavily dependent on whether shoppers were looking to make general Black Friday purchases or had a specific “niche” product in mind.

According to Mahoney, some of the favourites besides Amazon include:

    Sephora
    Alibaba.com
    Asos
    Zara Online
    ThinkGeek.com
    Google Home
    AmazonEcho
    Fisher-Price.com
    Lego Online;
    Powerhousefitness.co.uk

What they are buying

Fashion and beauty remains a big focus for South African female shoppers, said Mahoney, while sports equipment, gadgets ,and technology remain strong favourites alongside toys as Christmas gifts.

“While local retailers offer great savings over Black Friday weekend, retailers across the globe frequently cut prices to a mere fraction of their original price,” he said.

“South Africans can look offshore for unprecedented savings and can then use a well-priced shipping company like ourselves to affordably bring their finds home.

“Global shopping also allows South Africans to purchase ‘first to market’ tech and next season’s fashions for sales prices, making up for costly customs duties and ensuring that they stay abreast with trends before they arrive in South African stores months later.”

Source: Businesstech.co.za

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The Art of Digital selling

We frequently say that we live in the digital age, where data streams at speedier rates, is more intricate and is more open. As much as this data can be broke down by organizations to settle on better educated choices, the genuine inquiry is, is there space to adjust the business scene?

South Africa has about 52% users that utilise the web, with 70% mobile penetration. With more than half the population being enabled to use either the internet or a cell phone, businesses need to ask themselves whether digital retail strategies are the next evolution of selling. A simple, yet startling fact by GSMA is that in 2015, mobile technologies and services were already generating 6.7% of Africa’s GDP, amounting to $150bn of economic value and supporting 3.8m jobs.

As more consumer groups become digitally savvy, businesses need to shift both their approach and “shops” from being traditional to being digital. In the latest e-commerce report, South Africans frequently return to their online store, purchasing media, books or travel products – they are primarily based in metropolitan areas, visit social media sites (or check emails) while shopping and are quite at ease with technology.

These type of insights and analytics in the digital space are growing significantly to assist businesses target consumers via social media – an example of the extent to which targeting has reached are banner ads on Google or Facebook – these are usually very targeted based on individual user patterns. Around 37% of businesses are currently using social media or viral marketing as their primary marketing driver, however this number needs to grow over the next few years.

Source: Dr Yudhvir Seetharam, Head of Analytics at FNB by www.sagoodnews.co.za

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