Tag: online

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

Takealot has confirmed that it will open a new customer centre in Johannesburg.

This follows a report by TechCentral that the online retailer was considering opening a new facility on the N1 highway in Midrand, situated on the New Road bridge.

A distribution centre at this location would cater to customers in both Johannesburg and Pretoria, it stated.

Takealot has an existing customer centre in Cape Town for customer collections, but only a distribution centre in Johannesburg – where customers cannot pick up orders.

Takealot’s plans
Speaking in an interview with MyBroadband, Takealot CEO Kim Reid confirmed they will open a new customer centre in Johannesburg where buyers can pick up purchases.

He said that Takealot will announce more information about the customer centre in 2019.

“We are busy with that, and will be able to provide more details next year,” said Reid.

He added that customers can also expect to benefit from Superbalist’s Click + Collect locations in the near future.

“What people can expect next year, is that we have rolled out 23 Click + Collect points for Superbalist and we will make those live [for Takealot deliveries],” Reid said.

By Gabriella Steyn for IOL 

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) will soon launch a new online booking platform for South Africans to get their driver’s license.

First launched in the City of Tshwane, the system allows users to make an appointment to renew their driver’s license and also offers a delivery service that will deliver you a new card to you through MDS Collivery.

The RTMC said that waiting in long queues will soon be a thing of the past.

“The platform will ease the process of applying for vehicle driving licenses and combat corruption by minimising the manipulation of the process by unscrupulous officials,” said the RTMC in a statement.

The RTMC said that the current process requires applicants to queue for between 140-180 minutes at a testing station. “This process is also fraught with corruption as officials at the licensing centres have an incentive to withhold available bookings for lucrative payments from willing applicants,” said the RTMC.

They believe that this platform will promote efficient service delivery.

“When it is launched later this month, the solution will benefit the public by removing barriers to access, eliminating fraud and corruption, and optimising business operations.”

The system will first be available to people making their applications in Gauteng before it will gradually expand to other parts of the country.

Bookings for Gauteng can be done through The Online Company SA.

Online shopping grows in SA

By Joseph Booysen for Business Report

Although traditional retail stores dominate the South African market, consumers are choosing the online option for cheaper technical goods purchases.

According to the latest research report by GfK (Growth from Knowledge), South Africa, E-commerce 360:Navigating the Technical Goods E-Commerce Market in South Africa, e-commerce retailers grew their share of the South African technical consumer goods market by 52 percent last year, accounting for 6.9 percent of total consumer spending by rand value for the year.

This meant they had nearly doubled their share of the market since since 2015.

Cherelle Laubscher, a senior retail manager at GfK South Africa said e-commerce in South Africa was still in its infancy compared to European markets, where a quarter of technical goods spending goes through digital channels.

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

She said although traditional stores dominated the market, they were not growing the value of the sales they generated in technical goods as quickly as the digital players and e-commerce retailers were seeing strong growth in smartphones, panel televisions, small domestic appliances, gaming consoles and laptops.

According to the report, survey respondents cited better prices, attractive promotions and wide product selections as major reasons for shopping online rather than at at a traditional store, while by contrast, experiential factors such as getting to see and feel goods motivated shoppers to go to physical stores.

GfK South Africa’s point of sale data showed that the consumer perception that e-commerce prices were lower than in-store prices was accurate. More than two-thirds of the top 100 sellers among technical goods products in South Africa were cheaper through digital stores that at physical retailers.

Across the top 100 products, online prices were an average of 4.7 percent cheaper.

Odette Jardim, a client solutions manager at GfK South Africa, said 45 percent of connected consumers in the survey claimed to increasingly use the internet to buy products online compared to the previous year (2016).

“However, a consumer journey often straddles both physical and digital channels, meaning that the most successful retailers should have an omnichannel strategy,” said Jardim.
Meanwhile, Kevin Tucker, PriceCheck chief executive, said although South African consumers might be lagging in the amount of online shopping they did compared to the US, for instance, with increased innovation and tech security, South Africa would continue to see growth.

“South Africa has seen a boom in cutting-edge e-commerce innovation, and this needs to be celebrated,” he said.

Tucker said although the e-commerce industry had grown by 25 percent in South Africa, only 1.5 percent of online consumers ended up making a purchase.

