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.
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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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