Tag: online

The mall in 2029: imaging the future

Speaking at the recent South African Council of Shopping Centres Research Conference, Doris Viljoen – a senior futurist at the Institute for Futures Research based at Stellenbosch University – shared an imagined future for malls based on current retail trends.

With consumers moving from experiencing products in stores to ordering them online, smartphones and wearables play a big role in providing customised assistance while physical stores are already morphing into lively, immersive environments that rely on sensors to capture and analyse data in real time.

What is the next step? Presenting four different futures for the shopping mall, Viljoen’s work as a futurist often involves interpreting the history of retail – so what has happened until now – creating deeper layers of understanding, and then building a collection of plausible futures for consideration.

“It’s important to remember that people will still have an influence on the future that eventually unfolds. We cannot predict the future. We don’t know what is going to happen, but through the imagination of the different futures that could happen we can be prepared, and being prepared is more valuable than being right. All four of these futures could be wrong – but at least we then spend time thinking about what is possible,” she says.

Imagine a mall that recognises you the moment you walk through the door. As you enter the mall, your phone buzzes with a message from the mall, greeting you by name.

In this space, you are able to do anything with the smart device in your hand. If you see something you like, you can instantly get extra info about the product, where it comes from, pricing, and if you want to buy it, you can pay and arrange delivery from the palm of your hand.

Consumers can tag items they’re interested in, with notifications alerting them to the availability of these products in the mall, even guiding shoppers to their exact location – particularly useful for those instances where people still want to touch and feel before they buy.

Imagine meeting a friend for lunch at a restaurant and getting notified when she arrives, or even better, the restaurant using data smartly to predict what you want to order before you arrive.

Trends fuelling this scenario include consumers’ growing tendency to do their chore or convenience shopping online, saving their visits to the physical store for items they want to see and feel before buying. The growing use of facial recognition technology and customisation of both products and services have also contributed to the possibility that this could be the mall of the future – where people are able to directly influence their own shopping experience, creating useable data with each visit that retailers can effectively interpret thanks to machine learning analytics.

This may look like a normal mall, but some malls may start to empty, sitting with more and more vacancies as they struggle to fill the space. There is an opportunity here for developers to recreate these spaces into a gated community – where stores are repurposed and refitted into apartments, served by suitable retailers – think convenience and a place to socialise with friends and family.

In this future, Viljoen sees the rooftop parking converted into several green endeavours, including solar farms, running tracks and community gardens – building communities that thrive off the grid.

“And while this is a living space, there are still stores that provide food and personal services – so there is a lot of retailing and transacting is still taking place,” she says.

“South Africa is ranked sixth for the most shopping centres in the world, but urbanisation here is very rapid – in 2014 we had 34.2 million people living in urban areas, and by 2050 this figure will jump to 49.1 million. We need housing, and gated communities are becoming increasingly popular from a safety perspective, as well as the perceived value of going off the grid.”

Imagine a mall with a 2,000 seat auditorium for sports, where sport related retailers and activities become what the grocery anchors are now.

This mall consists of modular units that can easily move around, allowing retailers to continuously recreate the whole centre. Visitors might not be sure if it is a gym, adventure or a sports store. Here, they can eat a very healthy meal, or have personalised sports gear made specifically to fit them thanks to scans of their proportions.

This mall is built squarely on the concept of customisation, where experts are on hand to design programmes for you, while you have a new pair of running shoes 3D printed directly on your foot.

Connectivity, a major role-player in all four of these futures, will feature heavily here, but it is the rapid growth in the health and wellness industry that will bring this mall to life.

“People are looking for experiences, not things, so that they can share and post on social media.”

Here we’ll see a space filled with apprentices and trainees, from food and hair to graphic design and drafting – customers can go here and experience or buy from trainees.

This allows trainees to engage with real customers, while customers actively contribute to their learning while also benefiting from these services or products at a slightly cheaper rate.

“The population in sub-Saharan Africa has seen huge growth. There are a lot of people who need to be skilled, and people are living longer than ever before. In South Africa, our qualification status is also worrisome – only 13% of the people in South Africa have a post-school qualification. As business and the economy changes, we are going to need more and more people with qualifications, and for that, we need more places suitable to upskill the people we need,” she says.

Online shopping has become increasingly popular amongst South African consumers. Convenience, competitive pricing, and a wide choice of products make online purchasing a no-brainer for tech-savvy shoppers, but retailers need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to standing out against the competition.

Over the past year, a couple of popular South African retailers’ pricing has come under scrutiny where products were advertised as discounted from inflated list prices to give customers the perception of a bigger saving. In both cases, the advertising was ruled to be misleading. While unscrupulous practices like this may get consumers all riled up, the benefit of these kinds of cases being brought to the fore is that consumers have become more discerning when it comes to finding a bargain online.

Comparison tools and aggregator sites take the hard work out of shopping around and comparing prices. According to PriceCheck Founder, Kevin Tucker, comparison tools are just as important to retailers as they are to consumers. “Retailers are able to monitor price changes, price drops, promotions from competitors to allow them to stay relevant.” With more than two million visits each month, PriceCheck is South Africa’s number one product discovery and comparison platform.

Online purchasing behaviour indicates that consumers tend to go for trust over price point, particularly in the case of lesser known and international retailers. Consumers would rather pay a little bit extra at a reputable retailer than find a great bargain only to have to wait longer for delivery time, experience delays, or deal with poor customer service and a sketchy returns policy.

