Two billion rand. That’s how much revenue South African ecommerce generated in 2010.
Now consider the fact that the UK generated $92-billion, in comparison to our R2-billion, or approximately $254-million. But it’s not that bad; in an article on what has hindered South Africa’s full entry into the world of ecommerce, technology analysis site memeburn.com concluded South Africa was “on the verge of an ecommerce revolution”.
Many businesses have made the leap into the digital world of ecommerce, creating slick and user-friendly websites. Regardless of how much energy and effort a business pours into creating the perfect ecommerce outlet however, the key to success in this looming “ecommerce revolution” is online marketing.
Consumers are facing an increasingly large number of choices when it comes to online shopping, and effective marketing drives them to the sites. Of course, you want to market to existing “offline” customers who may make the leap to online shopping, so as not to lose their business. This is the route many businesses, large and small, have taken – a decision which looks to capture the wave of customers who are going to be entering the ecommerce market once this “revolution” occurs.
While there is nothing wrong with this route, it forgets one important thing: R2-billion. This is an existing market, one which a new entrant to the ecommerce market should also seek to acquire a slice.
The commitment of an ad-budget to both on and offline advertising has clear parallels to traditional sales knowledge. Just as if you owned a store, you would advertise both inside and outside of it; this is how to tackle the marketing of an ecommerce venture.
Marketing to existing customers is marketing in your store; marketing online is marketing outside your store. It’s akin to letting prospective customers walking down the main street know your store is there, and enticing them inside to purchase your products or services.
Essentially, advertising online allows you to interact with your consumers in their comfort zone, affording you the opportunity to influence them at the moment they’re making price comparisons and hopefully, looking to buy.
A fully managed, cost effective, online advertising campaign can result in increased sales and profit margins. Doing the proper groundwork on your venture may ensure you’re among the 34 percent of South African ecommerce outlets who, according to World Wide Worx, are “a little profitable”. But that’s not where or who you want to be.
Recognising the importance of an online marketing strategy will ensure your ecommerce venture is rather in the 46 percent of South African ecommerce outlets which are “very profitable”.
A much better position.
Article by Tanja Lategan, CEO of 365 Digital