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Ecommerce in South Africa
Globally, ecommerce has been around for over 20 years, but it is still relatively young in South Africa. According to a 2014 census, there were 16.2 million internet users in South Africa of whom 5.3 m had been online for longer than five years and therefore had a very high propensity to buy. *
It is estimated that the South African ecommerce market is worth approximately R7 billion, which equates to 1% of total retail sales. Interestingly, both Woolworths and Pick n Pay were recently quoted as selling approximately 1% of total sales through their ecommerce channel. We are seeing a growth rate of between 25% and 35% year on year, which exceeds other markets, but we are obviously still measuring off a small base.
Some statistics on who is buying online **
We see approximately 60% female bias, with an age bias below 40 years old. 53% of online shoppers use a favourite site repeatedly, whereas 14% will be very price sensitive in their site choice. 33% of online shoppers expressed concern about shopping from an unknown site. The two main reasons stated for abandoned carts in South African shoppers are ‘high delivery costs’ and ‘unsecure checkout page’, although the majority of SA ecommerce users fully support the use of 3D secure and one-time pin.
What is an ecommerce platform
At Emerce Commerce we define an ecommerce platform in terms of what it is and what it isn’t. It’s important to distinguish in this way because sites like Shopify, for example, or WooCommerce, Magento, Hybris and ATG typically exclude some backend systems that one would expect to be in place already.
|An ecommerce platform is||An ecommerce platform isn’t|
Responsive website (B2C or B2B) that works on PCs, MACs, tablets and phones
Site search engine
Web content management systemOnline promotions engine
Product information management (sometimes)Omni-channel awareness
Customer master database (sometimes)
Customer servicing screens for onlineorders
Payment gateway interface
Warehouse management system
ERP system (including supplier master)
Email marketing tool
Business intelligence data warehouse
We find the following table useful when labelling ecommerce platforms:
|Templated in the cloud||e.g. Shopify|
|Templated self host||e.g. WooCommerce|
|Medium-size open source self host||e.g. Magento Community + Enterprise Edition, Prestashop, nopCommerce|
|Medium-size proprietary self host||e.g. EPiServer|
|Large Closed source self host||e.g. Hybris, ATG|
The market leading online retailers (think Amazon and Takealot) build their platforms themselves for maximum control.
What are the key Ecommerce Platforms to consider?
Click to expand for more details on selected Platform
We are a group of professionals who specialise in ecommerce; we’re passionate about helping your business succeed at every step of the journey into online shopping, and we’re able to provide the technological and practical know-how to move your business successfully into on-line retailing without impacting on your traditional sales performance.
Amanda runs Emerce Commerce and a team of loyalty specialists at Truth (www.truth.co.za), a consultancy business which provides loyalty, CRM and customer centricity solutions for many of South Africa’s leading blue-chip brands, such as Massmart, Pick n Pay and Edcon. Previously British Airways senior Executive in South Africa (General Manager in South Africa and Area Marketing Manager for Africa, Middle East & India), Amanda joined Woolworths where she managed the CRM/customer division, delivering Woolworths’ customer strategy, loyalty, data analytics, research and direct marketing programmes.
Yossi is chairman of Y&R Africa. He started his own agency in South Africa in 1993 which was bought into the Y&R stable by WPP in 2001. Yossi was retained as CEO of this company until 2006 when he became Chairman of Y&R Africa. Yossi lives in Cape Town with his wife and two sons.
Mike is non-executive chairman of Mutual & Federal Insurance Company and brings a wealth of blue-chip commercial know-how to Emerce Commerce. Mike spent eight years in senior management at Mutual & Federal before transferring his expertise to Old Mutual for a further eleven years and his experience in all aspects of business management is critical to the firm’s success.
Peter is a CA (SA) with twenty five years’ experience, gained through his involvement in the manufacturing and communications sectors. Using this experience, Peter now maintains a client base of thirty businesses to which he offers strategic, operational and financial advice. His extensive structural and financial expertise makes him an invaluable member of the Emerce Commerce executive.
“Emerce Commerce has enabled Jekyll & Hide to achieve a rapid return on investment, like no other in its ecommerce venture. We couldn’t get this start up solution from anyone else at such a remarkable price and intimate knowledge of all elements of ecommerce. We have partnered with Emerce Commerce to drive an aggressive ecommerce strategy to help build the Jekyll & Hide brand and drive sales for our business, globally. Emerce Commerce have brought a laser-like focus to our ecommerce build out. They know that growth can be achieved quickly even while ensuring costs are kept low. They are undoubtedly the right partner for our global online expansion plans.”
Bernard Bultemeier, Jekyll & Hide
“My company engaged Emerce Commerce to assist with the start-up phase of our ecommerce business. Matt Roux, from Emerce worked closely with me on the ‘blueprinting’ process. This enabled me to really understand the big picture of my business concept and how ecommerce was the enabler. By drilling into details, like user flows, with Matt, I was able to see hidden complexities. The blueprint has also given me confidence that the quoted development time and budget are realistic. I would highly recommend the Emerce Commerce blueprinting step for a startup, as an essential process to avoid expenses mistakes further down the line.”
Leejay Carrozzo, Vivyd
“We engaged Emerce Commerce to position the role of ecommerce at Kolok and to define the scope for the short and medium term rollout of the online channel. This enabled our stakeholders to get onto the same page and Matt Roux, CTO of Emerce Commerce clearly defined the scope of the short and medium term with a particular focus on a B2B website build. The scoping has given us the confidence that the quoted development time and budget for the B2B website build are on target. We highly recommend the experience of Emerce Commerce when considering how ecommerce can exist hand-in-hand with traditional channels.”
Richard Vivian, Kolok SA
We’ve had the pleasure to work together with some remarkable brands.
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