Have you recently bought something online using your tablet or smartphone? Chances are you’re one of the increasing number of South Africans who use their phones for ecommerce transactions. If you think ecommerce is experiencing a boom now, just wait until the end of the year, when Africa’s mobile penetration rate is set to double.
If it seems too good to be true for online retailers, that’s because it is. The ecommerce industry has never been more competitive, as consumers have their pick of any number of local and international retailers.
All of this choice means consumers can be picky about who they do business with. Keeping customers happy is the single biggest challenge retailers face in an era of social media and instant gratification.
Building strong relationships with your customers might be easy when you’re a start-up, but what happens when your client base grows faster than you can handle? Covering all of the customer touch-points starts to feel like a speeded up game of Whack-a-mole.
Responding to customers timeously and with results is a key component of maintaining them. While many online businesses have the right front-end technology in place, they often lack the back-end systems needed to implement an integrated CEM (customer experience management) strategy.
Then, there’s the other challenge – offering the significant number of unbanked South Africans a means to pay for their online purchases. It’s essential that online retailers provide mobile payment or credit line options.
The costs involved in implementing end-to-end CEM strategies mean that we’re seeing more companies turn towards outsourcing. They can deliver the customer-centricity they need to stay competitive without the overwhelming upfront investment in people and tech.
One of the key benefits about outsourcing is that it’s scalable. Businesses instantly have the resources they need to keep customers satisfied and in the buying lifecycle.
As the ecommerce market matures and online retailers find themselves facing significant customer churn, we anticipate we’ll be seeing a lot more of them exploring how offshoring can work for them.