“We’re seeing more and more people realise that online shopping can be trusted, and is a safe and efficient way to address issues of health, safety and affordability,” says Craig Lubbe, CEO for Bidorbuy.
The South African market will reach just over R62 billion this year, and show a compounded annual growth rate of 10% for the next four years.
Ecommerce is providing a ray of hope for the local economy with transactions hitting a record high in May and June. And, while there will be some leveling off, SA’s largest payment provider, DPO South Africa, says the new love affair with digital commerce is unlikely to fade in coming months, offering some relief in an otherwise grim economy.
“The last weekend in May saw transactions per minute hit four times that of the busiest minute experienced during Black Friday last year. June was similar to May and we expect our monthly volumes for the rest of the year to settle at around 40 percent higher than last year,” explains Peter Harvey, MD of DPO South Africa.
According to Harvey, the adoption of ecommerce should be seen as a very positive sign after the depressing financial metrics published over the past weeks.
Shipping costs can add significantly to the overall purchase price, and Lubbe advises people to always check whether free shipping is included or not. Shipping and returns policies should be easy to find on the site, and very clearly communicated, adds Lubbe. “And check to see if the site offers a buyer cover or buyer protection programme.”
From a delivery perspective, customers who receive their goods in unexpectedly eco-friendly and/or creative packaging often consider this the final touch needed to make it a memorable experience, says Richards.
As much as South Africa’s leading online retailers are active on social media, so too are their followers, who will make public and voice their opinion on how efficient – or inefficient – an e-tailer is in dealing with their queries.
“The past three months from March 2020 up to June 2020 has shown us that local consumers are ready to embrace digital business. This increased demand for digital offerings must now be met with a good supply. We have every confidence that the innovative and entrepreneurial flair of South Africans will shine through in the months to come.”
From the moment they see a social media post suggesting they click through to a site, to when they get an update on their order progress, efficient and consistent customer service will lead to repeat business from a loyal customer, and in the process, a degree of invaluable trust is built between the service provider and the shopper.