SA small businesses cash in on e-commerce bonanza
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E-COMMERCE has been a boon for South African small businesses over the past 16 months, largely due to consumers’ rapid adoption of online shopping and digital services as they opted to shop from the safety of their homes, global payments technology company Mastercard said yesterday.
According to a Mastercard study on consumer spending, 68 percent of South African consumers have been shopping more online since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and 63 percent said that they were making a conscious effort to shop online at small businesses.
Mastercard Southern Africa marketing and communications director Kamini Redhi said with the increasing shift to digital, consumers were still seeking a personalised and human element to their e-commerce experience.
Mastercard has partnered with online payment gateway PayFast to encourage South Africans to shop online at local businesses, while putting a spotlight on small businesses and the inspiring entrepreneurs behind them.
This was as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accelerated digital transformation efforts in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Redhi said the pandemic had delivered financial headwinds that threatened the economic progress of SMEs and for this reason, Mastercard was taking action, while also calling on consumers alike to shop, share and support these businesses.
“At Mastercard, we are dedicated to unlocking potential and empowering SMEs to thrive commercially by connecting them to millions of new and existing customers through digital technologies and awareness campaigns like our collaboration with PayFast that spark conversations and help elevate SMEs in the marketplace,” said Redhi.
Meanwhile, South African e-commerce app, Reka online marketplace, is launching Africa’s first Augmented Reality (AR) online shopping platform for fashion and furniture brands. Reka aims to change consumer behaviour and online buying patterns by bringing a hyper-realistic in-store buying experience for the Gen Z and millennial consumers.
Reka founder and product development lead Nii-Odartey Mills said through AR technology, customers were able to interact with merchants’ products and offerings in ways previously never seen before.
Another Reka founder and design lead Vickus Nel said for the first time, shoppers can share their looks via the avatar they create to all social media platforms and WhatsApp, allowing for real-time feedback and approval from friends and family on the items they wanted to purchase.
The product officially was set to launch in September, on all major app stores on IOS and Android platforms.
“We’re extremely excited to launch Reka and show the country what we’ve been working on over the past year and move the South African e-commerce industry forward in a manner that the youth can buy into,” said Mills and Nel.
Reka is calling all brands that were passionate about technology and wanted to be part of a fashion/furniture ecosystem, and were looking for an interactive way to engage with their online shoppers, to join as merchants today by contacting [email protected]
It also urged the public to connect with Reka online and join their countdown to launch date and be the first to try the AR shopping experience.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE