Tag: online shopping

Massmart in talks to acquire OneCart

Source: IOL

Massmart has announced that it is in negotiations to acquire a controlling stake in OneCart. The company said the negotiations were at an advanced stage. It said the acquisition was in line with its strategic intent to accelerate growth in e-commerce.

The group hopes to conclude discussions in the coming weeks.

OneCart is a South African grocery delivery service that was founded in 2016.

Massmart Group chief executive officer, Mitch Slape said: “The proposed acquisition is consistent with Massmart’s strategy to invest in and accelerate eCommerce growth, particularly in the fast-growing on-demand delivery segment. A key objective going forward would be to invest in aggressively growing and fully supporting OneCart’s existing independent retailer marketplace model that enables consumers to order from multiple retailers via a single platform.”

In March, Massmart outlined the group’s immediate eCommerce priorities including to:

• Establish a unified group-wide eCommerce capability under the leadership of Sylvester John who has been seconded by Walmart to fulfil the role of Massmart Group eCommerce vice-president.

• Revamp the makro.co.za, game.co.za and builders.co.za online user interfaces, including key functionalities like search, to provide a more seamless and intuitive customer experience.

• Develop new transactional and value-adding mobile-first digital solutions that cater to different customer occasions, journeys, and segments, including participation as anchor retail tenant on the Vodapay Super App.

• Strengthen and expand order fulfilment capabilities such as on-demand and same-day order fulfilment, “ship to home” capability from Distribution Centres to supplement store fulfilment capacity, and improving the click-and-collect customer experience in stores.

Group vice-president for eCommerce Sylvester John said: “It’s clear that we have the brand recognition, geographical presence, merchandise assortment, procurement scale, and primary logistics capability to be an even more successful eCommerce player.

“In addition to better leveraging these assets, our immediate opportunity is to improve and expand our digital sales platforms and last-mile delivery capability. The successful acquisition of OneCart will go a long way toward achieving this.”

The company said that in 2020, online sales across Massmart increased by 58.6%, the number of unique eCommerce customers grew by 73% and click-and-collect orders increased by 69.5%. eCommerce contributed 1.8% of total sales, representing a significant increase over the previous year.

OneCart has achieved year-on-year growth of 400% since its inception.

Slape said: “Successful closure of the proposed OneCart transaction will contribute immeasurably to our centralised eCommerce capability that has specifically been established to concentrate scarce expertise, including Walmartpracticence, in a way that will accelerate the adoption of eCommerce best practise at Massmart.”

 

By Jonathan Smit for IOL

With the increased threat of Covid-19, South Africans are being encouraged to stay home and shop online. Over the past year, local retailers have improved the safety and convenience of their e-commerce platforms, allowing customers to avoid exposure via queues and physical contact. Online stores and shopping apps are experiencing record order volumes as a result of the third wave of Covid-19.

To avoid digital payment fraud and scams, here is the list of safety precautions to follow when making purchases through your smartphone or desktop.

Before making any online purchase, your first priority is to verify the legitimacy of the merchant you’re buying from. Doing the research beforehand can save you the trouble of trying to get your money back after you’ve paid, which is considerably more difficult.

Only make purchases through secure websites: Ensure that you are on a secure domain before entering any confidential information such as your payment details. Look out for the ‘S’ in HTTPS at the start of the website’s URL, which is found in the address bar at the top of your browser. Depending on what browser you use, you will see a padlock in the left-hand side in the address bar

Read the returns and refund policy: The merchant is responsible for dealing with your order. If an issue occurs with your order, such as if you decide to cancel your order or it never arrives, you should know what your rights are and how you can expect the merchant to assist.

Read customer reviews: Take a look at comments on the merchant’s social media pages and read customer reviews on Google to ensure that the company has a good history of delivering products as promised. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Check out using secure payment options: Look up reviews on the payment options on offer before committing to checkout. You should always choose to checkout and pay with a payment method that you are familiar with and trust.

Don’t store your credit card information in a browser: When shopping online, you may be prompted to save your card details. This could be either a pop-up message within your browser or when checking out on an e-commerce website. By doing this, you could risk exposing your card holder details to other users of the device or put yourself at risk if the device is stolen.

Save card holder details to Payment Card Industry (PCI) verified merchant websites: Many websites give you an option to save your details with a tokenised ‘single-click’ style payment facility to speed up the checkout process on future purchases. This is considered safe when the site you are using is PCI accredited or if they hand off these requirements to a PCI DSS Level 1 payment processor.

Besides offering a convenient and time-saving way to make purchases, online shopping provides customers with an opportunity to support their favourite local stores without putting anyone at risk. It’s up to us as consumers to play our part in fighting the third wave of Covid-19 – this is one of the simplest ways to do so.

 

Source: MyBroadband

Online retail in South Africa more than doubled in just two years, thanks to the explosion in demand for home deliveries brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was one of the findings of Online Retail in South Africa 2021 – a study conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Mastercard, Standard Bank and Platinum Seed.

The study revealed that the total growth for online retail in South Africa in 2020 came to 66%, bringing the total of online retail in South Africa to R30.2-billion.

“The most astonishing aspect of this total is that it is more than double the R14.1-billion reached in 2018, in just two years,” said World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck.

“It is also 50% higher than the total forecast for 2020 three years ago, when online retail in South Africa was expected to reach R20-billion by 2020.”

Comparing the online retail market to traditional retail puts the figure into context.

In 2018, the R14.1-billion in online retail represented 1.4% of total retail, estimated at the time at R1.07-trillion.

Online had outpaced traditional retail growth throughout the past 20 years, since it came off a low base, but traditional retail still grew every year until 2019.

In 2020, it slumped as a result of lockdown as well as economic stress.

According to preliminary data from Stats SA shows, at current prices, total retail fell by 4.2%, to R1.05-trillion at current prices.

The percentage of retail made up by online retail sales came to 2.8% – exactly double the percentage for 2018.

“While equivalent growth cannot be expected for 2021, it can be stated fairly confidently that it will exceed the 30% growth of 2019, when expansion was organic and a factor of the evolution of shopping habits and retail strategies,” said Goldstuck.

“Those factors remain in place, along with the massive boost given to both areas of evolution since the pandemic began.”

This means South Africa can expect to see total online retail sales of around R42-billion in 2021, taking the online percentage of total retail to around 4%.

The findings were not a surprise, Goldstuck said.

In November 2020, Mastercard released the findings of a survey of 1,000 South African consumers, which found that 68% of respondents were shopping more online since the onset of the pandemic.

The categories experiencing the highest growth, aside from data and airtime top-up, were clothing, at 56%, and groceries, at 54%.

68% of these consumers said they used the time during the pandemic as a positive learning experience.

The demand for online entertainment also surged, with 52% of respondents saying they have spent more money on virtual experiences than they did before the pandemic.

The majority had participated in video calls for work or leisure (88%), three quarters (75%) had watched TV or films through an online subscription service, and nearly half (47%) had taken part in a virtual cooking class.

“This trend appears to be here to stay as 71% of respondents say they will continue to shop online post-pandemic,” said Suzanne Morel, country manager at Mastercard, South Africa.

 

2020 sees boom for online shopping in SA

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

South African consumers have turned to online shopping in unprecedented numbers since the start of 2020, according to data released by Mobicred, the largest digital credit facility in this country.

Even though local shoppers have traditionally been cautious about online shopping, the growth in online shopping was both in terms of adoption rates and product selection, said Mobicred CEI Jason Sive.

He said, however, the trend was not unique, and their statistics showed South African online shopping behaviour was in line with other markets. The trends were extracted across 2 000 online retailers accepting Mobicred customer payments, over the last six months.

Across this customer base some of the key changes between pre- and post-lockdown purchases included an overall increase of 40 percent in monthly online transactions.

Demographically, customers older than 60 years, traditionally hesitant to transact online, grew by over 90 percent in terms of applying for Mobicred credit facilities.

The average purchase size across the entire customer base also increased, showing an up-tick of more than 25 percent, while the frequency of transacting online also grew by more than 30 percent.

The increased appetite of South Africans for online shopping had not gone unnoticed by retailers as they sought to offer customers greater freedom and more options to transact.

Over the same period, Mobicred reported a 50 percent monthly increase in the number of new online retailers signing up with the credit facility.

Having access to an increasing basket of options and benefitting from concerted efforts by retailers

to engage more meaningfully with their customers, the purchasing choices and behaviour of South Africans was producing interesting insights into what we spend our money on.

The Mobicred data showed significant shifts in pre- and post-lockdown purchasing choices.

These shifts largely followed what could be assumed to be the impact of especially lock-down restrictions, limiting movement which, in turn resulted in spending more time at home and therefore a greater focus on purchases relating to households.

The auto industry experienced a sharp decrease in sales, dropping by a substantial 45 percent over the period. Also suffering heavy losses in spending, the tourist industry took an 85 percent hit.

Less affected, but still showing a decline, the health and beauty industry was down by 14 percent.

Showing considerable growth, sales in the fashion industry were up by 22 percent, just a few percent shy of the 26% increase achieved by general retail.

Similarly, the tech industry revealed a strong rise, growing by 27 percent. Profiting most over the period, compared to pre-lockdown figures, the bed industry was up by 95 percent, with home and furniture showing significant growth as it rocketed by 140 percent.

This sharp rise in spending on household items was expected to keep growing as the so-called ‘stay-home economy’ continued to develop.

To capitalise on the shift to the stay-home economy, retailers would need to continue expanding their online offerings and further embrace technology to produce online customer experiences that will keep customers coming back, just as they would in a brick-and-mortar store.

South Africa is experiencing an unprecedented e-commerce boom, with transaction rates peaking at higher levels than Black Friday.

After many weeks of crippling retail restrictions which formed part of the national COVID-19 lockdown in March and April, unlimited ecommerce was allowed from 15 May.

The new regulations allowed all goods to be sold through ecommerce platforms, except for alcohol and tobacco products.

South Africans flocked to online shopping sites to buy products which were not allowed to be sold during the level 5 lockdown.

Many online shopping sites saw record sales on products like gaming consoles, laptops, vacuum cleaners, treadmills and home gym equipment, and media players.

A source close to Takealot told MyBroadband the company is now generating close to R1 billion in sales per month – around double their usual volumes.

Takealot did not confirm these numbers when it was asked for comment, but other ecommerce players also told MyBroadband their sales have more than doubled in recent weeks.

Online shopping volumes have increased so rapidly that many online retailers are struggling to cope with demand.

Takealot’s distribution centres, for example, have been overwhelmed because of the increased demand. This, in turn, has resulted in deliveries being delayed.

Many other online shops have increased their expected delivery times by over a week to address logistics bottlenecks.

Big jump in payment processing – PayGate
The companies which have the best overview of online sales volumes are online payment platforms like PayGate and PayFast.

PayGate chief sales officer Brendon Williamson told MyBroadband they have seen a marked increase in transactions since unlimited ecommerce was allowed.

“On Saturday 30 May our transactions per minute increased by double our pre-lockdown average with liquor, food, and gaming being the biggest drivers,” said Williamson.

He added that they were experiencing transaction peaks four-times higher than that of Black Friday 2019.

He said lifting the restrictions on ecommerce resulted in many people using online stores to buy products they could not purchase during level 5 of the lockdown.

“We knew this would be the case and so we had always planned to scale our systems to meet the high volumes of transactions,” said Williamson.

“The reality was we had to boost capacity by 700% just to meet consumer needs in level 3.”

While the current boom in ecommerce sales is expected to subside, sales will still be higher than usual.

“While we will see some correction during June, we expect our monthly volumes for the rest of the year to settle at around 40% higher than last year,” said Williamson.

“We believe the simplicity and efficiencies of digital commerce will keep consumers coming back for more.”

Continued growth since April – PayFast
PayFast founder and MD Jonathan Smit told MyBroadband they have seen unprecedented week-on-week increases in the number of online payments made since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Following an initial dip at the beginning of April, the weekly trendline in total sales volumes shows incremental growth,” said Smit.

PayFast saw steady week-on-week growth throughout April, which continued into the first two weeks of May in anticipation of ecommerce opening up.

“Working off an already high baseline in the middle of May, total payment volumes grew by 20% in the first week after ecommerce restrictions were lifted and by another 17% the week thereafter,” said Smit.

PayFast transactions peaked in the final week of May, with another 7% growth compared to the previous week.

“The first two weeks of June have seen slight dips, which is in keeping with monthly online shopping trends that generally spike towards the end of the month when most people get paid,” he said.

Smit added that they have registered over 7,000 new merchant accounts over the lockdown period, surpassing any other high-volume period of registrations, such as the lead-up to Black Friday.

Online stores suffer major delivery delays

Online retailers in South Africa are struggling to deal with the onslaught of orders during the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

  • Takealot is suffering delays of between two weeks and a month. One MyBroadband user sent the publication a screenshot of an order that had been placed on 26 May but was due to be delivered by 30 June. Consumers have also complained of an inability to get hold of customer service agents in order to schedule returns and get refunds
  • Yuppiechef customers have complained of slow delivery and of changing stock. One reader complained of her order being changed to “out of stock” three times
  • Makro consumers have been complaining of delayed deliveries, incorrect orders and a lack of access to anyone in customer care to deal with returns or refunds
  • Online grocery app Zulzi has also been plagued with complaints of incorrect deliveries, lack of customer service and outstanding refunds

Source: Takealot/News24

As the defining event of this year (if not the decade), the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to “adapt to a new normal”. While some industries are hidebound, experts expect the retail sector to change permanently as more businesses adopt a bricks-and-clicks model or move online completely.

