Covid-19 has had a massive effect on nearly all industries, including retailers. During lockdown, many retailers were not able to trade which they will probably take a long time to recover from and it may even have changed the way in which they need to run their businesses to some degree. These changes are however not just relevant to the retailers themselves, but also to their customers’ and their buying behaviors.Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, there was already a big move towards digital transformation, but many retailers were still hesitant or perhaps even fearful of such changes. Some of the reasons may have been due to the perception that it might be too costly and too complicated, or perhaps the idea of changing from manual or outdated systems, seemed too daunting, the urgency or necessity may even have been in question and then of course there is the fear of change itself. This is however quickly changing and many businesses are considering their options and next steps as it is clear that a more digital approach will be required moving forward.
Moving away from manual processes and outdated systems towards industry specific ERP or Retail Management solutions is a big part of digital transformation and e-commerce goes hand-in-hand with that, or at least it should do. The popularity of e-commerce as an effective shopping channel is on the rise, prompting retailers to diversify the ways in which they make their products available as well as improving on their customer’s experiences by way of digital devices, specialised apps, and social media networks.
Shopping online through a mobile device, smartphone or tablet, is becoming a preferred way of buying online in South Africa, seeing that more than 55% of South Africans own a smartphone. According to the May 2018 South Africa Online Insights report, 70% of unique browsers came from a mobile source only. And that was the consensus in 2018 which would have increased since then.
The use of digital devices is changing how consumers make buying decisions, according to research published on emarketer.com. Specifically, in one-third of retail purchases, physical or otherwise, the final decision is influenced by browsing for additional information via mobile devices or tablets.
E-commerce is no longer an optional avenue for retailers wanting to increase market competitiveness and boost revenue. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is the natural progression of e-commerce. A US study by emarketer.com predicts that m-commerce sales will account for 54% of total e-commerce sales by 2021.
In response to customers turning to mobile shopping experiences, retailers are betting on modern multi-channel commerce strategies, paying attention to which devices customers use to access their websites and apps. Having access to mobile customer data reporting and online behaviour stats, is key.
Investing in a fully-integrated e-commerce solutions to manage online sales and customer service, proves invaluable to boost sales and profit. An integrated ERP solution, customised for retail, scalable to fit the most challenging e-commerce and m-commerce requirements, can offer a distinct market advantage.
Kerridge Commercial Systems provides a suite of e-commerce solutions, specifically aimed at the retail industry. The retail ERP solution fits seamlessly with support for multi-channel commerce, data exchange tools and more.Click HERE to find out more about Kerridge Commercial Systems' innovative e-commerce solutions.