Article provided by PayFast
PayFast’s Managing Director and Founder, Jonathan Smit, reflects on the unprecedented year that was and offers advice on what online sellers can do in preparation for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
The COVID-19 lockdown resulted in a massive shift in e-commerce volumes, which we’re still seeing now, and has boosted e-commerce adoption rates in South Africa by at least three to five years. Every year we’ve seen a big spike in online sales around Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM), and it’s predicted that e-commerce volumes are going to be even more pronounced this year. So simply, if you run an online store you can expect massive volumes this year; more than any of us has ever seen before.
What does this mean for you?
Preparation, preparation, preparation. In the lead up to the most popular shopping period of the year, you should put a plan in place to manage the expectations of your customers. Because at the end of the day, there are only so many boxes you can move on a daily basis. Try and figure out what that number is and plan around it. People generally don’t mind if their delivery is delayed a little bit, but you need to communicate it to them to set their expectations.
Here are some other practical questions to consider:
- Should I hire temporary staff around the busy period to pack boxes?
- How good is my inventory tracking? What happens when things sell out?
- Do I have enough boxes and packaging material?
- Do I have established lines of communication with my suppliers? With my courier company?
- Should I get a “backup” courier relationship?
Be sensible with promotions
I would highly advise that you be smart about any promotions you plan to offer. Realistically, sales are great for the consumer, but I’m pro the business owner/entrepreneur, and I don’t think it makes sense to lose money over this period (especially with the amount of stress it causes). So be smart about what you sell and how you discount (if you do). For example, if you have a loss leader which you promote, ensure your cross-selling is excellent so that you make money overall.
Doing promotions shouldn’t mean that you lose money needlessly; it’s a tool for ultimately growing your business in the long term. You should aim to try and break-even if you can when considering all costs. Ideally, you should still make a profit over this period, but you can consider it a market building opportunity too (which comes at a short term cost sometimes).
By planning ahead and taking into consideration some of the points I made above, you will be well equipped to deal with the busiest shopping period of the year. During the BFCM weekend, PayFast will be dedicated to making sure that all online payments processed through our engine will be done as quickly and securely as possible. We’ve got the payments covered so you can focus on delivering great customer service.