“Online spending in South Africa is expected to reach R53 billion by the end of 2018, up from R37.1bn in 2017, according to research conducted by PayPal. There is clearly huge untapped potential in this industry,” said Tucker.

While some retailers managed to draw crowds and lines on Thanksgiving Day with Black Friday sales, other stores remained almost eerily empty as the holiday-shopping season kicked off.

However, that may not necessarily be bad news for companies banking on a profitable holiday season. On Thanksgiving Day, people spent $2.9 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics.

Here’s a look inside the shockingly empty stores this Black Friday.

Quite a few Targets seemed surprisingly empty, The Street’s Brian Sozzi noted.

“Hmmm not what I expected,” the reality-TV star Tamra Judge posted on Instagram after visiting a Target in California. “First time ever Black Friday shopping. I was so excited to fight the crowds.”

Part of the reason for empty stores could be chalked up to Black Friday sales kicking off on Thanksgiving Day.

As one commenter on Judge’s Instagram post put it: “That ’cause that crowd was there yesterday at 6pm!!! They are all sleeping now.”

However, many shoppers may simply be shopping online instead of visiting physical stores.

Target said on Friday that it had received more than three times the number of orders through its Order Pickup service than it did on Thanksgiving last year — which could explain the empty stores.

Some Best Buys seem to be facing a similar situation.

Though crowds lined up outside the retailer on Thanksgiving, Black Friday seems more tranquil — at least at some stores.

There were also empty Walmart locations, as well as some empty Big Lots.

Shoppers spent $2.9 billion online on Thanksgiving — a 18% increase over last year, according to Adobe Analytics.

Shoppers are expected to spend $107.4 billion online this holiday season, which would represent an increase of nearly 14% over last year, according to Adobe.

By Kate Taylor for The Independent

The Internet and mobile devices have reshaped the retail environment. With the rise in e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores have struggled to compete with the depth of the virtual world’s retail offering. This includes the ability to offer a larger variety of categories and products, one-click buy and pay convenience, and the ability to compare prices from multiple retailers, often through the use of price comparison engines.

For many consumer goods categories, e-commerce has all but killed off physical retail sales. However, rather than view this digital revolution as a death knell to their traditional business, retailers should be looking to leverage unique trends that are emerging in physical retail space thanks to technology. As a prime example, in many instances price comparison engines are enriching the physical shopping experience.

A 2016 study from Euclid Analytics looked at the shopping preferences and behaviours of 1,500 US smartphone users. According to the study, 83% of consumers used smartphones while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to help make purchase decisions.

The truth is, despite the hype and the boom in e-commerce, in-store shopping remains the consumer’s preferred form of retail interaction. This was shown recently by local social media ad tech company Popimedia following commissioned research that identified the trend in SA.

Released as the “Digital Influence in SA” study, local research findings were combined with other publicly available research, revealing that 91% of consumers visit a store to make a purchase at least once a week while only 49% of consumers shop online with the same frequency.

Additional research findings suggest that six in 10 Internet users start shopping on one device and continue or finish on a different one – 79% of these consumers use their smartphones for research, but only around 10% make purchases via the device.

What, then, are these consumers doing on their devices? According to the Euclid Analytics study, most consumers use their phones, both in the lead up to a purchase and in store, to compare prices or to look at current promotions. Other uses for mobile devices in the retail environment include taking pictures of products for later reference, checking shopping and to-do lists and reading online product reviews.

Statistics released by Google supports this, showing that 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence an in-store purchase decision. However, it’s Popimedia’s recent research that proves most compelling in this regard. For instance, the findings show that 85% of consumers compare prices online and 78% read online product reviews before going to a store to make a purchase.

Most importantly, a staggering 93% of respondents use mobile to research and make purchases mostly in store, while 47% of customers check the price of products online while in store before purchasing.

The easiest and most convenient way to compare prices at present is to use price comparison engines. These web-based resources have the capabilities to filter content from a variety of sources to deliver granular search results based on specific criteria, including price, brands, features and product reviews. While the benefit to e-commerce platforms is clear, and most already leverage the technology to drive click-throughs and sales, the benefit to the brick-and-mortar retail environment has been less clear – n until now, that is.

The fact is that prevailing shopping trends suggest consumers aren’t so clear-cut in terms of their preference for e-commerce over physical retail. Many consumers still enjoy the physical retail experience and environment when shopping for specific product categories, but may prefer the convenience of e-commerce for others.

