There is a distinctly upbeat air from two of South Africa’s best-known online retailers, Exclusives.co.za and Kalahari.com. Unsurprisingly, both have their sights set on the opportunities that mobile brings, but in the meantime are finding South Africans keen online shoppers.
Exclusives.co.za’s General Manager, Ben Williams, maintains it’s getting down to basics that is key to attracting and retaining online shoppers in South Africa. Success is down to “boring, basic stuff” he says.
Key to Williams’ strategy is “good marketing of good pricing”. Online prices must beat the prices in physical stores and then be communicated effectively. For instance, says Williams, although Exclusives.co.za is known to be good for books, he is working to build awareness of its pricing in other categories as well, such as e-books, music and games.
Secondly a commitment to delivery is vital, says Williams. And this is not delivery in the marketing weasel-word sense, this refers to the actual delivery of a physical item to a customer within the time promised. And once an expectation has been set, it can be a huge challenge to meet this: for instance a book might need to be delivered from the west coast of America, rather than the east, adding a week to the delivery time.
“Logistics are crucial,” says Williams. “Businesses that have watertight supply chains are winning.”
Finally, security is the third key factor in attracting and retaining online shoppers, says Williams. Here, as well as the usual digital trust certifications, such as Thawte, Exclusives.co.za benefits from the affiliation with a known and established offline store, Exclusive Books. “This provides an element of built-in trust,” says Williams.