May 2018

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 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


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


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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