What Popimedia found from its Digital Influence research was that consumers are increasingly blending their “online” and “offline” shopping experiences. It’s a trend we’re also seeing on Phonefinder.co.za. Many of our over 7,000 unique visitors each day use the price comparison engine to identify cellphone contract offers across the spectrum of providers, filtering results according to their phone preferences and contract offers to find the best price with the most data.

In this new “no-line” paradigm, price comparison engines will play an increasingly important role in the modern retail mix as they help to influence and drive in-store purchase behaviour.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

For SMEs considering including online retail within their omni-channel strategy, there is no time like the present.

As mobile penetration continues to grow, along with the customer’s need for accessibility and convenience, the pros to e-commerce are undeniable. But timing and preparation are integral to any SMEs success in online retail and a premature move into the space could have a considerably negative impact on a business’ bottom line.

“Seeing a brand grow online through social media follows and repeat purchases are just part of the success factors a business needs to measure,” says Matt Roux, CTO for Emerce Commerce. “The reality is that a business owner needs to see that each order is profitable and ideally, that online sales are at least 1% of retail store purchases.”

According to Roux, South Africa also presents trading nuances for which SMEs need to prepare. Costs for fulfilling orders to more remote towns can get very expensive, especially for large dimension products. Another local consideration is that payment gateway providers charge high per-transaction commissions for low volume online stores – a factor that could prove unsustainable for some SMEs.

SMEs therefore need to do a careful brand audit in order to determine if they are ready for the leap into online retail.

Roux provides a four-step checklist to help business owners make a considered decision:

  1. Cost implications: Businesses need to understand the cost implications – both once-off and monthly – for an online store. Courier costs and payment gateway charges are just two of these. Has the business set clear targets for monthly online sales that will assist the path to profitability via the online channel?
  2. Capacity considerations: Having an online store has significant resource implications for a business so SMEs need to check if they have the capacity within their internal team to cover roles and responsibilities including customer servicing; financial reconciliation; order fulfillment management; online merchandising; digital marketing; copy writing; and photography.
  3. Corporate identity: A clear and consistent corporate identity is key to a positive visual impact online. SMEs need to have sufficient lifestyle imagery to bring across the tone of the brand. In addition, between four and eight high resolution product photographs are required for each product. The associated costs here will be determined by how many products the business sells.
  4. Current IT: Does the business have any existing IT solutions that the online store can integrate such as accounting software and warehouse management software?
    Opening up new revenue streams and engaging new customers are just two among many benefits that a move into e-commerce can offer a business.

According to Microsoft, the average human currently has an attention span of eight seconds, 33,3% less compared to the 12 seconds in the year 2001. Smartphones and mobile devices contribute to this phenomenon, creating greater demand for easy and convenient online communication and services.

When a potential client stays on a page for longer than 30 seconds they are more likely to spend two minutes or more on the site. This also increases the chances of returning to the site at a later stage. The big question is, how does a leading online service retain a customer’s attention, create a relationship and maintain it?

“Customers want to have control of their decisions, participate in activities and quickly get the message that is being translated to them. In order for online services to retain consumer attention long enough, they need to provide them with a site that has clear messaging and easy navigation through the various sections, all underpinned by a compelling value proposition to the customer,” says Derek Wilson, head of Hippo.co.za.

Here are some of the tactics used by Web site analysts to retain consumer attention:

  • Visual information – people are likely to remember 10% of the information they read three days later, whereas 65% is remembered when it is paired with relevant images/visuals.
  • Web design and development – 40% of visitors will exit the site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Web sites also have to be mobile device friendly and have an easy to remember website address.
  • Filter applications – they allow the consumer to customise information and simplify the search process.
  • Interactivity – Web sites that have interactive features (for example audio, video, or scroll events) can keep site visitors entertained and lingering for longer.
  • Create an excellent online customer service experience. According to research, 47% of customers could take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing bad service.

Building a loved brand goes a long way to improve customers’ propensity to use the service frequently.

The changing face of retail

The local online shopping pool has increased drastically in size since 2014, with savvy South African consumers taking advantage of this quick, easy way to scratch their retail itch. E-commerce in South Africa is to reach a milestone this year, by reaching 1% of overall retail, according to research by Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx.