Globally, e-commerce has experienced a sharp surge as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. So much so that online traffic worldwide in the supermarket segment increased by 135% in April compared to January this year. The reason for this rapid rise in online shopping is twofold. On the one side, mandatory lockdowns and store closures are encouraging more people to buy goods online and on the other, the threat of Covid-19 is discouraging people to visit crowded supermarkets.

In South Africa, 29% of online consumers say they are doing far more shopping online than before the coronavirus outbreak while 65% said they are visiting physical stores less, according to a Nielsen study of 10 markets in Africa and the Middle East. Gareth Paterson, Director Retail Vertical at Nielsen South Africa, says the rate at which people are adopting technology to shop during lockdown is paving the way for the sustained development of e-commerce in South Africa.

“We can therefore expect a permanent uplift in online shopping numbers even after the pandemic has ended, since many behaviours adopted during the Covid-19 period are likely to translate into more permanent long-term habits,” Paterson says.

Covid-19 could further cement online shopping as a permanent habit if it means continued social distancing. In a recent interview on SABC, Kim Reid, CEO of Takealot, said that e-commerce keeps people away from contact and allows them to get the goods that they require in a manner that is safe, hygienic and social-distancing friendly.

Across South Africa, more than 61 supermarkets have had to temporarily close their doors due to staff or customers testing positive to the novel coronavirus and physical shops remain hotspots. Shopping online through platforms like Takealot’s free app removes the risk of infection by allowing vulnerable customers to get their goods while remaining in self-isolation. With many safe and easy online payment options, including debit card, credit card and Instant EFT, no cash needs to be handled whatsoever. Takealot’s 30-day return policy also allows returned goods to be collected so that customers don’t even have to leave their homes.

The range of products that are available online has diversified so much that it could further diminish the need for consumers to leave their homes to shop. From pantry basics and beauty to textbooks and toys, there’s a product for every niche market. According to Takealot, some of their best-selling products over the last few weeks included indoor heaters, hair clippers, home gym equipment, sim cards and data and office equipment (printers, cartridges, laptops etc) – an accurate summary of many South Africans’ lockdown experience.

 

Pick n Pay expands its online range

Pick n Pay Online is now offering a larger range of non-food items for delivery. This followed the recent announcement by Minister Ebrahim Patel that all permitted goods may now be sold online.

The non-food items that will be available online for delivery or “Click n Collect” under level four lockdown includes home entertainment items, such as televisions and gaming, and white goods, such as fridges, freezers, ovens, dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers. Camping and patio furniture will also be available.

Delivery of these heavier items is available in all major cities nationally and “Click n Collect” lets customers purchase their items online and collect their order from any hypermarket.

The COVID-19 outbreak has significantly accelerated the demand for online shopping and many shoppers turned to Pick n Pay Online for their grocery shop. Since the end of March 2020, Pick n Pay’s online shop has had more than 144,000 new customers registered online. This is 8x more registrations than the previous year. Pick n Pay online also experienced a 200% increase in active transacting online customers during the period.

Last year the retailer significantly enhanced its online offering, which included changing its logistics partner and investing in a dedicated online customer services team. Jessica Knight, Head of Pick n Pay Online, says that this helped them rapidly increased the online shop’s capacity and reach to meet the needs of many new customers who have turned to online shopping since the country went into lockdown.

“We have increased our delivery slots for our online shop, which has meant customers can now get a slot within a few days of placing their order. Customers can currently get a delivery slot within three to five days, depending on the area.

Knight says they are seeing a high percentage of returning customers. “This shows how many first-time online shoppers are really enjoying the ease and convenience of online shopping. We’ve also made it very easy to shop online, for instance, customers have their own personalised ‘aisle’ with their favourite items and they can create a shopping list for regular purchases.”

Pick n Pay also leveraged its partnership with the Bottles app to launch their “Grocery Essentials” same day delivery service. This was done within days of the lockdown being announced and they now pick from over 95 stores across the country. This extended reach has helped Pick n Pay deliver to areas previously outside its delivery network, such as Port Elizabeth, Soweto and Diepkloof.

Knight explains the trends they have seen with customers using their online delivery options during lockdown. “Our average PnP online shop customer will place a larger order through our website and these are usually weekly or monthly shops to restock core grocery items, and cleaning or hygiene products. Our ‘on demand’ customers, placing orders through the Bottles app, generally shop more frequently and use the same-day delivery to top up on essential items and fresh produce.”

