Despite many documented market and economic challenges, many brands continue to invest heavily in e-commerce marketing. In fact, the current global e-commerce market is valued at around $5.5 trillion (R101 trillion), and it is estimated that online retail sales will soon reach $6.7 trillion (R123 trillion) by the end of this year, with e-commerce making up 22.3% of those sales.
Data from 2022 provided by FNB Merchant Services indicated that the online e-commerce market in South Africa has experienced rapid growth and is presently valued at almost R200 billion annually, with retailers such as Takealot, Woolworths, and Checkers, adapting to evolving consumer trends. Statistics from FNB show that total online sales in 2020 jumped by 55% and another 42% in 2021, driven by increased spending in less traditional e-commerce industries. South Africa’s e-commerce market will reach more than R400 billion by 2025 on the back of more than 1 billion transactions per annum.
As this unfolds in South Africa, businesses are working hard to position themselves for success by catering to customer needs and following key global e-commerce trends.
How mobile apps are reshaping the e-commerce industry
Mobile apps are now a fundamental component of retail, as they provide customers with a convenient and engaging way to shop from their phones. The past couple of years has been rocket fuel for digital transformation, providing an opportunity for the retail industry to innovate. Whilst global trends continue to point to the user growth of Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, the trends underneath the headlines highlight significant opportunities to drive new customer acquisition, which in turn demands a targeted customer retention strategy from companies.
According to research from Baymard Institute, 69.82% of online shopping carts are abandoned, and with demand expected to continue, pressure is growing on retailers to expand current offerings and create personalised experiences to tackle this. One of the big challenges e-commerce companies face, though, is analysing and maximising behaviour of users, and bringing down the cost of their marketing and engagement against how much is earned through a customer making a purchase.
To meet customer demand, mobile apps offer a variety of features such as push notifications, product recommendations, exclusive discounts and offers, and easy checkout processes, to make the shopping experience easier for customers. By leveraging the power of mobile technology, brands can create an immersive shopping experience tailored specifically to their customer’s needs, and this in turn helps increase customer loyalty, customer return rates, and maximise online revenue.
How to retarget, re-engage and retain customers in 2023 and beyond
Brands should focus on re-engaging with returning consumers through a personalised strategy as this can help increase the lifetime value of users, which in turn helps brands bring the cost of their marketing down, knowing that brand loyalty has been achieved. According to research from Google and Storyline Strategies study, 72% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand if they offer a personalised experience.
Optimising the online shopping experience is crucial in retaining customers. Today, consumers need a more ‘human’ touch, i.e., smart product suggestions based on buying history & behaviour that helps build a one-to-one relationship between brand and buyer. In particular, push notifications haven’t just enhanced personalisation but also increased app engagement by up to 88%. Push notifications have also proven to get disengaged users back, too, with 65% returning to an app within 30 days of the push notification.
Another strategy to consider is the option of adding buy now, pay later (BNPL) options at checkouts for customers. Brands that add the option of financing at the checkout allow customers to spread the cost over time, which according to Klarna has resulted in a 30% increase in checkout conversation rates.
Publisher platforms allow brands to leverage their reach and sticky user base. Especially with open platforms such as SHAREit, which can help e-commerce brands create a strong revenue conversion with higher average order value with unique retargeting and user acquisition solutions. Because users are not just sharing product links, but also sharing ecommerce apps and deals among their community. Users of these publisher platforms are also encouraged to share products and apps through platform activities.
The future of e-commerce for brands
E-commerce is quickly becoming the future of retail. With the rise of technology, customers now have access to various products and services worldwide with just a few taps on their mobiles, making shopping more accessible and efficient than ever.
Now more than ever before, today’s brands must put consumers at the heart of everything they do. From offering the right incentive and payment options to personalising the shopping experience, brands need to cater to specific consumer preferences if they want to influence purchasing decisions and improve engagement and retention figures.
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