Online Shopping is no longer just for flashy start-ups or big companies with even bigger budgets – it is also becoming a valuable channel to market for Small & Medium Businesses. All sorts of small businesses can benefit from allowing their customers to shop and pay online. Here are a few reasons why e-commerce is a big opportunity for South African business builders of all sizes. The demand is there and it is growing by the day
According to research from World Wide Worx, South Africans spend around R9 billion a year on online shopping. Sure, that’s just 1% of the total retail market, but the value of e-commerce is expanding by more than 20% a year. Investing in e-commerce now positions you take advantage of South Africans’ growing appetite for digital convenience.
It’s easier and more affordable than ever before. Take the recently launched Amazon Go. No cashiers. No checkouts. No lines. You just walk in, pick out what you want, and everything else takes place via your smartphone:
You can reach new cities and even new countries with minimal investment. In the past, if you wanted to sell dresses from your Cape Town boutique in Johannesburg or San Francisco, you would need to incur costs such as rent, staffing and utilities. Now, you can sell to people from around the country and the world through a website.
Though South Africa’s logistics network has a way to go before it is as cheap and reliable as those in the US and Europe, there are many great courier companies who can help you ship packages across town or to the other side of the world at an affordable cost. Even in your own neighborhood, people who shop online might represent a new market for you over the business you get from referrals or walk-ins. A growing portion of customers do their research about pricing and options online before they buy – these days the Internet is the Yellow Pages for anyone who needs an electrician or a new bicycle.
For that reason, many small businesses already appreciate the importance of marketing themselves using Facebook pages and ads, listing themselves with online directories and maintaining a professional-looking website. If you haven’t, you should start with those basics before you go the e-commerce route.
Adding e-commerce to your existing online presence can help you capture more sales. For example, if a serious buyer is browsing through your online catalogue of televisions, making it easy for him or her to buy and pay might close the deal. Researchers say that it can take as little as 2.5 seconds for a consumer to make a purchasing decision – you don’t want to miss out on that window.
Customers do their research online – use e-commerce to convert browsing to sales
Convenience for a customer means making your product the right product for them to buy in that moment. Each buying journey may not be the same, but — for your customers — it should feel like an intuitive process every time.
Source – http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2017/02/e-commerce-is-the-way-forward-for-all-businesses/