South African online retail industry on the move


By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

Although the Online retail sector is lagging in South Africa – the industry leadership remains optimistic that better day are coming.

And a conference led by a leading speaker panel from companies such as Google and Zando is to be held in Cape Town on October 10 and 11, to tackle the critical issues facing South Africa’s online retail community.

According to the Trade Conferences International, retail conducted online in SA, accounts for only 0.5% of the country’s total retail sales. When this is compared to figures of other European and Asian countries these statistics can jump up to 10% of total retail sales.

And this shows not only the potential of the online market but also dictates as to where the Southern African market will be in the future as innovation, secure payment methods and an online retail culture develop.

Furthermore, studies suggest that 80% of online retailers are profitable with a mere 1% of business running a loss online.

Essentially, with the internet becoming faster and cheaper, coupled with the majority of the potential market having a smart phone, tablet or both, the possible
retailing channels are ever expanding. This shows an increased need to not only have a website available to customers but also making available a compatible mobile site.

“Over 15% of customers first research the prices and availability of products using their smart phone, before going onto either purchasing the product online or in store. This being said and done, it has been shown that 30% of online purchases are made on tablets.

“South African consumers are becoming increasingly techno savvy, online retailers and service providers not only need to keep abreast of current trends and
technological advancements but constantly have to be one step ahead by innovating and offering cutting edge advancements to the market.

“These and other critical issues are being covered in the upcoming On-line Retailing Conference which will be hosted on 10 and 11 of October 2012 at the Southern Sun Cape Sun in Cape Town.

This event will be highlighting the most important aspects regarding online retailing such as trends impacting on online retailing, omni channel retailing, multi-channel approach to growing online, the CPA in retail and convenient secure payments for internet shoppers.

Alessandro Traini, Project Manager at TCI, said that registrations are picking up: “With major retailers and service providers already registered to attend, we expect this event to be a massive success. I believe this is the perfect opportunity for industry specialists and leaders to network with fellow online professionals in order to forge invaluable relationships.”

Trade conferences Internationals fourth bi-annual Online Retailing Conference Cape Town 2012 will bring together technology, innovation, management, implementation, governance, security and industry leaders in the melting pot of twenty-first century online retailing.

“Previous attendee companies that have benefited from attending the previous online events include Exclusive Books, First National Bank, Woolworths, Foschini Group, Dischem, Hi-Fi Corporation, Wetherlys, DSTV Online, Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Hulettes, Sasol, Telkom, The Spar Group, Electrolux SA, Nedbank, ADS 24, Micros SA, Mr Price and the South African Post Office.

In addition, TCI have assembled the best possible speaker panel who are all experts in the field of online retailing, marketing, law, and security. They will provide for interactive discussions on what is relevant in today’s online retailing market.

Interact with prestigious speakers such as Avinesh Pillay, the Industry Manager for Google; Manuel Koser, the Cofounder and Managing Director of Zando; Craig Ballantyne, the Managing Director for Fastmoving; Amanda Cromhout, the Managing Director of Truth and Danie Strachan, Partner at Adams and Adams.

This conference will bring forth answers to questions such as:

Are South African retailers ready for this apocalyptic invasion of digital retailing? A more critical and fundamental question, is where does the consumer fit in?

TCI’s track record in organizing top-class events for the past ten years include e-Commerce, banking, IT, on-line retail, marketing and much more. Their recent Mobile Banking Southern Africa Conference and Exhibition 2012 attracted over 170 attendees from around the African continent.

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