For this reason, comparison tools have become an invaluable tool for discerning shoppers, helping customers make informed decisions about their online purchases. Consumers love a good bargain, especially in tough economic times, and daily deals, sales and discounts create a sense of urgency and encourage impulse purchase behaviour. By listing retailers that offer a benefit to consumers, especially those that don’t have the financial backing of the big players in the e-commerce space, comparison tools add value to consumers while at the same time sending the listed retailers good quality traffic and qualified leads.

While building trust with consumers goes beyond fair and competitive product pricing, retailers need to consider the customer journey from start to finish. Tucker advises retailers to invest in online support through live chats or chatbots. “Real-time support can go a long way with consumers.”

He believes that providing as much information for the consumer to review is essential for retailers to maintain their credibility. “Delivery and returns policies, shop reviews, and payment methods all need to be clearly indicated to manage expectations and ensure that consumers are able to make the best buying decision possible.” he says.

By Wendy Knowler for Herald Live

Credit card fraud has been rapidly outpacing all other forms of bank fraud in recent months, with many older people being sweet-talked by fraudsters posing as bank officials into revealing their one-time-password (OTP) over the phone.

The Ombudsman for Banking Services, Reana Steyn, issued a warning about the alarming trend, revealing that 58% of the bank clients who complained about falling victim to credit card fraud in the past three months were older than 61 and 11% were older than 80.

“Not long ago credit card fraud was number five in our list of complaint categories, and now it’s number two, comprising 19,45% of all complaints,” Steyn said.

“That’s up from about 12% in December. At this rate it will soon overtake internet banking fraud to occupy the top spot.”

In a typical scenario, a bank client gets a call from a fraudster claiming to be phoning from their bank. In most cases, the fraudster already has the person’s credit card number.

The fraudster has gone onto an online shopping site – two of their favourites are Takealot and Foschini, Steyn said – and, poised to buy with victim’s credit card, they convince them that in order to help the bank prevent them from falling victim to fraud, they must please read out the OTP which has been sent to them via SMS.

The victim complies, and then the shopping begins.

The fraudsters also con people into believing that the bank will give them extra bank loyalty rewards points if they answer a few questions, Steyn said.

In the process of that Q&A, they’re asked for their OTP.

In one case, a fraudster asked a woman if she would like to convert her bank rewards points into cash. With that benefit in mind, she read out her OTP.

Alarmed at getting similar calls on the same day, she phoned her bank, but had already been defrauded of R11,200.

“Credit card fraud is a growing concern as banking systems increase in speed and efficiency,” Steyn said. “At the same time, fraudsters apply more sophisticated tactics to defraud and rob customers of their hard-earned money and savings.

“All bank customers, particularly the elderly, need to be knowledgeable and vigilant about their preferred banking channels.”

What not to do:

  • Never share personal and confidential information with strangers over the phone.
  • Banks will never ask you to confirm your confidential information over the phone.
  • If you receive an OTP on your phone without having transacted yourself, it is likely that it is a fraudster who has used your personal information. Do not provide the OTP to anybody. Contact your bank immediately to alert them to the possibility that your information may have been compromised.

How to complain:

  • Lodge a formal, written complaint directly with your bank’s dispute resolution department.Ask for a complaint reference number from your bank.
  • Allow the bank 20 working days in which to respond to your complaint.
  • Obtain a written response from your bank and if you are not satisfied with the outcome, please log the complaint with the Ombudsman for Banking Services.

By Angelique Arde for Business Live

Absa is tight-lipped about its meeting this week with the banking regulator about how the bank handles cyber risks.

Johannesburg attorney Mark Heyink, acting for 29 Absa customers referred to him by a digital forensic expert and a computer scientist, claimed that the bank had “improperly” held clients liable for losses resulting from online banking fraud and called on the regulator to investigate Absa and the ombud for banking services.

Read more here: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bt/money/2019-01-20-regulator-talks-to-absa-about-bank—fraud-complaints/ 

Black Friday weekend in numbers

According to an article by Business Tech, online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 exceeded figures for 2017.

BankservAfrica provided Business Tech with the following figures on one of the biggest shopping days of the year:

  • A total of 581 189 online transactions were processed over the weekend
  • 404 594 online transactions were recorded on Black Friday
  • The single most expensive transaction for Black Friday was over R6-million
  • The single most expensive transaction for Cyber Monday was R5-million
  • Black Friday shopping peaked between 08h00 and 09h00
  • Cyber Monday shopping peaked between 10h00 and 11h00
  • The average number of transactions per minute peaked at 695 on Black Friday
  • Transactions averaged at 281 per minute on Black Friday
  • The average number of transactions per minute peaked at 277 on Cyber Monday
  • Transactions averaged at 1251 per minute on Cyber Monday
  • Black Friday saw 55% year-on-year growth in online transactions
  • Cyber Monday transactions were up 36% year-on-year 

The United States, where the trend originated, also saw some big numbers:

  • Cyber Monday sales surged to a record $7.9-billion spent online
  • This is a year-on-year increase of 19.3%
  • Black Friday pulled in a record $6.22-billion in e-commerce sales
  • Transactions on mobile devices were up 55.6% on Cyber Monday, generating $2.2-billion in sales
  • Cyber Monday marked the biggest shopping day in Amazon’s history
  • Amazon Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined saw the purchase 18-million toys and more than 13-million fashion items

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

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