There is currently a fantastic appetite for online shopping in South Africa. And this trend is set to increase in the near future driven by rising cost of life and the increasing use by consumers of mobile phones to make purchases.
However, despite this increased appetite there seems to be a lack of effective online shopping platforms in the country, Fatima Sullivan, of DHL Express, said this week.
Quoting a recent research by InMobi,Sullivan said South African retailers risk losing customers if they did not increase a stronger online presence. “In a fast evolving technology space and in this increasingly competitive environment, retail players cannot afford to be left behind,” she said.
“The current economic environment is tough and retailers need to fight for their market share. And any additional services that they are able to offer customers will help in this regard.”
Sullivan said although South African retailers seem to be slowly adapting as this trend grows and develops, many have still not adopted proper systems and websites which are user friendly and effective.
“We are witnessing a gradual increase of packages being delivered to consumers who choose to do their shopping online,” she said. In addition to online websites, South Africa retailers also needed to consider mobile sites.
“Google’s Shopper Marketing Agency Council recently found that 79% of shoppers can be classified as ‘mobile shoppers’. Now is the time for retailers to place more importance on online portals, as this is the direction that the industry is clearly heading in.”
Simon Leps, CEO of Fontera Digital Works, said the South African retail industry is experiencing significant changes when it comes to common practice.
“The industry is evolving andslowly adopting new channels due to the ever-changing expectations of more digitally-empowered and global thinking consumers. Retailers need to adapt and make use of innovative e-commerce platforms in order to remain competitive,” Leps said.
“Now, e-commerce is redefining the concept of place, allowing companies to create a virtual identity that can be marketed just like a physical one, but enables consumers to travel between both worlds,” Sullivan concluded.