Did you promise to step up your South African online shopping site this time last year only to emerge from 2017 with a couple of unticked boxes on your to-do list? Many eCommerce business owners who get into the reinvention game right around New Year eventually learn that it is much more difficult than it seemed.
Whether 2017 has rewarded you with all that you want, or not, it is time to start planning for the year ahead. Below are effective and easy-to-implement ways to drive change for the better in your online business in 2018.
Upgrade your payment gateway
Is your payment gateway outdated? When you first launched your online store, you may have chosen an online payment solution in South Africa that met your basic needs. But, as your business grew, your payment process needed to be adjusted in line with the business expansion as well as industry trends.
You may want to consider adding more payment options to cater to a broader range of consumers. It will certainly benefit your company to adapt to the changing times, but you should also make provision for older generations. So, your payment gateway should ideally reflect a mix of new and emerging payment technologies such as electronic currencies and loyalty payments as well as conventional methods such as credit cards and EFT payments.
Offer mobile checkout
More online shoppers nowadays consult their smartphones and tablets when looking for information, comparing prices and completing transactions. To cater to the type of shoppers that make a quick purchase in the back of a taxi on their way to a meeting, your online store absolutely must make the shift to mobile in 2018, which is said to be the year of the mobile revolution. It may be easier to make your website design mobile responsive, but that does not necessarily give mobile shoppers a smooth checkout experience. If you prefer to design a retail app from scratch, there are several features you can integrate to convert mobile users into customers, such as one-click checkout and thumbprint checkout.
Explore free delivery options
Ever since retail giant Amazon added free shipping to their orders, other eCommerce websites have started to consider it as a necessity rather than a perk. Delivery standards have evolved up to the point where consumers regard free shipping as more important than fast shipping. This has left many retailers wondering how they could offer free delivery but still make a profit on certain goods.
There are several approaches that could work – from including shipping costs into the purchase price to setting minimum order value to charging a small delivery fee to rewarding loyal customers with free shipping. You may not be able to offer free shipping on all orders yet, but the above examples can get you going in 2018.
Activate cross-border payments
Going global might seem ambitious but isn’t that what New Year’s resolutions are about – to achieve a big aspirational goal? An advantage presented by eCommerce is that it enables you to sell in any country without having a physical presence in that location, which is a huge opportunity for business growth. While cross-border eCommerce does not come without challenges, you will have a better chance of a successful expansion if your business teams up with a payment gateway in South Africa that is not only connected to local payment methods, charges customers in their local currency, and displays checkout pages in the local language but will also have taken care of the legal regulation of the international target market.
Should these goals take you longer to reach, don’t forget to take stock on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis to ensure you’re still on track. And, if you believe that New Year’s resolutions are only good for the first week of the new year, remember that every day gives you an opportunity to push your eCommerce website forward.