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Online retail set to soar in 2015

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Online retail is set to soar this year as fears of using credit cards and submitting personal information over the Internet start to diminish, says SHANNON MACKRILL.

There is no doubt that South Africans love to shop – gone are the tedious days of packing your family into a mini van, battling the road rage and then having to argue for a parking bay at the mall.

In comes ecommerce. Online retailing in Africa is growing at such a rapid rate with already well over 800 retail sites in South Africa alone, according to Internet researchers World Wide Worx.

In a recent report released by the International World Statistics, the number of Internet users on the African continent has grown at 7 times the global average, hitting a 3,600% growth between 2000 and 2012, to a total of 167 million users. This of course means that there are over 3 billion humans on the Internet at any given time, and that only 40% of the world today is connected to the Internet. The report goes on to state that the first billion of users was only achieved in 2005, the second in 2010, and the third in 2014.

Although nothing can really replace the actual physical shopping experience: online shopping is increasingly becoming popular as fears of using credit cards and submitting personal information, such as delivery details online: further diminishes each day. More consumers are getting in on the action with banking sectors supporting a vastly growing m-commerce sector by enabling mobile transactions and payments through platforms such as PayPal.

The report also revealed that, globally, mobile broadband would see a growth of 32% by the end of 2014 with a 21% penetration in developing countries. With Africa leading the growth at close to 20% in 2014, its no wonder ecommerce is dominating the headlines, and marketing strategies.

From FMCG to manufacturing and luxury goods, industries across the board are successfully moving their enterprise forward into a new domain and into the ecommerce space. Developing their own online retail platforms, companies are aiming to produce a rich, user-centric and consumer-focused online retail experience, which matches their expectations.

The eCommerce Africa Conference & Exhibition will bring together senior-level ecommerce and marketing professionals from all major industries, in the aim to educate, inform and inspire entrepreneurs and businesses alike. The event will take place from 3 – 4 February 2015 at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa. Offering a world-class exhibition coupled with a unique conference program, which will include tech demo sessions, networking opportunities, and supplier demonstrations: the event promises to be a success in the industry, and an event not to be missed.

Event highlights include an expert-led advisory panel which includes Raphael Afaedor, Co-Founder of Jumia, and CEO and Co-Founder of Supermart: Jaco Jonker, CEO of bidorbuy.co.za: and Paul Galatis, Director of Yuppiechef.com.

Showcasing over 30 solution providers, the event offers access to best-of-breed technology, applications, and solutions to help your business build a more robust ecommerce site, attract and convert web traffic, and deliver a greater customer experience.

Some exhibitors and sponsors include industry giants such as: FNB, Dimension Data, iGroup, Trustwave South Africa, Amazon Web Services, PayPal, PayFast, Nedbank, BuyDirect, RAM Couriers, and AWA Digital and eSolutions.

Exhibition and tech demo session tickets cost R120 per person for the duration of the display, for full conference and panel discussion ticket prices, and for more information on the event or to register to attend, visit www.ecommerce-africa.com or contact the event organisers Kinetic on +27 21 180 4700.

* Shannon Mackrill, joint MD Kinetic, hosts of the eCommerce Africa Conference and exhibition 2015.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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