This amounts to consumers spending over R9-billion online. But by the same token, the average busy consumer doesn’t want to waste time on a site that doesn’t provide enough information or, worse, under-delivers.

The challenging economic climate in South Africa due to a weaker rand, increasing costs of energy and higher interest rates, has added pressure to consumers. Because of this 3,2=million South Africans are shopping online, and are driven by lower product costs, faster and flexible delivery and safer ways to pay.

“Millennials are the main online shopper, and most of them do research before making a purchase,” explains Michael Richards, MD of SiteMeUp Online Marketing.

“This means that well written content with thoughtful planning into user navigation is required to improve the user’s experience.”

A well-designed site also needs to carry across the companies brand message quickly in order to give the user peace of mind that they are on the correct site and they will find what they are looking for.

“Our research has shown that 50% of beauty shoppers don’t know which brand they want to purchase, so we have channels of communication set up to answer any queries, and help them make an informed choice,” says Dr Nikolic, executive director of SkinMiles.com, a new online store selling high-quality skincare products at competitive prices.

Goldstuck states that South African ecommerce is relatively conventional, and has not seen the level of innovation brought to bear on most product categories in major Western markets. This indicates that there is tremendous potential in this market for new business models and even underexposed product categories.

With this in mind South African ecommerce entrepreneurs’ can tap into the over 3 million online shoppers in South Africa with their innovative and stress-free Web sites.

One of the most important global trends in e-commerce is the focus on the customers’ journey and ensuring that their needs are met from start to finish.

“We want our customers to feel as if they have been given the same personalised service as if they’d been for a consult and received the advice from an expert in the skincare field,” says Dr Nikolic.

“The personal touch is very important to us and we feel that we meet that need for individual attention with the Face2Face skin assessment and the personal contact with me. I check each assessment and examine every photo sent to me before providing a tailor-made skin regime.”

Another concern of the online shopper is having peace of mind that their personal details will not be used fraudulently. A recognised and secure payment gateway is essential. Many Web sites are Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypted and use a strong protocol version and cipher suite.

Credit card payments are processed on a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)-compliant gateway with 3D secure transactions, where users require a One Time Pin (OTP) to complete the transaction.

With so many shoppers and so much to offer, what are some of the emerging trends that e-commerce specialists noticed in international markets and how can they be adopted in the South African market? Digital Planet takes a look at these international trends and how they benefit both the retailer and consumer.

Mobile
Smartphones provide the ultimate gateway for internet users across the world. They provide consumers with market transparency and the possibility of anywhere, anytime interaction. In China, it’s estimated that 88.9% of internet users chose to connect through their mobile phones. A recent study, conducted by the German Scientific Institute
of Market Research (GfK), found that 26% of German shoppers compare prices using their mobile devices when visiting a store.

When it comes to South Africa, mobile has also had a significant impact within the market. “Mobile penetration within South Africa is huge and smartphones are quickly gaining market share over feature phones,” says Neil Watson, CEO at Digital Planet. “Mobile purchasing isn’t big just yet, but consumers are increasingly making use of it. Just take a look at one of our partners, HP Shop, with their total mobile visitor growth of 65%.

Digital currency
Digital currency, particularly Bitcoin, is emerging at quite a rapid pace within the online retail space. However, due to some scandals and security risks, many businesses are still wary of digital currencies. Despite this, there are many different forms of online monetary transactions coming to the fore, such as desktop wallets, mobile wallets and web wallets. South Africans, have in fact, become far more familiar with the concept of mobile wallets in recent years.

Interestingly, Africa and South Africa are more advanced in mobile payment systems than the US. This is thanks to payment methods such as QR codes or tap to pay, with 55% of South Africans saying they would be willing to use digital currency, according to the 2015 consumer study conducted by PwC. “Credit card penetration within South Africa is relatively low,” says Watson. “Digital currency could therefore bridge the gap between those who have a credit card and access to the internet versus those who have internet, but no credit card.”

Same-day delivery
Let’s be honest, not everyone has the time to sit around and wait for their parcel to be delivered. Standard delivery will suit most consumers, with some willing to wait for a longer period of time, in order to get free delivery. That being said, there are many consumers who wish to have their parcel delivered on the same day. When it comes to delivery, a fixed date is the most popular choice, closely followed by next day delivery. PwC’s consumer study also found that 79% of South Africans are willing to pay for same-day delivery, which is why it’s important for retailers to have the logistical infrastructure in place to satisfy customers’ needs.

