Pivot your Company for the Covid-19 eCommerce Boom

During the ‘pandemic’ eCommerce is booming! Prior to Covid-19, South African shoppers were generally ‘slower’ to adopt to online shopping. However, according to a Nielsen Study, The New Shopper Normal, the general buying behaviours of South Africans have changed. People are not buying in bulk anymore, but are preferring quick trips to the shops, or avoiding them altogether by switching to online shopping. 

Recently, companies like Mobicred, FNB and CM.com released online sales statistics for the first half of the year. Online sales measured via these platforms increased around 30-40%. Unsurprisingly, home and office furniture, technology, retail and groceries have seen considerable growth as a result of the current “stay home economy”. 

Companies with products to sell have heard this call and are pivoting their businesses towards eCommerce. However, as lush as the opportunities for eCommerce in South Africa are, so also are the associated challenges. eCommerce is more than just the adding of a “Shop” to a current website. It should form part of a company’s bigger branding plan and requires a lot of attention to detail.  

Long waiting times, poor customer service, straining eCommerce sites and lack of communication, simply cannot form part of any online strategy. The moment to seize eCommerce is now, but here’s what companies should consider prioritising first: 

1. Customer Experience 

Treat your online customers to the same (or even better) experience they would expect in-store. Wow their senses! 

You would regularly refresh your window display – do the same with your online store’s landing page; in-store would have arranged and grouped items in practical places making it easy to find – do the same online. 

In a physical shop, customers would be able to touch and examine an item. Online this isn’t possible but take all the guesswork out of it by providing multiple product pictures featuring various angles. Style the item so your customers can get a better idea of how it could look in a home/on a person/ on a plate etc. 

In-store customers would also expect assistance and a quick and friendly check-out experience – give them all of this and MORE online too! 

2. Mobile 

Online shopping via mobile phones equates for nearly half of the total online sales. With 22-million active social media users it is easy to see why mobile shopping is doing so well. From engaging with a brand on social media through to purchasing the product at an online store via a smartphone, streamlines the journey from wanting something to owning it.  

Your eCommerce website must therefore be mobile responsive.  

3. Hosting 

Companies, serious about eCommerce, will also be very serious about the quality of their web hosting. The two work hand-in-hand. A website can only function as optimally as the hosting platform allows it to.  

Secure, reliable and fast hosting will ensure that your store will always be ready for an influx of traffic. Unsure if your current hosting is cutting the mustard? Click here

4. Customer Service 

In dealing with a physical shop a disgruntled customer would normally ask to speak to management. This face-to-face or telephonic encounter with a manager would usually solve the issue within minutes. The customer would be back next week, the incident long forgotten.  

Disgruntled online customers are risky. Their discontent could easily turn into a bad public online review. Keep your shoppers happy! Process orders quickly and communicate any delays immediately. 

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