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Ecommerce

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • Amazon’s very busy 2014: more than five-billion items shipped

    Amazon has revealed record figures for 2014. The ecommerce colossus shipped about five billion items in 2014, with more than 40% of those products sold by third-party sellers. The company claims that its third party sellers sold more than two billion items in 2014 worldwide. Amazon also reports that sellers on Amazon from more than 100 different countries around the world fulfilled orders to customers in 185 countries using the FBA service. Read more: Kickstarter’s 2014 score card shows a total of $529 million pledged by 3.3 million backers Peter Faricy, head of Amazon’s third party selling operation, said “It’s been a...

  • 5 SEO tips for optimising your Magento store

    Since its inception in 2008, Magento has grown in popularity from a simple niche ecommerce platform into a universally-respected Content Management System for the online business space. With over 200 000 online stores established over Magento platform, choosing it for your upcoming ecommerce project makes a lot of sense. With simple visual customisation, Magento online stores are easy to set up for exceptional search engine optimization, but often we make big SEO mistakes for Magento projects and that in turn leads to lower conversion rates. Importance of SEO in boosting your ecommerce sales No matter who you are, you must be...

  • We’re moving from electronic-commerce to ‘everywhere-commerce’

    If we think back 10 to 15 years ago, we could not have imagined shopping online or the increasing importance of online retail in today’s society. Now, we can shop for almost anything from our personal computers, smartphones and tablets; from anywhere in the country and have it delivered to our doorstep. According to an ecommerce report issued by Effective Measure / IAB South Africa during February 2014, roughly 23% of online shoppers in South Africa buy using their tablets and another 23% purchase using their smartphones. The online buyer is used to buying books, music, computer hardware, DVD’s,...

  • Mirror mirror on the wall: eBay to put interactive mirrors in fitting rooms

    eBay wants to reach the brick and mortar world, and it is doing so with the flair that is to be expected of a tech savvy store. The company wants to erect interactive mirrors in its stores too enhance the shopping experience. The feature is already being modeled at the Rebecca Minkof store in New York and San Francisco with other partnerships in more cities in the pipeline. When walking into the store, shoppers are greeted with large mirrors that double as touchscreens. No longer will it be a must to physically search for clothes whilst messing up neatly packed clothes...

  • 6 ways retailers can own 2015

    With the festive season already here, the retail sector is in the spotlight. How the sector fares is an indication of the economy’s health and retailers are under pressure to perform. Offshore retailers have successfully used mobile to connect with customers, but can SA brands unlock mobile value too? Lynette Hundermark looks at mobile trends and the new tech of SA’s retail economy. There are just over 37 million adults in South Africa today, and if you want to reach them, there’s no better way than to use mobile technology. About 36 million people who are 15 and older have a...