As more and more tech-savvy South African consumers take to the net, retailers are being faced with the challenge of whether or not to implement online store fronts to maximize profits.
For those retailers already serving the online community, attention is shifting towards ways in which the consumer’s online experience can be enriched, coaxing the consumer into spending more time ‘browsing’ their wares in the hope of purchasing.
According to CEO, Gary Hadfield of Loot.co.za; an ecommerce store launched in 2003, “a trend that is predicted to have an increasing impact on ecommerce is a growing reliance on peer recommendations via social networking and reviews. Consumers are increasingly using reviews to assist them in making purchase decisions,” notes Hadfield, “And this will gain a lot of momentum in the coming year.”
Social networking has had a great impact on the paths that lead shoppers to brands, and with the option to post reviews about the product or service advertised, feedback from that of the shopper is generally considered more trustworthy than that of the sales associates.
As Facebook’s role in the socialization of the online buying process continues to grow, so does its clout in influencing people to share amongst their Facebook friends which brands they like.
Enter ZunguZ; a social app which allows you to transfer money via Facebook, providing the functionality to facilitate automated, immediate online transactions without any hassle or delay. Users are requested to grant the micropayment app permission to post on their behalf by accessing posts on their newsfeed with: ‘I just paid a friend via Facebook, safely and securely, without even knowing their bank details!’ sparking interest amongst their Facebook friends.
Robert Sussman, Co-Founder and social payments entrepreneur of ZunguZ explains, “The customer has an influence over his or her friends to promote the brand or store in question, in turn rewarding your customers for referrals and ‘eyeballs’ by way of incentive schemes.” As South African consumers become more comfortable with buying goods online and bricks-and-mortar retail outlets welcome the prospect ecommerce, the consumer demand for easy to use payment apps, like ZunguZ, will grow.
Sussman notes, “Service providers are aware of the opportunity that exists in this rapid growth sector. There will be no shortage of solutions and providers being established, and the consumer will have to be aware of what these “providers” are actually providing, at what charge and on what terms – these aspects need to be understood in order to make an informed decision.”