Businesses are gearing up ahead of time
Lessons have been learned over the years and the more established South African businesses are in the thick of preparations for the shopping extravaganza.
“We have definitely seen a surge in new merchant applications,” says Williamson. “All within the online payment ecosystem are much more aware of the unique needs of e-commerce businesses and so are better positioned to help set up merchants to enable faster payments. From a transactional process point of view, we know we are prepared, as our processing systems now auto scale as the transaction volumes demand, which gives our merchants real peace of mind should their sales hit unexpected peaks during the day.”
The last and lingering impression when shopping online is the act of receiving the product. For retailers both large and small, the last mile in the customer journey can have a direct impact on retaining customers and boosting repeat business.
Grant Gietl, General Manager at World Net Express, says South African businesses need to keep a few vital facts in mind when planning for the delivery logistics associated with Black Friday and other seasonal sales.
“Good logistics companies will track historical data and plan ahead with their ecommerce clients. We have seen that our client deliveries can increase by anything from 30% to 100% during Black Friday promotions, and we make sure we are ready to handle the extra volume by working closely with them in the planning phase.”
World Net Logistics and Express has offices and warehouses in all the major centres in South Africa and owns a fleet of more than 100 vehicles. Gietl says it also has an extensive network of service providers that help it deliver in the more remote areas. He points out that a seamless ecommerce service relies on excellent IT integration with clients.
“Ensuring solid IT integration with your ecommerce partner is extremely important. A higher level of automation allows retailers to easily scale up or down depending on their requirements and creates fewer distribution bottlenecks. Using IT also enables us to use text functionalities reach end customers before attempting delivery. Not only is this important for efficiency, but ensures they receive their goods at a time and place that is convenient for them.”
Williamson leaves local retailers with some important advice: “It’s clear South African consumers are changing their buying behaviour to more closely reflect those seen internationally. Big shopping events, like Black Friday, will become increasingly important to local retailers. When coupled with a sluggish economy, big saving events will draw further attention still and local retailers should ensure they are ready to take advantage of these opportunities.”