Whether you’re a bookworm who frequently visits the Exclusive Books’ website or a techie who always finds a gadget on Takealot – there’s an online shop for everyone.
Although online shopping isn’t the default shopping choice for South Africans, this is changing.
In January of 2015 Statistica.com reported that 40% of internet users worldwide bought products online – that’s 1 billion online shoppers. This amount will increase as more efficient encryption and security measures are developed.
In South Africa the percentage of buyers is around 22% and 48% of internet users claim they might be using the internet for shopping in future. (Survey conducted by IPSOS on behalf of PayPAL and FNB) If we consider that South Africa has the best developed economy in Africa and 86% adults own a cellphone, predictions by IPSOS and Statistica.com aren’t so far-fetched.
Studies show a noteworthy increase in internet purchases, as well as the amount users spend.
The SA council of shopping centres (SACSC) claim that serious internet users already conduct 50% of their shopping online and spend up to R2500 per month. Lighter users make around 14 transactions and spend R350 per month. Shoppers also tend to first do research on a product online and then buy it in the shop.
But where do South Africans like to shop and what do we buy? Woolworths, Exclusive Books and Pick ‘n Pay’s online versions seem to be most popular, while exclusively online shops Kalahari.com, Takealot and Amazon take preference. On the clothing front Zando and Spree totaled a low 9% in 2014.
Popular choices are digital products, event tickets, travel and clothing.
Security remains the biggest reason for not buying online. According to Statistica.com 38% of their respondents don not trust security on the internet enough to do payments online.
Security shouldn’t be a problem when an online shop’s website is PCI DSS certified or uses good encryption methods like 3D secure. As with any other website, trust your instincts and don’t shop and divulge your bank details on unknown or suspicious sites. Rather stick to legitimate, safe shops like Takealot, Zando, Spree, etc.
Some internet users are under the impression that you need a credit card when shopping online. This isn’t the case. Online shops have been adding various other payment options to accommodate shoppers. External payment companies like PayPal ensure that transactions are more secure and if you do feel uneasy divulging credit card details, pay with a bank EFT. Some shops even give you the choice to pay cash when your order is delivered.
Tangibility and quality guarantee is another consumer concern. More effective procedures have been put into place and consumers can easily return a product they’re not satisfied with.
On the upside, online shopping is convenient and easy. It gives you the opportunity to choose between a wide selection of products, some sourced worldwide and pick the price best suited to your pocket. You don’t have to wait weeks for your purchase to be delivered. Good online shops will deliver within 24 hours if they have the product in stock.
By the end of this decade e-commerce in Africa will expand by 20 times and according to McKinsey & Company, by 2025 10% of retail sales will be done online.
Whether we like it or not, online shops are here to stay and hopefully we as consumers will be the ones who benefit from it.
[SOURCES: www.mybroadband.co.za; www.ventureburn.com; www.eprop.co.za; www.itnewsafrica.com]