As Black Friday approaches, businesses worldwide are preparing for the busiest consumer period of the year. In South Africa alone, Black Friday sales have grown by an astounding 9900% over the past six years. One of the biggest drivers of this is the upsurge in online retail which has exploded by 66% since the onset of the pandemic.
“People now prefer to shop from the comfort and safety of their homes where information such as the availability, size and delivery of an item is one click away. This eliminates the hassle of going into a store where people could potentially be placing themselves and their loved ones at risk, especially with the fourth wave on the horizon,” says Clinton Leask Business Development Lead at Pay@, one of Southern Africa’s leading payment solutions providers.
He encourages brick-and-mortar establishments to consider making the move to ecommerce in order to remain competitive, and to benefit from the increased consumer spending that takes place around events like Black Friday. “Ecommerce also offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to participate in other online events like Cyber Monday, as well as to initiate spontaneous sales and discounts which is not always that easy to action in the so-called real world.”
Leask notes that with the ability to receive payments from customers being an obvious concern for businesses considering making the transition to ecommerce, they need to consider partnering with payment solution providers that enable secure transactions to take place. “With the value of e-commerce transactions in South Africa set to surge 150% to R225bn by 2025, businesses need to ensure that they have secure payment systems in place or else become prey for cybercriminals.”
He also advises businessowners to consider the fact that 23.5% of South Africans are unbanked. “What this means is that they might not have the capability to make online payments since this typically entails using a credit or debit card, or paying by EFT. However, businesses can offer these customers the option of paying for their purchases at retailers like Shoprite, PEP or Pick n Pay or even at their local spaza shop.
“Additionally, businesses should have more than one payment method available to consumers. This will allow customers to make purchases in ways that are convenient for them.”
With payment reconciliations being crucial for providing businessowners with a complete picture of their company’s cash-flows, Leask shares that having real time validation is a must to prevent payment misallocations. “Payment misallocations can be stressful for both companies and their customers, especially when large sums of money are involved. At Pay@, for instance, our clients receive a comprehensive daily report of the previous day’s transactions before 8AM, as we reconcile all data received from our networks at the end of each day. This makes us the only payment service provider to have eliminated payment misallocations. On major sales days like Black Friday, accurate same-day payment processing is even more important for businesses.”
He concludes by saying that ecommerce is the way of the future. “Businesses should be cashing in on the opportunity it presents by ensuring that they use optimal payment solutions.”