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By 22 July 2014 | Categories: news

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Following its inaugural online retail SITEisfaction survey, market researchers Columinate say close to two-thirds (64%) of South African customers favour online shopping to purchase luxury goods, such as electronics and games, over essentials like food or clothing. The survey went on to reveal some telling insights into who local consumers are buying from and their level of satisfaction with after sales service, as well as the opportunities retailers can use to target new customers.

According to Columinate's CEO, Henk Pretorius, consumers believe online shopping saves them both time and money, but the results yielded in this survey tells a very different story. "With purchases being skewed towards non-essential items, the report indicates that ‘saving’ isn’t necessarily the main driver.”

One of the other key figures saw 77% of respondents claiming that they had placed items in their online shopping cart, but left the site before checking out. The main reasons stated for not following through with purchases were price and the consumers ultimately changing their minds to buy product, accounting for 29% and 21% respectively.

This is one area that offline retailers have over their online site counterparts, as a dedicated sales person inside a physical store can often persuade customers to purchase products that they do not necessarily need. “Taking into account that consumers were mainly purchasing luxury items online and that there is no cashier or sales assistant to facilitate the process, many shoppers simply don’t see it through.”   

The survey also ranked online retailers on their overall satisfaction levels in terms of customer experience, with Columinate factoring in the ratio of satisfied and dissatisfied users for all 25 retail sites surveyed. They also measured sites on a range of key drivers, most notable of which being ease of use, trust security and delivery performance. Of all 25 sites surveyed,  kalahari.com emerged as the clear winner and registered a score of 76. In second place was Yuppiechef, tallying 71 and third saw Woolworths with 63. Rounding up the top five were takealot.com who took fourth and Groupon in fifth place, receiving 55 and 54 respectively.

Looking ahead at the future of the industry, Pretorius identified mobile-readiness as another major opportunity for the industry, given the rise in smartphone usage and app prominence in SA. “There is definitely more to be done in this space if stores want to fully engage shoppers and create on-the-go shopping opportunities for consumers. Mobile and tablet apps are a promising area of focus for all retailers,” he concluded.

Infographic courtesy of Columinate

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