eCommerce: The next frontier of African Business

Wynand Geldenhuys, O'Conner Smith, Caroline Van Dyk, Piya Botha | April 2021 | 5 min read

When it comes to doing business, innovation is what sets you apart from the competition. And in South Africa, healthy competition breeds a robust economy and SME landscape.

“Retail’s transformation was well underway before the pandemic, but its impact has accelerated the pace to a trailblazing speed. The spike in South African e-commerce has highlighted untapped opportunities in omnichannel solutions.”

Established in 2017, multi-award-winning digital commerce company Vectra offers businesses in all industries integrated world-class e-commerce solutions. Through our innovative and data-driven approach, we empower fresh digital transformation in a wide range of industries – from retail and manufacturing to the financial services and healthcare sector. In addition to helping businesses grow and rapidly evolve in a digital environment, our aim is to propel Africa forward in competing not only locally but internationally.

Many new businesses have found that in order to create an effective digital footprint, they need a partner specialising in digital transformation to help increase their online presence and drive sales. Thus, Vectra’s mantra is that we want to walk this process with you, train you, and develop your business, together.

How do we do this? With an award-winning team of professional Business Analysts, Security Practitioners, Threat Researchers, Software Developers to User Interface Designers, Vectra offers bespoke holistic 360 commerce solutions for your organisation.

For one of our latest projects, Vectra has partnered with Magento, an American e-commerce solutions provider and open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP. Acquired by Adobe in May 2018 for just under US$2 billion, Magento helps thousands of brands grow and innovate through flexible cloud solutions.

With this new project, Vectra has targeted businesses that require a digital presence yet are unsure where to start. Our aim was to make e-commerce simple and accessible – and remove the overwhelming and complicated nature of the task. The lines between B2B and B2C commerce are blurring. It has become apparent that transitioning to a hybrid commerce strategy is a massive untapped market opportunity in Africa.

Our key differentiator is that we invest the necessary time to fully understand your business.

We've experienced the untapped opportunity for hybrid e-commerce across our continent – providing a solution that supports both B2B and B2C selling.

An e-commerce platform does not automatically translate to sales

Together with Magento, we develop solutions that use a Minimum Viable Products (MVP) approach, growing the e-commerce presence of a business in planned and calculated phases.

According to Vectra, the benefit of MVP-approached solutions are multi-faceted: It allows your business to start building customer relationships sooner, provides maximum effort with minimum costs, enables you to learn what your customers want in a faster and more efficient manner, reduces the room for error, and brings to focus the core value proposition.

With this new approach, we believe that our services go “above and beyond technology”. “Our key differentiator is that we invest the necessary time to fully understand your business, goals, and objectives to ensure our joint long-term success. We are a solution partner, not merely a website agency or provider."

Using our unique capabilities and expertise, sound customer references, and sector-specific understanding, we are able to become a key strategic partner for any business.

We meet your organisation where it is today, both technologically and culturally, before carefully executing a forward-thinking digital strategy that delivers – while minimising disruption to your day-to-day operations.

The lines between an in-store and online customer experience are becoming increasingly blurred. In 2020 and beyond, an effective retail strategy relies heavily on standing out from the crowd – not only through a competitive pricing and on-shelf strategy but through the fully-encompassed experience a store can provide its customer.

While foot traffic in stores has declined by approximately 57% in the past five years, the value of an in-store visit has nearly tripled. People use their smartphones before heading in-store to gather ideas, research products, and then search for local information. In addition, thirty-four percent of online retail purchases now happen on mobile devices. Thus, nowadays, it is less important for a shopper to be present in-store than it is for the store to be present wherever and whenever the shopper needs it.

For this reason, a holistic 360 solution is imperative for the success of any business and e-commerce platform. More importantly, it is crucial that these tools are implemented in the right way. Vectra offers a complete holistic solution to amplify your brand image. Strategy and Consulting, UX Design and Smart User Journeys, Development, various integrations, access to Vectra’s Digital Marketing Partners, and Vectra’s eCommerce Success Programme, all form part of the package.

An e-commerce platform does not automatically translate to sales; a digital transformation strategy performing as a strategic investment is critical to success – and Vectra’s digital solutions offer the perfect way in which to do this.