No‚ say South African online retailers‚ who claim they are ready to fend off system overloads and crashes when thousands of shoppers look for bargains on November 24. Last year shoppers using Takealot.com ran into problems in the checkout process. This year‚ the online retail giant says it has prepared for five times the average payday traffic.
“Our checkout process ran into problems on last year’s Black Friday because the banks’ payment gateway fell over from the surge of online shoppers across the country. The combination of all the retailers running Black Friday sales meant that they simply couldn’t handle the volume of transactions – and we believe we’ve done everything we can to mitigate these challenges this year‚” said Takealot.com chief marketing officer Julie-Anne Walsh.
Fashion retailer Zando.co.za has implemented a “feature freeze” to tackle possible glitches. “We have spent the last few weeks in the lead up to Black Friday preparing our systems which entailed a ‘feature freeze’‚ meaning we have not developed or deployed any new features but instead spent the time on scaling and creating a robust website that will ensure we manage the increased load of Black Friday‚” said Zando.co.za managing director Grant Brown.
Spree’s Black Friday traffic and order volumes have grown by 100% per annum over the last four years. Last year it was one of the few e-commerce sites that did not fall over under the visitor load. “We plan well ahead to ensure that our infrastructure and platforms are able to handle the massive growth and the high peak of concurrent visitors. We have invested a significant amount of time and effort in upgrading and optimising our server capacity and our development team has focused on optimising key areas in the platform codebase‚” said Spree chief information officer Jonathan Muir.
The fashion retailer’s main concern for this Black Friday is the banks’ ability to process the onslaught of credit card payments. “But we have a few contingencies in place to mitigate that risk‚” Muir said. South Africa’s only digital credit product for online shopping‚ Mobicred‚ says its system was built to specifically cater for increased traffic.
World Wide Worx predicts SA’s online retail market will be worth over R9 billion in 2016.
Local retailers are seeing a steady uptick in online shopping numbers as more South Africans embrace e-commerce.
In Pick n Pay and Mr Price’s latest results, both retailers showed strong growth in online sales.
Mr Price says its local online sales grew by 63.6% for the 53 weeks ended 2 April. Mr Price says the online business is now generating positive returns and all its MRP brands are now “full omni-channel retailers”. This as the group saw total revenue for the year grow over 8% to R19.6 billion.
In the year ended 28 February, Pick n Pay saw its strongest turnover growth since 2010. This included a 38% increase in turnover growth from Pick n Pay Online over the year, “with a stronger range and a substantial improvement in product availability”. The team says it is particularly pleased with the growth in demand from its business-to-business (B2B) customers.
“The online business in the Western Cape has benefited from the dedicated picking warehouse established at the Brackenfell Hypermarket last year, and the group will look to invest in a similar solution in the Gauteng region, towards the end of this year,” the group says.
In the 2015 financial year, Pick n Pay also delivered strong double digit e-commerce growth and added 40 000 new online customers.
The Foschini Group says it is investing in its omni-channel roll-out and will launch online sales for Foschini cosmetics, @home furniture as well as the Markham and Fabiani brands this year. This after its sports division brands −Totalsports, Duesouth and Sportscene − launched online selling in the past financial year, which the company says “proved to be successful with results ahead of expectation”.
Massmart says it continues to expand and improve its e-commerce offerings. These are primarily from its DionWired, Makro and Masscash Wholesale stores. Massmart’s results for the 52 weeks ended 27 December 2015 show online sales now represent about 2% of total sales in those categories that form part of the online offering.
“Makro’s customer card data indicates online shoppers continue to visit and shop our stores. We are delighted with the response to our new B2B online commercial customer offering launched in November 2015,” it says.
Massmart says a Massbuild online project “to serve the contractor and professional market” is also in the advanced stages.
Woolworths says food sales comprise the majority of its local online revenue, although stronger growth in clothing and general merchandise is now being experienced. In the 52 weeks to 28 June 2015, Woolworths’ Country Road brand’s online sales contributed close to 10% of total sales, up from 8% the year before.
Woolworths says it continues to invest in innovative digital development focused on digital accessibility and personalisation.
Source: Full Article SA retailers see e-commerce uptick
By Paula Gilbert
Get your Shipping Policies right for your e-shop
The way you handle the delivery of your products plays a critical role in deciding the conversion rate of your store. It plays a direct role in the shopping cart abandonment rate of your store. This is what a recent research paper from a large courier company concluded.
• While free and discounted shipping is a big benefit, there is more to online shopping and customer experience. In fact, many shoppers are willing to pay a nominal fee to receive the product faster if given an option.
• Shipping and delivery timing is important during the shopping cart check-out. To reduce shopping cart abandonment, your e-shop should show the shipping costs, or give consumers the option of shipping time frames.
• Customers are willing to wait for their packages, but need to know an estimated delivery time and they want e-mail or text alerts about their delivery.
• The customer need to feel in control. Options such as “special delivery instructions,” the ability to schedule a late delivery, or having a delivery window gives the
consumers the control they need to improve their shipping experience.
• Finally, good experiences with returning items lead to repeat customers and recommendations for the retailer. Good experiences are those that ensure ease for the consumer, while the bad experiences are the ones that highlight hassles and the extra cost.
To Offer Free Shipping
Irrespective of the business and cost implications, if you talk to your customers, they will tell you that they want free shipping.
For whatever reason, a free shipping offer that saves a customer money is more appealing.
If you still have to charge for shipping, make sure that you always mention the shipping costs up front. If you can afford to offer a flat fee, it will work best because it makes the buying decision much easier for the buyer.
Mobile commerce broke numerous records during the 2012 holiday shopping season and is well positioned for a repeat performance this year, thanks to the growing number of consumers who own a smartphone as well as increasingly sophisticated mobile retail strategies.
“Right now, we are seeing 17.7 percent in terms of percent of transactions coming from the mobile device,” said Dave Haucke a strategist at IBM Enterprise Marketing, Armonk, NY.
“Mobile E commerce is going to continue to grow this holiday season in terms of the transaction channel. That is good news, but it also means that it raises the stakes in terms of that customer experience because we are starting to see an increase in bounce rates and a decrease in time on site and pages visits.”
As consumers become more comfortable with their smartphones, their expectations grow and they become less tolerant of bad experiences.
This means that not only do retailers have to have a mobile site and application, but they need to make sure that the experience is truly optimized for mobile from start to finish. Additionally, mobile is helping to drive the trend toward earlier promotions as users begin their product research via their smartphones when they have a few minutes to spare. The Baynote report found that 30 percent of retailers will begin promotions prior to Oct. 1, while over 40 percent wait until early November.
Read the rest of the story here