5 digital business trends to look out for in 2024

by Graeme Cumming: Chief Product Officer at iKhokha.
Each new year guarantees innovation in the fintech space, and 2024 will be no exception. Following years of advancement since the pandemic, this year is already poised to bring significant shifts in online selling trends.

Let’s briefly look through emerging patterns that online business owners should keep an eye on and the tools that will unlock value for South Africa’s fast-evolving ecommerce landscape.

1. Going more mobile

In South Africa, like many other emerging markets, mobile devices play increasingly considerable roles in consumers’ lives. Far removed from their initial roles as communication devices, smartphones, tablets and other mobile tools are now shopping companions that provide vital information and a method to pay.

We anticipate a surge in mobile transactions as more consumers seek seamless and convenient shopping and payment experiences. Therefore, businesses that opt for providers that prioritise a seamless mobile experience for users will win big in 2024.

2. The return of QR

Considering new adoption trends, QR codes are re-emerging as a defining force in 2024. While the technology isn’t new, providers are finding new and innovative ways to create value for merchants.

Businesses are increasingly leveraging QR codes for contactless transactions, allowing customers to access information, engage with promotions or make purchases effortlessly. 

3. Hello to hands-free

The QR innovation aligns with global efforts to promote hygiene and reduce physical contact during transactions. This resonates with the evolving preferences of South African consumers, especially since the pandemic.

In the payments landscape, digital cards, wallets and contactless payments are growing in prominence. 

4. Enter the ecommerce giant

The arrival of ecommerce giant Amazon is undoubtedly a game-changer for the local business landscape. Amazon's entry is poised to ignite fierce competition among merchants, compelling them to elevate their services and placing pricing strategies under scrutiny.

While this may create challenges for some, the real winners in this scenario are likely to be niche service providers and merchants who specialise in offering unique, high-quality products and personalised services.

These businesses possess a distinct advantage, as their bespoke offerings cannot be easily replicated on a massive scale. As the competitive landscape evolves, consumers stand to benefit the most, as increased competition tends to drive innovation, lower prices, and enhance overall service quality. The ripple effect of Amazon's presence is expected to raise the tide not only in terms of service standards but also in shaping customer expectations, ultimately contributing to a more dynamic and customer-centric marketplace.

5. Data to dominate

Personalised online experiences show an understanding of customer preferences, which is pivotal for online success. 

Local businesses play a crucial role in shaping our economy, and we’re already developing platforms to empower local sellers. Data-driven CX will lead to the emergence of local ecommerce marketplaces that cater to specific regional needs.

Bonus tip: Safety first

In the digital age, cybersecurity is non-negotiable. The drive towards data security will be a top priority in 2024.

As South Africa navigates the dynamic landscape of ecommerce and online payments in 2024, businesses are gearing up to meet the changing needs and expectations of consumers. With a commitment to innovation and customer-centric strategies, the future of digital commerce in South Africa looks promising.

Useful resources:
iKhokha is a fintech company that develops digital tools to help entrepreneurs start, run and grow their business. This includes the integration of digital wallets and other payment methods for our customers to enjoy greater market flexibility.
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