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What holds e-shoppers back

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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

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Notre Dame, Scoop Makhathini, GoT, top week in search

From fire disaster to social media disaster, the top Google searches this week covered a wide gamut of themes.

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Paris and the whole world looked on in shock as the 856-year-old medieval Catholic cathedral crumbled into ash. The tragic infernal destruction of this tourist attraction of historical and religious significance led South Africans to generate more than 200 000 search queries for “Notre Dame Cathedral” on Monday. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire that razed the architectural icon.

In other top trending searches on Google this week, radio presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi, AKA Scoop Makhathini, went viral when it appeared he had taken to Twitter to expose his girlfriend, Akhona Carpede, for cheating on him. Scoop has since come out to say that he was not responsible for the bitter rant and that his account was hacked. “Scoop Makhathini” generated more than 20 000 search queries on Wednesday.

Fans generated more than 20 000 search queries for “Sam Smith” on Tuesday ahead of the the British superstar’s Cape Town performance at the Grand West Casino. Smith ended up cutting his performance short that night due to vocal strain.

Local Game of Thrones superfans were beside themselves on Sunday, searching the internet high and low for the first episode of the American fantasy drama’s eighth season. “Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 1” generated more than 100 000 queries on Google Search on the weekend.

As the festivities kicked off in California with headliners such as Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, South Africans generated more than 2 000 search queries for “Coachella” on Saturday.

South Africans generated more than 5 000 search queries for “Wendy Williams” on Friday  as it emerged that the American talk show host had filed for divorce from her husband Kevin Hunter after 21 years of marriage. Hunter has long been rumored to have been cheating on Williams, which reportedly finally led to the divorce.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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5G smartphones to hit 5M sales in 2019

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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Early 5G smartphone models will be expensive and available in limited volumes. Samsung, LG and Huawei will be the early 5G smartphone leaders this year, followed by Apple next year.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We forecast global 5G smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Less than 1 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide will be 5G-enabled this year. Global 5G smartphone shipments are tiny for now, due to expensive device pricing, component bottlenecks, and restricted availability of active 5G networks.”

Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung will be the early 5G smartphone leader in the first half of 2019, due to initial launches across South Korea and the United States. We predict LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola and others will follow later in the year, followed by Apple iPhone with its first 5G model during the second half of 2020. The iPhone looks set to be at least a year behind Samsung in the 5G smartphone race and Apple must be careful not to fall too far behind.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The short-term outlook for 5G smartphones is weak, but the long-term opportunity remains huge. We forecast 1 billion 5G smartphones to ship worldwide per year by 2025. The introduction of 5G networks, by carriers like Verizon or China Mobile, opens up high-speed, ultra-low-latency services such as 8K video, streaming games, and augmented reality for business. The next big question for the mobile industry is how much extra consumers are really willing to pay, if anything, for those emerging 5G smartphones and services.”

Strategy Analytics provides a snapshot analyses for the outlook for 5G smartphone market in this Insight report: 5G Smartphones : From Zero to a Billion

Strategy Analytics provides a deep-dive into the air-interface technologies that will power phones through 2024 across 88 countries here: Global Handset Sales Forecast by 88 Countries and 19 Technologies : 2003 to 2024

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