How to take your ecommerce business to the next level

Growing from a small or mid-sized ecommerce store to a significant player in the market takes time, the right strategy and – most importantly – consumer trust.

Deloitte Digital’s report ‘Digital Commerce Acceleration: Increased online purchases present new opportunities for digital commerce players’ finds that over 70% of South African respondents now shop online at least once a month, 27% do so weekly, and 7% shop online daily. The report said the number of online shoppers in South Africa was expected to grow from 22 million in 2020 to 32 million 2024. While online shopping volumes are soaring overall, the report found certain key factors influenced the stores shoppers support and those they don’t.

Most concerns relate to issues of trust: will the brand protect customer data, deliver as promised, and offer the expected returns and refunds? A top concern of 86% of respondents was the security of online payments; and 88% said being able to transact effectively at checkout was an influencing factor when choosing an online store.

Security and ease of use of payment mechanisms likewise influence buying behaviour and will continue to do so as more consumers move online.

But in future, payments will have to be more than secure and simple – they will also have to accommodate a multiple of payment methods. While most South African online shoppers pay with a mainstream debit or credit card, the Mastercard New Payments Index shows that 95% of South African consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as biometrics, contactless or QR codes in the next year.

Says Peach Payments Head of SME Growth & Marketing Joshua Shimkin: “To scale your online business and keep customers coming back, you have to have a responsive site that’s easy to navigate, but most importantly, you have to make it safe and easy for them to conclude their purchases. You need a payment gateway that accommodates a vast array of payment methods, and a smooth checkout experience.”

“Trust is the first building block of a successful digital business – it doesn’t matter if you start small, with only one or a handful of products for sale. What really keeps customers coming back is ease of use and trust in your business,” he says.

“Running a successful online store requires my business partner and I to constantly think about the customer experience. From ordering their flowers, paying at checkout to receiving the delivery, the process has to be smooth so that each customer is delighted when shopping with us. Using the right technology platforms is critical as it relieves technical hassles and lets us focus on building the business,” says Julia Rosslee, founder of Julep Flowers.

“It’s been interesting to see how online sales have grown over the last two years for our business,” says Thys Benson, Ecommerce Manager at TOMS Sound & Music. “We have some big ticket items that have been purchased online which tells us that South Africans are becoming more comfortable shopping at stores they trust.”

Here are five ways to help take your online business to the next level:
  1. Future-proof your payments gateway to accommodate as many payment methods as possible, including: Mastercard, Visa, Mobicred, Masterpass, Instant EFT, 1Voucher, Apple Pay, with integrations into Shopify, Wix, Magento and WooCommerce. 
  2. Check your payment gateway’s track record on support, payment success and retry functionality (which means your customers can try different payment methods if they choose without retyping their details) – a small difference in the payments success rate can mean a major difference in return customers and overall revenue.
  3. As the world becomes your marketplace, ensure that you are able to accept debit and credit cards from anywhere in the world.
  4. Make sure your payment gateway is as responsive, secure and easy to use on mobile devices as they are on laptops or PCs.
  5. Build trust by assuring delivery and returns as promised – through a partnership with a reputable courier; and by being always-on and responsive to queries and complaints via the channel of your customer’s choice - phone, email or WhatsApp - seven days a week.

Useful resources:
Peach Payments
The trusted African payment gateway with easy ecommerce integrations and personalised multi-channel support.
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