10 online shopping trends I’d like to see in SA. Part deux.

How’d you like the 2 online shopping stock pics? Priceless.

Now part 2 of a thingy you write makes or breaks the whole thing, yeah? Let’s see if I can avoid the second album / sequel syndrome.

Now this might veer a little bit of pure online shopping, but it does address connected areas to online shopping that can make the whole thing easier, add value and build a bigger economy in the space.

So onto the last 5 points:

6. You could also tie-in a P2P delivery platform to an online shopping portal. It’s an absolute pain to courier something to someone as a private individual. Postnet isn’t great, SAPO is out of the question and many of the other options are very expensive and complicated. What if you could offer the following at a standard price:

  • 5 box sizes, one price for each box size
  • 5 weight classes, one price for each class
  • Set destination routes (JHB/CPT, JHB/DBN, DBN/CPT etc), each route with a set price for same day, next day, 5 days etc
  • A customer starts at the first screen to select the box size, next selects weight class, then destination route and urgency and voila, one price and from there you could pay via your branded merchant credit card and collection and packaging happens via expansion and upgrading of existing deklivery infrastructure. Another cool service a large online retailer could offer.

7. Start an affiliate programme for smaller niche sites (Yuppiechef etc) where they get a separate window on the main online retailer site to promote their products and they make use of the existing delivery infrastructure (either at a fee or the hosting retailer takes commission off sales) and they can buy predetermined marketing packages (more later) to boost awareness and sales during specific times of the month. Some of these niche sites have very loyal and high income customers and this could diversify their business as well as the hosting retailers’. These smaller sites can also become part of the merchant-membership programme.

8. Just like any other online store, volume and margin are key. Margins are tough to come by but there exist many opportunities for volume drivers. I won’t say too much about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, local retailers don’t seem to fully grasp the concept, but to drive volume throughout the year you could approach brands to take part in Brand Days. Dedicate the home page to a specific brand’s products at deep discounts (end of range, loss leaders etc). Brands pay a fee to host a Brand Day and hosting online retailer throws some marketing behind it, these can be twice a month events.

9. What if a large local online retailer could launch a local version of Kickstarter. There’s something locally called Thundafund, they have all of 3000 likes on Facebook, low engagement rates and per their site, only 6300 backers to date. With a large local player’s clout, something much better could be created. Once a product has been funded, the retailer could even look at exclusivity deals (first 5000 orders can only happen through our site etc) and after that, if the product develops into a sustainable business, they become part of the affiliate programme.

10. Now, I have no idea how imports/exports work, so this is the very definition of taking a flyer! Another opportunity, imports from the US and UK. A few local sites had/have US and UK import pages which mainly focused on DVD’s, CD’s and games. A service that guarantees once a month imports (again, I have no idea how this works, I’m assuming you could reserve a container that ships from US/UK once a month with orders) could prove a high margin service. It doesn’t need to be cheap, just easy to use. I order something, and I know I’ll receive it in 4 weeks’ time. I’m assuming Customs isn’t easy to work with, but the basic idea is that when a customer places an order, it only covers the product and shipping cost, once in SA, the tax is added by Customs, the customers’ merchant branded credit card is billed and then the product ships. The site doesn’t have to worry about taxes or unpaid tax bills, the customer knows what’s coming (I remember a rule of thumb of 10% to 20% taxes on imports, so a customer can get an idea of what the customs tax will be before ordering) and it’s reliable service. There are quite a few sites that offer services such as this, but they all suffer from the same problem, are they legit? A large local retailer most certainly is trusted and this could extend nicely to a service such as this.

That’s it! 10 ideas based on international trends that I hope we can see locally soon.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on what you wish to see happen locally in the online retail space.