It’s fun isn’t it? Click on stuff you want, enter your credit cards details and, voilà! Instant retail therapy. Now you can debate the psychological effects of impulsive consumerism or the stuff vs experiences argument. But not here, all I want to talk about is, how can online shopping in SA be made better.
We’ve made massive strides over the last few years,I’ll give you that. You can mostly find what you need online at any of the various (well, just one) large online retailers and any number of smaller boutique online merchants. It’s mostly the experience that I’m not 100% happy with. So, I made of list stuff I thought needed improvement, mailed it off to the largest online retailer in SA, got a boilerplate reply and decided to hell with it, I’ll just post my ideas, maybe someone reads it and decides I have a point, offers me gazillions of dollars and tells me to go compete with the big T.
- You’ve got to give it to Amazon, they’ve kinda figured it out, or at the very least put together an offer that set the standard for what to expect from a fully integrated online store. It would be great to see a local online retailer start their own free same day delivery/next day delivery for R99 p/m or R999 per year (including weekends, major metropolitan areas only, orders must be in before 11:00 am). If I’m guessing right on the business model, most people won’t be ordering multiple times a week/month and so the additional income forms the “kitty” which carries the heavy usage customers.
- While you’re at it, copy Amazon all the way (before they come to our shores, which has been prophesied would happen somewhere between 2008 and 2080). Partner with NicheStreem for a music streaming and Showmax for a video streaming service bundled with the yearly subscription. Just to sweeten the deal, people opting for this membership package also get discounts off bluetooth headphones and streaming devices.
- Food delivery, and I’m not talking about takeaways but groceries and home cooked/ready made meals. Woolworths does food deliveries but the site is wonky and deliveries are sketchy. Same with Pick n Pay, the online shopping site is a mess (especially on mobile) although deliveries work better than they used to, if not yet perfect. Then you have the mom & pop businesses that do home cooked meals that they deliver in their local neighbourhoods. A combination of these things could unlock a very valuable revenue stream for an online store as it removes the burden of grocery shopping and cooking from the increasing number of households where both parents/partners work. If someone could launch a service that allows customers to select from a menu of home cooked meals (by rolling up the mom & pop businesses in the areas where they currently operate) that are automatically delivered on weeknights, set lists of groceries that are automatically delivered weekly/monthly, imagine the revenue possibilities in that.
- Online store branded credit card, backed by some bank like FNB with a lower interest rate and increased eBucks earnings when buying on the store. iStore already does this with their Standard Bank-backed cards and a 10.9% interest rate when buying Apple devices though iStore. This could unlock immense value for for the merchant and open up more opportunities in the personal finance sphere. Also, a linked credit card with the tied-in membership ensures easier payment processes and easier billing. Connect this with a P2P payment option for members with a linked online store credit card, or even a P2P lending platform linked to the branded credit card, and all sorts of revenue streams come to life. You could also suddenly start pulling in the unbanked and lower income market. No one has really cracked the e-wallet, and from what I understand, it’s not because it can’t be done.
These were just a few ideas I had. I’ll follow up with a few more in a couple of days.
What would you like to see happen in this space in SA? Let me know in the comments.