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Ecommerce

  • Google’s possible buy button — a local watering hole for retailers and consumers

    If I am not onto something by now then I will eat my digital hat. Google, is announcing the creation of a fricken “Buy Button.” According to my market-o-meter (a personal fictional invention), this looks like a gap forming between retailers and consumers. If this excitement over online shopping is a shock for you, check out South Africa’s Instacart moment and school yourself on what I believe is bubbling beneath today's consumerist market. The Wall Street Journal reported this on the search engine's movements: “The search giant will start showing the buttons when people search for products on...

  • Mobile payments: leaving your wallet at home suddenly doesn’t seem so weird

    It’s Saturday morning. The day is beautiful and you decide to go for a jog. You plug the headphones into your phone and hit the open road. Halfway into the run, you get thirsty and decide to stop at a nearby coffee shop to grab something to drink. You reach into your pocket to grab your wallet, but of course you left it at home… If it was 1998 – or even a couple of years ago – you might’ve had a problem. Today, however, with mobile point-of-sale (POS), you can pay with your phone. A recent report by Berg...

  • Buy shoes with your watch: wearable tech’s transformative power on retail

    The days of going online to buy the next addition to your wardrobe, a power bank for your laptop or even your groceries are passé. Why open up a laptop and browse through a bunch of tabs when you can just look at something you like and buy it instantly? OK, I might be exaggerating a little bit here. But the reality of wearable technology becoming as commonplace as mobile phones is not too far. In fact, just as mobile phones have become the next big thing for online shopping, wearables are the superstars in waiting for the burgeoning...

  • Me&you mobile is South Africa’s first lean ecommerce mobile network

    If you've been taking the Gautrain in Jozi recently or followed the #BeUnordinary hashtag, you'd have come across these orange banners with the winking cartoon face, tempting you to reconsider your mobile contract. The campaign is the workings of me&you mobile -- a new mobile network in South Africa which plans to officially launch 4 May as South Africa's first ecommerce mobile network. "We operate completely online, sign-up via the website takes only a few minutes -- including RICA and number porting -- and even customer service can be done via consumer friendly channels like Whatsapp," me&you mobile CEO Brett...

  • 5 hot tips for turning browsers into buyers

    It’s the blight of every ecommerce site. Spend huge amounts of money on attracting visitors. The visitors look around for a while, click on a few things here and there and then move on without buying a thing. What a waste! But what if you do something so interesting or so outrageous that a passing visitor has no choice but to put down some cash and have a piece of it. Here’s an attempt to move out of being deserted by site visitors and moving into being actively courted by them. 1. Lure them with window merchandising This may seem like a no-brainer,...

  • Wake up call: why mobile money should matter to the South African government

    Speaking at The Economist Conference in Johannesburg, late 2014, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said, “There is a perception that financial inclusion efforts will necessarily lead to increased financial risk and hence have a negative effect on financial stability. However, if financial inclusion is approached from a systemic perspective and pursued responsibly, the opposite is true”. This tells, without a doubt, that government is eager for a nation where no one is financially excluded; where the poor, the marginalised and those who live in far-flung areas have no access to banks and other financial services. Mobile money is an efficient...

  • Facebook introduces free payments on Messenger

    Facebook has revealed that users can send money to other users using the Messenger app at no charge. Facebook Messenger payments will roll out first in the US over the coming months. The feature lets users connect their Visa or Mastercard debit card and tap a “$” button to send friends money on iOS, Android, and desktop. One of the big benefits of sending money on mobile is the convenience of it, both in its easy way to send money and that it is always a mobile handset away. While the feature is available on desktop too, its popularity will...

  • Even if your business is online only, you need to make your call centre a priority

    As we move further into the world of ecommerce, e-education,e-administration and even e-society, first (and second and third) impressions are increasingly made not by your sales team, but by brand touchpoints like your website, ecommerce platform, and of course, your customer care centre. You can build the perfect website with word-class payment facilities, but there will always be those customers who need to contact the customer support team. The call centre is often the only place where human interaction happens for an online business, with your agents becoming the only human voice your business presents to many of its customers....

