In 2022, ecommerce trends will be shaped by an emphasis on seamless transactions.
Last year, PayFast, an online payment gateway, experienced a 30 percent rise in the number of unique consumers on Black Friday, indicating a substantial shift in customer behavior toward convenience, flexibility, and personalization.
The payments sector will benefit from speedier checkouts, more simplified transactions, and improved access to the digital economy by lowering purchase barriers.
"There is still a sizable group of South African customers who may be persuaded to use digital payments."
One way that the ecommerce business is drawing new audiences is by improving the customer experience through the introduction of various payment options and greater banking integration.
"For online businesses, this provides new ways to earn sales - as long as they remain on top of evolving technology," explains Colleen Harrison, PayFast's Head of Marketing.
While the industry is swiftly developing a slew of new technology to accommodate these shifts, Harrison sees five important themes leading the way:
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) – The buy now, pay later (BNPL) model allows customers to make large-ticket purchases right away while extending their payments out over time — with no interest.
BNPL will become more accessible and inclusive as a short-term loan option in the future with stronger integration with consumer bank accounts and digital wallets.
Direct consumer connections – Businesses were able to create and cultivate true, one-on-one relationships with their customers when a growth in direct-to-consumer commerce was put on hold.
Businesses will use social media platforms and micro-targeted advertising to strengthen these brand-to-consumer ties in the future.
This next-generation banking idea is currently in development in South Africa and is projected to be operational in 2022. It seeks to provide individuals the capacity to make quick digital payments across banks using basic identifiers like cellphone numbers or email addresses.
The program aims to make digital payments more accessible to the unbanked and underbanked, who have traditionally depended on cash as their primary payment method.
Contactless payments and digital wallets - PayFast experienced a 178 percent growth in QR code payments last year, accounting for 3.5 percent of all transactions, a considerable increase over prior years.
More platforms, in addition to the South African Rand, are anticipated to create a direct link between customers' digital wallets and their bank accounts in the future, as well as support alternative stores of value.
These advancements will make peer-to-peer payments and digital transactions much easier.
New value shops
While money will continue to be the principal store of value, the advent of more unusual and diversified choices is altering how individuals deal online.
Loyalty awards, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cryptocurrencies, in addition to dollars and euros, are becoming increasingly popular mediums of trade.
Although unlikely to become entirely popular in the near future, the growing trend of alternative value stores will be intriguing to follow in the coming years.
Network International, an internationally known provider of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa, purchased DPO Group, of which PayFast is a part, in 2021.
PayFast, South Africa's largest online payment gateway, allows companies to prosper in the digital economy by enabling seamless, safe, and rapid transactions.
Vernon Pillay contributed to this article.