This is the age of the ‘digital natives’. We are living in a time where people are more connected and within keystrokes of one another. This has seen online retail begin to take centre stage. More consumers are finding themselves engaged online and more comfortable with online interaction, especially transactions with reputable brands.
Online retail in South Africa sits at the 1% mark of total retail according to fin24 (2018). However, South African online retailer Spree has a prediction. Spree think that this figure will “rise to about 4% by 2021” (fin24, 2018).
The reason for this sudden growth is down to certain barriers to entry becoming less and less of a problem. This includes a lack of internet access and limited online payment methods for one. It is consistent growth and development which is solving this issue. This gives rise to a more ‘tech-savvy’ and ‘interconnected’ population. Research supports this as “55.5% of South Africans now have a smartphone – this figure is rising steadily” (fin24, 2018). Additionally, the ‘convenience’ provides a competitive advantage for online retailers.
What does this mean?
Moreover, the ability to personalise and cater for every single need that a consumer may have is an advantage. Online retailers are now capitalizing on this advantage and rightfully so. This leads to a better ability to meet the consumer’s needs and wants in a more efficient and effective manner.
Now it is most businesses that are making the transition to an ‘online-centric’ approach. However, the physical store experience still has a place in the consumer’s heart. This is down to the tangible experience of touching and feeling a product is embedded within the human psyche. Therefore, the businesses and brands finding the most success are balancing their efforts. This means building consumer strategies online as well as managing to stay relevant with a comprehensive in-store experience.