Online Shopping: here’s how to get customers

Do South African shoppers prefer to touch and feel something before they buy it? Do consumers give their credit card details away online, or do they avoid doing this like they would the plague? Actually, research shows that South Africans are keen to purchase goods online, but they don’t have a wide selection of shops to choose from.  Merchants need to be on the ball when it comes to online shopping.

Here’s how…

Your website is your shop’s window.

While someone may be keen on your products, they won’t want to purchase them if you have a poorly designed website. It’s advisable to use the services of a good web designer in order to make your website as appealing as possible.

In addition, your online shop should be mobile friendly. In this way, you expand your customer base ten-fold: there are a huge number of mobile phone users in South Africa. According to KPMG, the number of mobile phone users has grown to 29-million.

Improve your e-commerce platform.

Shoppers like to have a variety of payment options to choose from. Using an online payment solution, such as EFTPOS’s e-commerce solution ticks the boxes in terms of reliability, accessibility and security. EFTPOS’s e-commerce solution enables merchants to accept secure and immediate debit and credit card payments.

Moneyweb suggests emphasising the online security features your site offers. “Perhaps the most important thing is education – sites should explain their security procedures (and) guarantee refunds if data is compromised.”

It’s all in the delivery.

South Africa has a notoriously unreliable postal service, with countless people frustrated by having to wait in vain for mail and parcels.The habit among shoppers, says Ventureburn is to browse products online, but then physically buy the products at the store.

(Buying in person means) there are no delivery fees, and (a customer) can walk away with their item there and then. Successful e-commerce players offer fast, reliable and low-cost delivery to make up for the loss of the in-person experience.”

Service still counts.

While online shopping takes away physical interaction, customers need to be confident about the online purchasing process. Send your customers a note to let them know their parcel has been shipped, give them a waybill number and confirm their contact details.

Learn from the success stories.

Pick n Pay, one of South Africa’s largest retailers, reported a 37% increase in online shopping in 2014. They found that the average basket size for online purchases was three-times that of an in-store basket.

Stationery company Waltons will expand its online shopping services with a new system that interfaces with major enterprise systems to enable ordering, authorisation and invoicing.

Woolworths improved its online shopping experience, noting that online customers had doubled year-on-year since 2013 and traffic from smartphones had increased by 38%, while 8% of traffic came from tablets.
According to ITweb, e-commerce is a growing market, grabbing a bigger piece of the overall retail pie. “There is much ground to be taken and many first-time online shoppers to lure over the digital precipice.”