eMarketplaces & Brands: Mobile conversion rates will pick up soon
by MarkLives (@marklives) What roles do brands play in today’s world of ecommerce? How does this impact on how consumers choose products? We emailed a panel of key industry executives for their take on South Africa’s ecommerce market. First up is Neil Smith of Raru.
Raru was launched in June 2014; the co-founders (Smith, Waine Smith and Jose Pereira) previously launched Take 2, which they sold in 2010. Raru’s mission is to provide “an as-wide-as-possible range in the various product categories we do. There is a strong focus also on geeky and nice-to-have products, like board games, video games, movies and the merchandise which ties in with the overall pop culture theme.” Registered customers grew by 52% from March 2017 to March 2018, and sales by 28% over the same period.
What should brand managers know about online retail through online marketplaces (such as Amazon.com and similar local operations)?
Neil Smith: Popular online marketplaces [are] where their customers are. And partnering with online players ought to be a much more cost-effective way of reaching these customers. With enough sales data. it would be possible to send specific promotions tailored to customers who, from their sales history, you know might be interested in what they have to offer. Of course, if a customer has recently bought a big screen TV, they most likely wont’t be looking to buy a new TV, but they might be interested in a Xbox One S Console which had 4K UHD Blu-ray capabilities.
How may a brand optimise its presence on these online retail spaces to make it easy for consumers find and access their products?
NS: We have something which we call Brand Pages. On these Brand Pages we can take any brand and build a mini-website around it. On the Brand Page, we would show what are the latest releases/products from the brand, what ranges are most popular, what are on promotion, add videos and so forth. This is nice way to have a quick overview for what is on offer from a brand. We can also partner with vendors to feature their Brand Pages more prominent[ly]. Enhancing brand experiences to our customers is a critical function of what we do. We work to capitalise on the existing brand attachment, and offer as broad an offering for the brand, in [an] as [easily] a discoverable method as possible.
Finally, what are your predictions for online retail’s current and future share or retail spend in South Africa; how will mobile change online buying habits; and how will it impact consumers’ offline buying behaviour?
NS: We, of course, are fully committed to online retail as we firstly know from experience what the possibilities are, and, secondly, believe more and more South Africans will look towards online to, at [the] very least, supplement their consumer spending. The key advantage of online, and it is something we are working hard on, is the ability to offer a vast array of choice you would not be able to in a normal retail environment. So expanded choice is key.
Mobile shopping is growing all the time, so having a great mobile-friendly site is really critical. At the moment, almost 45% of our traffic is coming from mobile devices. For many South Africans, their primary way of connecting online might be mobile only so, as data prices begin to fall, even more mobile shoppers can be expected. While, at present, large amount of mobile browsing may not result in a mobile transaction, just as a decade ago desktop browsing also didn’t necessarily convert to sales, so will the mobile conversion rate change as customers mature with the technology. As alternate payment methods gain traction, so we expect to see a larger portion of mobile browsers become mobile shoppers, resulting in fewer offline sales as customers instantly compare the offline offering with the vastly wider online choices.
Launched in 2016, “The Big Q” is a regular column on MarkLives in which we ask key advertising and marketing industry execs for their thoughts on relevant issues facing the industry. If you’d like to be part of our pool of panellists, please contact editor Herman Manson via email (2mark at marklives dot com) or Twitter (@marklives). Suggestions for questions are also welcomed.
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