Many of Pick n Pay’s franchise stores are still offering ‘Click Direct’ which encourages customers to email or WhatsApp their orders directly to the store, for collection or delivery.

By James de Villiers for Business Insider

Retailer Pick n Pay, in collaboration with the Bottles delivery application, is now offering consumers same-day deliveries of essentials at over 70 locations for a cost of R60.

The partnership between Pick n Pay and Bottles previously allowed for the delivery of liquor, but this has been changed to grocery essentials in light of the national lockdown.

It differs from other delivery applications such as Zulzi in that Bottles directly integrates with Pick n Pay’s database to ensure that whatever a consumer orders is available in stock.

This service is in addition to Pick n Pay’s online delivery offering where consumers can have food delivered by selecting available delivery slots at a cost of R60 per delivery.

Most of these slots have however been taken due to increased demand during the national lockdown, despite significantly increasing the amount of slots.

Pick n Pay said the re-engineered offering from Bottles allows consumers to have access to products at in-store prices faster during the lockdown.

Consumers now have the choice of over 1 500 products, and can order over 30 different products in one order (limits may apply per product).

Areas covered by bottles deliveries include suburbs in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. More stores are expected to be introduced across the country.

“We will continue to review products offered on the Grocery Essentials app based on customer feedback, and add the most popular items. We want to make this as convenient for customers as possible,” Pick n Pay’s online head Jessica Knight said.

Orders can be placed Monday to Saturday between 08:00 and 15:00, and on Sunday between 08:00 and 13:00. Items will be delivered until 19:00, except for Sunday when they will be delivered until 17:00.

The delivery cost includes a R45 delivery fee and a R15 service fee.

According to IPG Mediabrands’ specialist digital agency Reprise, South Africa’s e-commerce industry, while still in its infancy, is showing strong growth thanks to high mobile penetration, secure payment options and changing spending habits.

Natasha Courtney, social media manager at Reprise South Africa says: “Currently only a quarter of South African retailers are spending through digital channels but with more of the population shifting their behaviour and budgets to online shopping, more retailers are making their products and services available online all the time.”

Women especially prefer interactive and easy-to-use options that allow them to share their shopping experiences with other users, and to get feedback and user ratings about the products or services they’re interested in purchasing. “Out of the 39% of women who are actively shopping online in South Africa, there was one predominant reason they enjoyed shopping this way – convenience,” says Courtney.

Digital shopping platform ThinkOver says that 89% of women will wait for an item to go on sale before purchasing. More than half of respondents (55%) said they continuously check a retailer’s website for sales while 58% monitor their inboxes for sale alerts. What’s more, 75% of women said they get upset when an item they wanted to buy went on sale and they weren’t aware of it.

When it comes to preferred payment terms, 54% of South African shoppers like to pay cash on delivery. When asked about debit card payments, 52% of consumers preferred this method – quite an even split. “Loyalty programmes are a big part of a woman’s shopping experience with the study finding that 80% percent of women belong to store loyalty programmes,” she says. “And we’re spending a lot of time online – the majority of female shoppers spend an average of an hour a day looking for great deals before we buy.”

For South African female consumers, the three most popular categories of online purchases are clothing, entertainment and education, and tickets for events. Over 75% of women stated that they go online and choose what they want to purchase before they go out, suggesting that most purchases are pre-meditated and not a spur of the moment decision.

“Pick n Pay’s integrated annual report for 2018 showed a 70% increase in its customers visiting their website from a mobile device since they launched their online grocery shop,” says Courtney. “But there are some down sides too – when purchasing clothing online, some women say that the clothing sizes are incorrect on delivery and the return policies and overall service turnaround times are the areas that need attention from retailers.

Poor user experience on websites is another deterrent to online shopping.

Mobile technology is transforming e-commerce in Africa, and consumers are actually more likely to have a mobile device than a bank account,” she says. “South Africans are also becoming more comfortable with mobile shopping due to, for example, easy-to-use apps for ordering car rides or food becoming more commonplace.”

This research shows that the online shopping industry is growing and is set to grow even more in the coming years. It is also clear that consumers will choose online payment partners they can trust, and that provide peace of mind that the security of their financial information will be a priority.

“For now, traditional shopping habits still dominate in South Africa but with almost half the population set to make an online purchase in the next year, it is clear that the ecommerce market has huge potential and will continue to grow year on year. It’s hugely exciting for retailers and consumers alike!”

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