For organisations operating in the digital era – in which consumers are always connected, on the go, and looking for quicker and easier ways to get things done – standing out as a leader and innovator is harder than ever.
To be a leader in the growing e-commerce sector, however, is even more difficult – calling for high levels of customer-centricity, market knowledge, first-to-market ideas, discovery, variety and the ability to make complicated technology easy to use.
This is according to Kevin Tucker, founder of PriceCheck -a South African e-commerce platform – who notes that, over the past decade, e-commerce has completely transformed how people buy and sell products and services.
“While the online behaviour of consumers continues to evolve, and more businesses incorporate an online element to their offerings, it takes an industry fore-runner to continually provide new, convenient and sought-after services, gaining the trust and loyalty of returning users.”
So, what makes for a leader in e-commerce? Tucker shares the top four differentiators.
Knowing your market
In order to successfully respond to consumer demand, embracing the ethos of customer-centricity (by engaging with users on a regular basis) is key. Not only does this assist in ensuring that users are satisfied with the variety, level of customer service and online safety features provided to them, but it allows for their changing needs and interests to be addressed in future, often before they even know they have them.
Responding to previously unserved needs
Before the introduction of the internet, and for a number of years thereafter, reference and comparison sources for products and services were limited.
Consumers needed a platform which could assist them in making informed purchasing decisions while also helping them discover their options.
Being an innovator
In addition to addressing users’ basic online shopping needs – creating a trusted platform for product discovery, comparison and purchasing – a leader in the e-commerce market needs to be innovative, continuously expanding on their service offering and shaking up traditional approaches to shopping.
For instance, PriceCheck has extended its initial offering to include a secure purchase and delivery channel for third-party sellers (Marketplace) which launched in January; a portal dedicated to the buying and selling of all things car-related (PriceCheck Cars) which was introduced in March; and the most recently announced addition, a platform to help South Africans discover, view and compare properties online (PriceCheck Property).
Keeping it user-friendly
It is easy for tech-savvy professionals to get swept away in the technology available to them, forgetting that not everyone has the tech know-how of Steve Jobs. The best e-commerce sites are actually those that are up-to-date, functional and – above all – simple.
One of the main draw cards of shopping online is convenience. In fact PriceCheck’s recent user survey identified ‘ease and efficiency’ as South African’s most liked aspect of online shopping (53%). So it stands to reason that an e-commerce platform should be easy to navigate with functional tools that are necessary and simple to understand.
“Ultimately, it is our values that set us apart from any other e-commerce platform in South Africa. In my experience, consistently incorporating new technology, innovation and approaches to customer-centricity makes for a leader in e-commerce,” Tucker concludes.
By Kevin Tucker, founder of PriceCheck.