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SA online retail to pass 1% of total retail in 2016

For the first time since the dawn of e-commerce in South Africa, online retail in this country will reach 1% of overall retail during 2016. This is the most significant finding of the Online Retail in South Africa 2016 report, released today by World Wide Worx. The report shows that online retail continues to grow […]

World Wide Worx, Ask Afrika partner for online retail research

The June 2015 release of the Online Retail in South Africa 2015 study by World Wide Worx, in collaboration with Ask Afrika, will include a detailed breakdown of QR code usage and demographics. “Mobile payment systems are quickly becoming mainstream, and it will be fascinating to see how the more mechanical systems like QR Codes […]

E-retail: Local brand activity marks a shift in how clothes are sold online

by Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee). The arrival of a Mr Price shopping cart on both Web and mobile sites, and new initiatives by Edcon and eBucks, mark a shift in how clothes are sold online.

For much of the past decade, online clothing retail in South Africa has seemed like the toddler party that the big kids avoided. Start-ups, newcomers and unknowns dominated, while the established brands either stayed away or made only a grudging appearance.

Edgars had a web site with a shopping cart, but it was more of an apology than a serious online store. The likes of Stuttafords, Truworths, Jet, Foschini and Mr Price were entirely absent from e-commerce.

Recently, in one week, three major brands have come to the party, and getting dressed will never be the same again.

The biggest splash was made by the chain that is increasingly positioning itself as cool and go-ahead: Mr Price. Even their new web site address reflects that image: MrP.co.za. It claims 18 000 items in its catalogue, and allows customers to choose by size, colour, brand and … trend. Delivery choice is wide, from home to Post Office to nearest store.

Payment option is even wider, including credit card, COD, gift vouchers and account. More important, returns are allowed within 30 days, via store, Post Office or courier.

Probably the single most important option in all of the MrP bouquet, however, is it’s mobile site. It uses a web development standard called HTML 5, which allows the site to look the same on any phone browser, regardless of model. But the real killer app, so to speak, is not the mere fact that it can be used on a phone: it is that it looks great on a phone. It appears inviting, and that is the first step in convincing potential customers to become paying customers.