Growth predicted to continue well past the pandemic
Up to this year, the adoption of online retailing has been comparatively slow in South Africa. The pandemic and associated lockdown have changed this.
Now, predictions are that the e-Commerce sector will:
- retain much of the very high demand experienced during the lockdown
- see stronger continued growth, with fast-tracked development and investment by businesses.
Businesses that have already invested in developing e-commerce platforms, or are in a position to do so rapidly, are likely to reap the benefits.
How the pandemic has helped reshape habits
With consumers unable or unwilling to go to brick and mortar business premises, businesses have been forced to digitise.
By and large, consumers were at just the right “tipping point” for this to work.
Enough South Africans have smartphones. And online shopping and services (like online banking) have been around long enough to have gained acceptance.
This helped pave the way for many organisations to move online in new or expanded ways this year.
What has moved online in 2020
Consumers in 2020 have been extremely quick to embrace digital ways of doing things.
For example, this includes:
- buying retail goods, from essential groceries to luxury items to cars
- accessing services (this has moved beyond traditional services like online banking to include everything from psychotherapy sessions to legal advice)
- accessing entertainment (even theatre productions and museum exhibits have moved online)
- working remotely using video conferencing and other online apps and platforms.
These new behaviours aren’t all going to end with the pandemic.
Is your business embracing digitisation quickly enough?
The trend across most industries was already towards greater digitisation. This trend has now been accelerated.
More than ever, now is the time to make digitising a priority.
McKinsey’s article, The digital-led recovery from COVID-19: Five questions for CEOs, offers useful questions about how well your business is positioning itself. The article is targeted at enterprises, but many of its insights apply equally to SMMEs.
The core take-away? Businesses need to move early and act decisively to adapt to new (digital) realities.
What to consider doing now
How well digitised are your business processes and consumer-facing assets? Are you catering to increased demand for online information, service processes and sales?
Almost all businesses can digitise in a number of ways.
For instance, have you considered offering any of the following?:
- instant online quotes
- omnichannel communications
- video consultations
- paperless onboarding.
With massive growth in e-commerce, investment in a full e-commerce platform makes sense for most retail businesses.