E-commerce is on the increase in South Africa, but many shoppers are reluctant to shop online. DONOVAN MARAIS of Sage Pay provides some insight into what is holding them back.
E-commerce is on the rise in South Africa. According to recent research conducted by Ipsos on behalf of FNB and Paypal, 22% of South African Internet users have made purchases online, and 48% expect to do so in the future.
This is clearly a growing and potentially lucrative market for small businesses that are able to give customers the convenience and flexibility of doing business online. But what about the 30% of people who are not shopping online? What’s holding them back and how do can they be persuaded to make the big leap?
Here are a few of the reasons some people are still reluctant to shop online, and a few ideas about how you, the small business owner, can change their minds.
1. Concern about delivery times
Especially as we enter the festive season, people are shopping for gifts for their friends, loved ones, or business contacts. Many of them are anxious about whether an item they order online will be shipped in time to reach the recipient for Christmas. According to Ipsos, 58 percent of those who have not shopped online say that concerns about not receiving items they have ordered is the reason they don’t do so.
Be sure that you work with a reliable courier company or have a good driver to handle your deliveries this time of the year. Speak to your couriers and suppliers to find out about their lead times and don’t make any promises that you can’t keep. If you miss a Christmas shipping date, you’ll probably lose the customer forever.
Tip: Post your cut-off dates for Christmas orders and shipments prominently on your Website, marketing emails, and other communications so that customers are aware of the deadlines and stick to them.
2. Fraud and security fears
Some 67% of non-online shoppers in the Ipsos survey voice concerns about the security of online payments. With a flood of seasonal spam, many consumers are especially nervous at this time of the year. Payment providers, banks, and merchants clearly all have a lot to do to promote public awareness of the many scams and threats out there, while reassuring customers that online shopping is generally as safe as a visit to the mall.
You’ll need to offer an easy and trustworthy way for customers to pay online when they shop on your site. Be sure to tell your customers how you process payments on your site to give them peace of mind about its security. Also, detail your privacy and your refunds policy on your site.
Tip: Payment providers such as Sage Pay offer secure payment gateways that allow customers to pay easily using different payment types such as Bank EFT, Credit Card, Cashier payments at major retail stores and mobile payments via a QR code. These solutions mean you do not need to approach multiple service providers.
3. Lack of awareness
Your customers might not know that you have a full e-commerce site in place. Be sure to promote your digital presence on your marketing materials and in the advertisements that you place in the press.
Tip: Your online customers might have a different profile to the people who visit your physical store, and hence may not read the papers or listen to the radio stations where you usually advertise. Use paid search ads, social media, and other digital channels to market to them in a measurable and cost-effective manner.
4. Testing the goods
Depending on what you sell, people might want to see the product or handle it before they buy it. Few people are happy to buy a car without a test drive or clothes without trying them on. But in most cases, they’ll be doing a lot of their research online. Here’s your opportunity to entice them into the store and convert the sale.
Tip: Offer a voucher for a small discount to entice web visitors into your store if they have been researching a product you sell. Or allow them to fill in an online form to book a test drive or ask for a sales rep to contact them.
* Donovan Marais, Channel Manager at Sage Pay
When will we stop calling them phones?
If you don’t remember when phones were only used to talk to people, you may wonder why we still use this term for handsets, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, on the eve of the 10th birthday of the app.
Do you remember when handsets were called phones because, well, we used them to phone people?
It took 120 years from the invention of the telephone to the use of phones to send text.
Between Alexander Graham Bell coining the term “telephone” in 1876 and Finland’s two main mobile operators allowing SMS messages between consumers in 1995, only science fiction writers and movie-makers imagined instant communication evolving much beyond voice. Even when BlackBerry shook the business world with email on a phone at the end of the last century, most consumers were adamant they would stick to voice.
It’s hard to imagine today that the smartphone as we know it has been with us for less than 10 years. Apple introduced the iPhone, the world’s first mass-market touchscreen phone, in June 2007, but it is arguable that it was the advent of the app store in July the following year that changed our relationship with phones forever.
That was the moment when the revolution in our hands truly began, when it became possible for a “phone” to carry any service that had previously existed on the World Wide Web.
