2021: South Africa - Is my Online Store ready for Black Friday?

With Black Friday and Christmas around the corner, retailers around the world are stocking up their inventory for the busiest shopping season of the year. As an online seller, the question resonates whether you are ready to be part of the biggest shopping day of the year!

What is Black Friday?

It is a unique day, during which stores around the world offer highly discounted prices and offers in a wide range of their product assortment. On average during Black Friday users enjoy a 55% markdown from their favourite retailers. A true bargain hunter might even have the opportunity to grab some products for only a few South African Rands!

In normal circumstances, customers gain benefits by shopping regularly and thus asserting their loyalty. In November, stores are the ones that must prove loyalty toward their clients, which can be assessed with regard to the level of rebates and availability of highly discounted products. Shoppers are filled with adrenaline as they know that time is of the essence to make that purchase before the stock is depleted. Thus, many shoppers are forced into impulse buys through competition. As an online shop, competition is good. It boosts sales, and subsequently, revenue too.

Looking back at 2020, this major shopping day is growing with a staggering 70% of South Africans interested in shopping during the year’s festive sales. That’s the equivalent of around 27 million people. The next Black Friday is on 26 November 2021, and expectations as an online store owner are as follows (according to black-friday.global/en-za):

  • The peak of shopping activity takes place between 8 and 11 am in shops;

  • During Black Friday, an average South African buys 4.5 products, indicating the importance to have your deals visible on top of the search engine list;

  • South Africans are planning on spending around R1735 per person in both online and brick-and-mortar stores;

  • 87% of South Africans know what Black Friday is, and 66% is willing to participate in the shopping spree this year;

  • 64% of bargain hunters will choose both online and offline sales.

Online Shopping is growing vastly

In 2020 it was evident that online shopping is growing exponentially, as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated this process. Despite frequent attempts to control the crowds of shoppers, minor injuries are common among the crowds, usually as a result of being pushed or thrown to the ground in small stampedes. Fewer people shopped in person on Black Friday 2020, and most transactions took place online. Online sales in 2020 reached 22% more than the previous year, while foot traffic to stores fell 48%.

With an accelerated move towards online shopping, consumers spent more time researching each purchase. More than a third (34%) looked at reviews from other shoppers, 38% used price comparison websites, 19% visited consumer opinion websites and 30% looked at reviews from experts.

As expected, social distancing requirements and consumers’ higher adoption of e-commerce during lockdown helped to drive growth in online shopping for technical consumer goods. The online channel accounted for 14% of Technical Consumer Goods revenues in November 2020, up from 7% in November 2019.

Challenges identified for online sellers:

  1. Building high traffic

    Shoppers don’t always find your website easily. Competition can also be fierce. You can affiliate your website with other marketing agents, like OWEB to ensure much higher traffic and ultimately sales. 

  2. High traffic challenges for retailers

    Failing to prepare for peak can cause poor performance, site downtime, and ultimately lost revenue for retailers. It results in huge reputational damage.

  3. Mobile shopping

    As the world adapts and releases new technology, old technology loses value. Phones are more affordable than computers. It is therefore important to ensure that your website functions well on smaller screens as well. In the last year, mobile payments increased by 143% and desktop payments by 54%,  according to Payfast. 

  4. Payment methods

    The following payment methods were also identified by the portal:
    QR & scan to pay: +412%; Card payments: +99%; Instant EFT: +91%

  5. 2021 Payment trends

    Although it is not always possible to adhere to all these trends, the key to success is to offer what the consumer prefers to use, like contactless payments, scan to pay, flexible payment options, made for mobile and/or social commerce.

How does OWEB benefit your Online Store?
On days like Black Friday price comparison is the ultimate experience for potential shoppers. A new feature will be added specifically on Black Friday where the biggest deals will be featured at the top of the page. On average OWEB is expecting more than a 60% increase for the day, making it crucial to have your product range featured on their portal. Other benefits include:

  1. We are mainly a product discovery app: Meaning that shoppers use us mainly to find products, and not compare prices. A search engine for South African products!

  2. Your website rankings like SEO and Google rankings improve when linking with 3rd party companies such as us. They’re called backlinks and are a big deal when it comes to how Google ranks you.

  3. This is a great opportunity to have your products be associated with big brands, making the playing field even!

The importance to have your products featured in more places than your own website will reach further and drive more sales. For South African sellers, OWEB is an obvious choice!

How do you know that OWEB is the right choice for you?

  1. Does your online store have a cart?

  2. Does your online store have prices per product?

  3. Are these prices in ZAR?

  4. Does your online store ship nationwide?

If you can answer YES to all of the above, then the OWEB platform is specifically designed for you!

COVID-19 has left an imprint on the consumer’s pocket and emotions, with financial worries forcing them to re-evaluate their purchase decisions. Not only were they looking for ultimate value, but they also needed reassurance that the deals were real. We expect the same mindset to continue throughout the Christmas shopping season in an atmosphere of low consumer confidence and economic uncertainty. As an Online Store owner, are you ready to meet the consumers’ specific needs?