Key to Business Survival in South Africa: e-Commerce
e-Commerce is Key to Business Survival in South Africa
The COVID-19 virus has not only triggered social distancing and isolation but has radically impacted South Africans and their buying habits. The pandemic has necessitated that consumers do more of their shopping online, catalysing growth in e-Commerce and positive attitudes towards it. As we become more accustomed to level 4 of lockdown and the restrictions that accompany it, Kantar research found that 22% of surveyed consumers say they are now using online shopping more frequently, and 42% of people under 35 say they are shopping less at physical outlets in favour of e-Commerce.
Online shopping – the new normal?
Retailers have taken this opportunity to up their game and use the crisis to their advantage. “No contact” deliveries have become a great initiative to minimise human-to-human contact while maximising sales opportunities. This business model will become a useful tool in assisting other businesses who are looking for ideas on how to best manage the pandemic while adhering to the level 4 lockdown restrictions.
As of 14 May, most e-Commerce sectors officially opened as government begins the process of lessening the limitations of level 4 while preparing to move to level 3 by the end of May. This means that more businesses can reopen and opt to sell their products and or services online, while businesses that had previously been selling goods online are now able to sell their full product offering.
e-Commerce and the economy
The current forecast is that the global e-retail (a sub-set of the total e-Commerce market) transactions value will reach $4.8 trillion by 2024, up from $3.3 trillion in 2020, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The firm said this growth would be driven by emerging markets, as payment providers seek new revenue streams in emerging markets to mitigate slow growth in developed markets. Accelerating financial inclusion via MFS (mobile financial services), QR code payments, and carrier billing will be crucial. The research found that mobile payments not requiring a linked bank account, offer significant possibilities for e-Commerce payments in developing markets.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a tremendous amount of strain on our already suffering economy. The e-Commerce sector has provided a beacon of hope to our economy. Government has finally taken note of this and allowed these businesses to operate without restrictions – extending their current offerings and providing a new, steady stream of revenue for our country,” said Sifiso Skenjana, Chief Economist and Thought Leadership Executive at IQbusiness.
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“During this time, it is more important than ever to ensure that businesses are able to predict and navigate change. We want to enable them to make use of this time to rethink their current business model and make changes where necessary to stay relevant during the current pandemic as well as the future beyond that,” said Kerry Thomas, Head of Customer Experience at IQbusiness.
Once the crisis is over, businesses should expect that some new habits will endure, and brands will need to be ready for new omnichannel behaviours as shoppers explore, compare, and buy interchangeably across online and brick-and-mortar stores. This is the time to adapt, to evolve and to move forward.LISTEN HERE