E-commerce, buying and selling products online, is gaining rapid acceptance and growing faster than most expected in South Africa. In 2018, digital commerce was set to make up 1.4% of total retail sales for the year, with 71% of online retailers reporting a profit.
As more and more retailers get in on the e-commerce trend, here’s what you need to know about why you should your shop online.
E-commerce growing fast so get in on it
In South Africa, digital commerce is multiplying at four times the rate of traditional commerce and mobile commerce at eight times. This growth has outstripped the forecasts, with increased investment in online stores than expected. In 2019, apparel stores (stores selling clothing and accessories) were the fastest growing area in online retail.
There is a low bar for entry for new businesses
While established retailers are replicating their traditional stores online, an online shop is a great way for young entrepreneurs to set up their store and innovate. Since creating a platform is cheaper than renting retail space, there are less overheads which make it easier to launch and turn a profit.
A significant factor for e-commerce is social media leverage. In traditional retail stores, trust is earned through face-to-face customer service and assurance and this needs to translate to the online world as well.
While keeping customers up to date on purchases, responding to queries on the actual store are vital, expanding your customer relations to social media can help promote and create a relationship with your customer base.
Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook also allow you to connect your store, making it easier and cheaper to create brand awareness and for customers to redirect to your store after seeing an appealing post while scrolling through their feed.
A global audience
While there are logistical concerns when it comes to shipping overseas compared to locally, putting your shop online removes barriers of borders and means people all over the world can buy your product. This is especially valuable if you are selling a local product that could be of interest to expats and foreing markets.
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