South Africa’s online retail sector was previously considered as small in comparison to international markets. The emergence of a global pandemic made the country wake up to the possibility of expansion in scope and in value. Online shopping has been one of the digital trends with huge growth potential to look out for in 2020, but the outbreak of COVID-19 fast tracked what would have been fully realized in the next 3-5 years in South Africa.

This time period in history exposed the challenges facing the e-commerce sector in Africa’s most advanced economy, putting strain on the capacity of large retailers, and even greater pressure on delivery startups. Overcoming these challenges for companies operating in the e-commerce space will set the industry leaders apart from the rest.

The former lockdown restrictions drove an upward trajectory in online spending. According to Borderless Access, a research and insight company, 16% of South Africans are shopping online more than before. The pandemic evidently influenced a huge increase in e-commerce adoption among businesses (including Omni channel retailers) and consumers who otherwise may not have entered the online market anytime soon.

The global increase in the demand for online shopping warrants an increase in penetration into the market by businesses so they can become a part of the rise. While South Africa is still lagging behind with the e-commerce progression, we can assume that it will continue to grow. The pandemic has changed the way we live, shop, and interact; and we need to make certain that e-commerce caters to everyone while closing the remaining digital gap.

Here are three reasons why you need to start thinking about an e-commerce website for your business:

  1. Convenience and broadening your brand

Unlike most physical stores that operate within a time period per day, online stores allow consumers to make a purchase at any time of the day. Social distancing has now become a norm, and to avoid physical contact with other people, consumers have now opted for this flexible solution that allows them to enjoy the safety and comfort of their own home. The advantages of having the freedom to make a purchase at any time, as well as the much valued online customer care have become a necessity. We also cannot dismiss proper product delivery as it is pivotal for ensuring brand loyalty and advocacy – this is one of the challenges that the South African online market still has to overcome.

2. Scalable

As your business grows it is very likely you’ll want to grow your product range and your target audience, as well as develop your business for customer requirements and consumer demand. An e-commerce site lets you scale your business accordingly, allowing you to add more lines, add more payment options, and even grow when you choose to ship to, without having to worry about changing your location or moving to larger premises as you might with a physical store.

3. Marketing tools

Your website is one of the best marketing tools you can have as a business. Implementing SEO on your e-commerce site will increase the chances of your business being discovered by potential consumers through search engines, and you can aide your reach by using additional methods and tools such as pay per click advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing, all of which can include links to the website.

Expand your reach and increase your online sales by investing in an e-commerce website to suit your customer needs:

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