Click and collect
The concept of click and collect is very simple. The consumer will buy something online and collect it in their own time, often just a few hours later, rather than wait for it to be delivered three or four days later. It’s ideal for those consumers who are headed to a particular store but want to save time. One of the biggest attractions about click and collect is the certainty that your item will actually be there, waiting for you. “This particular trend is very popular within the UK marketplace and it’s something which has the potential to become just as popular in South Africa,” says Watson.

The year ahead
Online shopping in South Africa as a standalone, is still relatively small. When it comes to the world of online retail, South Africa is still seen as being in e-commerce infancy but is growing at quite a rapid pace. Watson says that the ability for rapid growth is what makes South Africa’s market so exciting.

Watson’s advice is that because South Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world in online retail, we have the advantage of having other markets far ahead of our own going through trends before we do.. “It’s like the world is our testing ground,” he adds. “So the methods that have been successful across the globe are the ones that South Africa’s retailers should try first. It means a much higher chance of success”

Can you shop online safely?

In our modern society, shopping and the Internet go together like bacon and eggs. After all, why leave home when you could be eating said food items and shopping simultaneously? To this end, shopping online is one of the most convenient things that modern technology has brought to us.

What makes online shopping so attractive is that it is convenient and it is instant. But is it secure? Yes and no. Remember, online security is only as good as the amount of effort expended and the systems put in place by the merchant to ensure you enjoy a secure experience.

“In recent years, shopping online has become much more convenient via mobile payment solutions,” states Gregory Anderson, country manager at Trend Micro South Africa. “However it’s important to note that when you are dashing through multiple sites on the Web from the comfort of your armchair, your accounts and financial transactions could be compromised by countless prying eyes. Due to the nature of e-commerce and the thousands of options for online shops, it can sometimes be hard to tell if you’re dealing with a legitimate merchant or a bogus one.”

According to Anderson, shopping online bears the same perils as shopping in store. You as an individual can’t rely on the merchant to shoulder all the risk; you need to become just as savvy as you would be if you were shopping in modern-day Hillbrow. What’s more, while we are all keen to secure our credit card information, online shopping doesn’t just pose a threat to your credit details but to your general privacy too.

Now that data breaches and incidents of hacking and identity theft are becoming more common, online shoppers should protect themselves against likely attacks that could threaten their privacy. There are a number of different methods that can be used to invade a user’s privacy and, sooner or later, an unaware user is bound to run into threats such as phishing, online scams, spam, Internet fraud and malicious URLs.
Here are a few general tips on how to secure and maintain your privacy and security when shopping online:

• Double-check URLs – if you hadn’t already bookmarked your favorite shopping site’s payment page and still rely on typing in names, always double check the URL. Cybercriminals can easily replace payment pages and apps with fake ones. One way to tell if a site is secure is by checking the security lock indicator (HTTPS instead of HTTP). HTTPS is more secure.

• Use an official online shopping app – if you’re an avid mobile shopper, make sure to use the official online shopping app and avoid third-party apps for secure transactions.

• Always use strong and secure passwords – attackers can easily hack online accounts, including banking and social media accounts. Since these accounts contain sensitive and personal details, it’s important that you use unique hard-to-crack passwords across all devices and change them regularly.

• Use a secure network – if you’re using a mobile device to pay, make sure that you are using the official payment app, and that you’re accessing a secure and private network.

• Think before you click – being scammed online could translate to an eventual invasion of your privacy. Before you click on unverified posts, messages or ads, think twice and stay away from suspicious-looking offers. They’re most likely used as bait to lead you to phishing sites. Check with official sites rather than relying on social media posts.

“Shopping online can be safe. But just be alert and be aware. Web threats are no longer limited to malware and scams. Attackers know that the more you perform any online activities, the more you increase the risk of revealing information about yourself – especially when you’re looking to make a purchase. Searching for items alone could lead you from one Web site to another, which increases the chance of stumbling upon a malicious one.

“So set yourself a small regime of ensuring the above each time you enter a new site. If you can do that, you will almost be assured of shopping securely and with the peace of mind you crave,” Anderson concludes.

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