The importance of an Ecommerce store in 2017

In South Africa, the eCommerce space is still relatively small, with an estimated value of between R6 - R7 billion industry. Right now it only accounts for a mere one percent of the country’s overall retail sector. What that means is that there’s immense potential for growth for any small business and entrepreneur?

Ecommerce, South Africa, Business, Entrepreneur, SME, Online Shopping, Africa, Ecommerce South Africa
Online shopping website on laptop screen with female hands typing

‘’It’s the year 2017, with the increase of internet usage and the growing acceptance from customers for online shopping  in South Africa and the world, more and more consumers are switching to eCommerce as the future,’’ according to Shane Biegnaar, founder of The Bizniz Blog.

It has been said that South African’s have 27 million active daily internet users (52% of the population), 13 million active social media accounts and 86 million active mobile connections South African access the internet using 60% smartphones, 18% desktop/laptop and 7% are using tablets. All of these users will be contributing to what is estimated to be a R9 billion industry locally by the end of 2017, with an expected growth of 20% each year. As the market population grows in spending more and more of its hard-earned cash online, it’s the perfect opportunity for any business to build and establish its own eCommerce presence.

Ecommerce, South Africa, Business, Entrepreneur, SME, Online Shopping, Africa, Ecommerce South Africa
Source: We are Social SA
  1. The access to new business opportunity and customers

The development and growth in access and usage of internet across the population has resulted in increased sales and profits for all businesses that has caught the ecommerce wave early. It allows the business to have access to new business and customers through new avenues such as Paid advertising, Organic and SEO Opitimatized content, Social media marketing and mobile marketing. These strategies and avenues all lead to increased website traffic and higher rate of conversions leading to a greater ROI.

  1. The ability to trade for 24 hour / 7 days a week

The eCommerce store and online presence allows for a 24 hour a day and 7 days a weeks time for trade, sales and operations. When this is being compared to regular trading brick-and-mortar retail store you are only allowed to operate for average of 70 hours per week (10 hours per day) vs the ability to trade on a full 168 hours per week (24 hours per day), which is an 41% increase of full operating time.

  1. The opportunity to offer a better customer interaction, service and support

The ability to have a full operating time of 168 hours per week, also means that you will have a much improved and highly engaged customer service. This will allow to you be in constant communication with your customer, providing all forms of customer service and customer support. The happy customer not only means that the customer will return visits to your eCommerce store and increased sales and profits; but also will mean a positive word of mouth marketing of your customer through reviews and social media interaction.

  1. The endless possibilities of marketing your product across online platform

The conventional brick-and-mortar store will only be allowed the usage of visual merchandise and window display to showcase and market product in order to attract customers. The new business use of social media and influencer marketing could lead to new avenues to showcase, market and visually present your products to customers. When customers come across highly valuable, useful and creative content, then would tend to share and repost this content for their friends and family to see; which leads to newly acquired trusted customers and increase your company brand by social word of mouth.

Ecommerce, South Africa, Business, Entrepreneur, SME, Online Shopping, Africa
Source: Visa Mastercard
  1. The business can track, measure, analyse and fully report the ROI

The ability to track sales and profits has been limited to a few but yet effective Key metrics and performance measurements which is used to track the profitable of the business. But with the access to the eCommerce store and its unique tools used to measure and analyse all the key metrics and performance has become so much more easier, without having to go through thousands of data mines. The only tracked audience of the brick-and-mortar store would be the actually tedious job of doing a foot count or door traffic to measure customer counts. But with online reporting you would be able to create full reports of customer profiles, demographics, basket size, average spend, shopping habits and patterns. This allows to make better informed decisions to achieve a greater ROI.

In the ever-changing business and economic environment, its ever important for each and every business to remain relevant in its industry and tap into the full potential of the world wide web. As the market in the eCommerce in only yet set to grow and increase its overall market size in South Africa any time but mostly important the time being NOW to catch thus wave and ride along with the success.