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Mobile shopping on the rise in SA

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As the festive season approaches, more and more shoppers are going ‚mobi’ to avoid the mad holiday rush, according to Kalahari.com.

‚Based on the astounding uptake in our mobi services, Santa’s little helper this Christmas will be mobile shopping platforms,‚ says Gary Novitzkas, CEO of leading online retailer, kalahari.com.

When kalahari.com launched its mobile platform in March this year, it recorded growth of 40% within its first month. Since then, during the period January ‚ September, the mobile retail site has increased visits by over 200%

Previously, the company had been receiving about 65 000 visits per month to its mobile site with minimal growth. Since the launch of the dedicated mobi site, it is now seeing more than 200,000 visits per month “and growing daily””.

Over 70% of South Africa’s population own a mobile phone and mobile internet access is fast surpassing PC internet access making mobile a channel that cannot be ignored as an important commercial channel. The World Wide Worx Mobility study released in February this year conservatively estimates the mobile Internet universe to be at six million mobile Internet browsers strong.

It’s no surprise then that a recent Mobile Shopping Survey conducted by kalahari.com not only shows that 51% of connected South Africans access the mobile Internet every day, but that they also have intent to transact. In fact, 26% of respondents have already made a purchase and a further 53% are considering it.

Regarding what products they were most likely to purchase on a mobile shopping site, no clear leading categories emerged. Applications, flight tickets, airtime, books, CDs and DVDs, music downloads and games all received 10% to 13% votes – in line with the findings of the Mobile Consumer in SA 2011 study by World Wide Worx.

Electronic devices such as mobile phones and groceries each saw 5% response. In terms of what customers are actually buying on the Kalahari mobi site, books are the nukber one category, followed by DVDs, games and electronics.

‚Mobile shopping is still a small base of overall transaction volume but we expect it to overtake PC as the most sought after way to access the Internet and transact in coming years. As an online retailer, this has resulted in another channel to market and therefore a slightly different sales platform,‚ says Novitzkas.

As shoppers become more comfortable with mobile commerce, he says, it is likely that higher priced items such as electronics will start to dominate sales, as is the case online.

‚Our aim is to alleviate the stress of Christmas shopping by making it as convenient as possible to access online content wherever you are, an extensive range of over 8 million products at the best prices. ‚Shopping on the move’ allows shoppers to compare prices, research gift ideas, redeem electronic vouchers and watch for special deals all in the spirit of saving precious time and money,‚ says Novitzkas.

Some tips to help you shop smartly with your mobile phone this festive season

1. Product reviews ‚ do your research and pull up the reviews of products before purchasing to avoid buyer’s remorse.

2. Price comparisons ‚ go in store with your mobile device and compare prices using kalahari.com. Consumers regularly find prices on kalahari.comexceptionally lower than those in store.

3. Pre-order your gifts ‚ be prepared and pre-order goods that have not even hit the shelves yet. This way you avoid disappointment and won’t miss out.

4. Keep organised ‚ consider an app to keep track of your receipts & one to keep your holiday shopping lists handy. This will ensure your mobi purchases are organised and help you avoid overspending.

5. Use retailers that have a dedicated mobile site as it’s quicker to search and find what you’re looking, and the site is formatted to be read easily on a small screen.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @gadgetza

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