Today, most activity carried out by most people on their mobile devices would probably follow the order of social media in first place – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all jostling for attention – and instant messaging in close second, thanks to WhatsApp, Messenger, SnapChat and the like. Phone calls – using voice that is – probably don’t even take third place, but play fourth or fifth fiddle to mapping and navigation, driven by Google Maps and Waze, and transport, thanks to Uber, Taxify, and other support services in South Africa like MyCiti, Admyt and Kaching.
Despite the high cost of data, free public Wi-Fi is also seeing an explosion in use of streaming video – whether Youtube, Netflix, Showmax, or GETblack – and streaming music, particularly with the arrival of Spotify to compete with Simfy Africa.
Who has time for phone calls?
The changing of the phone guard in South Africa was officially signaled last week with the announcement of Vodacom’s annual results. Voice revenue for the 2018 financial year ending 31 March had fallen by 4.6%, to make up 40.6% of Vodacom’s revenue. Total revenue had grown by 8.1%, which meant voice seriously underperformed the group, and had fallen by 4% as a share of revenue, from 2017’s 44.6%.
The reason? Data had not only outperformed the group, increasing revenue by 12.8%, but it had also risen from 39.7% to 42.8% of group revenue,
This means that data has not only outperformed voice for the first time – as had been predicted by World Wide Worx a year ago – but it has also become Vodacom’s biggest contributor to revenue.
That scenario is being played out across all mobile network operators. In the same way, instant messaging began destroying SMS revenues as far back as five years ago – to the extent that SMS barely gets a mention in annual reports.
Data overtaking voice revenues signals the demise of voice as the main service and key selling point of mobile network operators. It also points to mobile phones – let’s call them handsets – shifting their primary focus. Voice quality will remain important, but now more a subset of audio quality rather than of connectivity. Sound quality will become a major differentiator as these devices become primary platforms for movies and music.
Contact management, privacy and security will become critical features as the handset becomes the storage device for one’s entire personal life.
Integration with accessories like smartwatches and activity monitors, earphones and earbuds, virtual home assistants and virtual car assistants, will become central to the functionality of these devices. Why? Because the handsets will control everything else? Hardly.
More likely, these gadgets will become an extension of who we are, what we do and where we are. As a result, they must be context aware, and also context compatible. This means they must hand over appropriate functions to appropriate devices at the appropriate time.
I need to communicate only using my earpiece? The handset must make it so. I have to use gesture control, and therefore some kind of sensor placed on my glasses, collar or wrist? The handset must instantly surrender its centrality.
There are numerous other scenarios and technology examples, many out of the pages of science fiction, that point to the changing role of the “phone”. The one thing that’s obvious is that it will be silly to call it a phone for much longer.
MTN 5G test gets 520Mbps
MTN and Huawei have launched Africa’s first 5G field trial with an end-to-end Huawei 5G solution.
The field trial demonstrated a 5G Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) use case with Huawei’s 5G 28GHz mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in a real-world environment in Hatfield Pretoria, South Africa. Speeds of 520Mbps downlink and 77Mbps uplink were attained throughout respectively.
“These 5G trials provide us with an opportunity to future proof our network and prepare it for the evolution of these new generation networks. We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots. It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but it’s a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires. We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realisation of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world.” says Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, at MTN Group.
Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA said: “Next generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high definition video streaming, and cloud gaming require massive capacity and higher user data rates. The use of millimeter-wave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G’s Enhanced Mobile Broadband use cases. MTN and Huawei’s joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa will also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fibre.”
“Huawei is continuing to invest heavily in innovative 5G technologies”, said Edward Deng, President of Wireless Network Product Line of Huawei. “5G mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of 5G technology to deliver exceptional user experience for Enhanced Mobile Broadband applications. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to partner with MTN to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”
“We are excited about the potential the technology will bring as well as the potential advancements we will see in the fields of medicine, entertainment and education. MTN has been investing heavily to further improve our network, with the recent “Best in Test” and MyBroadband best network recognition affirming this. With our focus on providing the South Africans with the best customer experience, speedy allocation of spectrum can help bring more of these technologies to our customers,” says Giovanni.