  • Cape Town startup throws its weight behind Cape fire rescue efforts [update]

    As raging fires in the Cape's Southern Peninsula continued today, rain finally brought relief to some of the firefighting efforts although it wasn't enough to complete douse the flames. As firefighters continue working tirelessly, various companies have started using the power of social media to bring support to these firefighting volunteers. Through its LeadSA initiative, Primedia started a #FireRadiothon hoping to get the public donating R 2-million by 7pm tonight: Will give you a call if short "@Abramjee: #FireRadiothon Dear @brucebusiness - You have to ensure R2m target is reached...you have till 7pm — Bruce Whitfield (@brucebusiness) March 4, 2015 Now big banks...

  • Is South Africa ready for B2B-scale ecommerce?

    Ecommerce in South Africa is enjoying explosive growth, with the total internet shopping spend in 2014 estimated to be near the R6-billion mark, increasing exponentially over the last decade from R688-million in 2006. However ecommerce in South Africa is still in its infancy compared to the rest of the world, especially when it comes to B2B ecommerce. Everyone has heard of the large consumer sites where every day millions of people purchase everything from laptops to groceries. What most consumers don’t see is the $1.25-trillion business-to-business (B2B) industry, where companies sell to other businesses rather than directly to consumers. This...

  • Upwardly mobile: the power of a united approach to African payment innovation

    The growing use of banking services in South Africa is driven by a national rollout of social security debit cards and strong economic growth across finance, real estate and business services sectors. According to the Banking Association of South Africa, just under a quarter of the adult population (23.5%) remains unbanked. The rapid adoption of feature phones, smartphones and online technology has positive implications for financial inclusion policies and growth of payment electronification. It is also providing new, highly-convenient ways for consumers to pay themselves (through deposits and transfers), other people, bills and retailers. What could a mobile...

  • Google predicts massive growth in African ecommerce by 2017

    Google South Africa is seeing considerable growth in Africa’s ecommerce space and expects 2015 to be another growth year. Luke Mckend, country director for Google South Africa, spoke at the eCommerce Africa Confex in Cape Town this week, where he shared stats on how Africans are increasingly Googling with the intent to buy. “We see a story of growth,” says Mckend. “Search is growing much faster than in mature internet economies.” Despite 2014 being a “tough year” for online businesses, Google has seen a 37% increase in query volume for South Africa, 49% in Nigeria and 33% in Kenya. “What’s particularly...

  • Pargo’s pick up points hope to innovate South Africa’s growing ecommerce

    Dutch founders Lars Veul and Derk Hoekert recently showcased their ecommerce solution called Pargo at the eCommerce Confex Africa. We caught up with them to see what all the fuss is about around pick up points. Both have a strong background in ecommerce and have over the last two years help grow the online classifieds site Groupon SA. While trying to sort out Groupon’s ecommerce strategy, the pair immediately saw a gap.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • South African ecommerce won’t be a big force: here’s why

    At each of the ecommerce conferences he's attended over the last two decades the same lie was spread: ecommerce is booming. Massmart’s ecommerce executive Colin Fleming says that's simply not true. “It has taken off across the world, not here . As a sales channel -- for many structural reasons -- it is not going to be a big force in South Africa.” Having said that, Fleming certainly doesn’t believe there’s no value in the ecommerce space, considering he’s spent over 20 years trying to figure it out. Back in 1997 Fleming was responsible for the very first online store...

  • From powerhouses to peers: how the balance of power has shifted in ecommerce

    The media has devoted enough columns that talk of disruption and disintermediation for the terms to be dismissed as mere buzzwords, but buzz aside, it is been proven that disruptors have entered the market that will be impossible to dislodge: customers. The big players who have spotted this trend are scrambling to take part in the new sharing economy – Facebook has jumped at the chance to partner with Airbnb as an “identity on demand” provider, whereas Verizon in the States launched an automated car rental service and app. The smart phone is allowing consumers to take charge of aspects...