The importance of defining your unique selling point.

Can your brand actually fill a gap in the market? Image credit: AdobeStock

E-commerce Predictions for South African Businesses in 2022

One of the most exciting aspects of running an e-commerce business in South Africa in 2022 is the opportunity to succeed beyond your expectations.

The importance of defining your unique selling point.

Can your brand actually fill a gap in the market? Image credit: AdobeStock

This is made possible by a number of factors, including the growing digital landscape and technological innovations. 

In 2021, the estimated market value of e-commerce in South Africa was about $9.6 billion, according to Research and Market. This represented a 60 percent growth rate from 2020. The sharp rise of online stores and consumers was mainly escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Even with the easing of the pandemic restrictions, experts predict that some of the e-commerce trends will stay and continue to grow. Data by Research and Market projects that the South African e-commerce industry will be valued at $25 billion by 2028. 

Could this be the best time for wannabe entrepreneurs to learn how to sell products online? Read on to learn more crucial 2022 e-commerce predictions that could help you grow your online business in South Africa. 

Online Marketplaces Will Continue to Thrive

It’s exactly two years since South Africa announced the first COVID-19 case. This news changed how people purchase products. Many customers shifted from brick and mortar stores to online retailers. 

Even with new variants of COVID-19 popping up and easing restrictions, online shopping will continue taking root in South Africa. Many consumers have realized the convenience of ordering purchases from e-commerce stores and are likely to stick with the habit. 

According to a 2020 survey, other reasons that will make customers stick to online shopping include short wait time, savings, and safety. On the other hand, more retailers may prefer moving their stores online to cut operating costs. 

High Mobile Penetration

Mobile devices and online shopping are a match made in heaven. More than a third of the South African population use smartphones, according to Statista. This means you might not be able to access up to 20 million consumers if you don’t have a mobile version of your e-commerce website. 

By the end of 2022, Statista also projects that the amount of traffic from mobile phones will grow by more than one million. Smartphones provide always-on internet capabilities that allow consumers to order goods or services from anywhere. 

Introduction of More Secure Payment Options

Most consumers like to be presented with many choices, and this is exactly what offering many payment options does. As a result, e-retailers are expected to install convenient purchase options such as buy now and pay later into their systems. 

With mobile payments on track to take over, fraud-proof security measures will no longer be optional. Companies will start phasing out the habit of consumers having to swipe their cards multiple times to complete purchases. 

Many e-commerce stores will invest in online payment gateways that use a combination of chip and pin technology, tokens, fingerprints, and other high-tech tools to verify a customer’s identity. These systems will also help merchants to understand consumer spending habits and offer services that align with their market. 

Expect More Tech Innovations

Consumer habits are rapidly evolving. As such, e-commerce will become increasingly tech-heavy. From augmented reality to AI and virtual assistants, there’s no end to what innovators can come up with in terms of technology and user experience. 

People expect to have a seamless experience when they shop online, and they aren’t afraid to leave if it doesn’t meet their expectations. Thus, businesses will need to be ready at all times with intelligent options that are attractive to consumers.

Online retailers will also rely on AI and machine learning to predict consumer habits. The data collected will be helpful in e-commerce stores that need to offer more customer-centered services. 

Another underrated technological development is voice search. With improvements to virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Home, it’s only a matter of time before we see more traffic coming from voice search. We’ll start to see companies focus more on their brand voice while answering requests from consumers. 

Cross-Border Online Shopping Expected to Increase

Cross-border online shopping is gaining roots among millennials and Generation X. A good number of South African shoppers purchased items from the United States, China, and the United Kingdom in 2020, according to Research and Markets. 

As the foreign market continues to target South African Consumers, domestic online merchants should invest heavily in international shipping options to capture more of their target market across the border. 

However, before jumping into overseas sales, it’s important to figure out what your unique value proposition is and how it fits into a given market. 

The Takeaway

The future of online shopping in 2022 will likely play out quite differently in South Africa. Consumers will evaluate e-retailers based on their shipping times and customer experience. On the other hand, e-retailers will want to work with suppliers who provide excellent services that will benefit their brand. Eminently, Shippers who embrace Industry 4.0 tools like predictive analytics, remote monitoring, and real-time fleet optimisation could get a head start over slower movers in years to come.