Ecommerce.co.za

What to expect in 2024

by Rian Van Jaarsveld: Director: Sales and Operations at LOR Technologies.
There is a tremendous amount of information and diverse views online discussing trends. This article provides an opinion-based perspective on local developments that may not always align with international trend standards in this sector.

When one searches and reads up on ecommerce trends, one thing always remains constant: the ecommerce space will experience growth. More and more South Africans are joining the online commerce space, not only as buyers and consumers, but also as sellers. An estimated 6.38 million users are expected to shop online in 2024. The access to the internet continues to spread, bringing in a growing number of individuals into the online retail space, sometimes from unexpected avenues.

Think again about that target market

A surprising trend is developing: Baby Boomers are driving a digital revolution of their own. Data indicates a 57% rise in Boomers utilising TikTok, and they are more likely to make a purchase on that platform than a Gen Z. The takeaway is this: don’t assume it’s only the younger generations driving digital sales; the older folk are there too, spending time and money on social media apps (source: GWI.com). So, revisit your online strategy, and market more products to that target market.

New players will keep on joining in a growing segment

With Amazon launching locally, we can expect changes on the current platforms as competition for distribution and marketplace dominance heats up. More platforms mean more exposure, and vendors will need to keep a close eye on these platforms to maximise exposure and conversion rates. Additionally, more vendors will enter the online business, making this sector highly competitive, with new ideas on old approaches coming from different vendors.

The cashless society

We will also see more local retailers moving towards cashless transactions, which, in a traditional cash market, might receive some backlash. However, most urban areas are already geared towards eliminating cash transactions, favouring ecommerce due to the nature of transactional business. Rural and peri-urban areas will be slower to move to a cashless society, so we can expect growth to be primarily driven from urban areas where distribution is easier than in outlying areas. Nevertheless, there is a challenge and opportunity to get peri-urban areas onboard with ecommerce as the driving force. Considering safety concerns, fewer people carry large amounts of cash these days, so the transition might be faster than expected, with the exception of a segment that want to remain in the cash society.

AI a key driver to better and faster service

Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly play an even bigger role, providing personalised shopping experiences driven by AI models. The one-size-fits-all approach will not be around for too long, as personalised shopping recommendations and offers can now be targeted to individuals based on their online profiles and data available through many digital sources. Re-marketing based on AI models will also become a more prominent feature, allowing for the implementation of smart triggers to engage online shoppers with detailed offers that seem like a tailor-made experience. Expect more tools to hit the market to assist your business on a scalable manner.

In closing

This is an ever changing and growing sector, and trends tend to develop fast, but also some die fast due to the nature of the industry. The onus is on each participant to keep updated on markets, movements and technology that drive these trends. Some factors remain constant like growth trends, available and proven platforms and providers but there is always something new hidden inside of those and more tools and strategies developing to outsmart and outperform your competition.

Useful resources:
LOR Technologies
LOR Technologies is a technology provider for the ecommerce market with LIVE ONLINE RETAIL as their flagship engagement tool.
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