In preparation for the very competitive trading period that is the festive season, Loot.co.za has launched a new website – the first phase of ongoing site enhancements that will fundamentally change the site’s usability and the customer experience. These changes will complement Loot.co.za’s renowned focus on delivering a “wow” customer service experience.
With the number of online shoppers rapidly increasing each year – in 2011 South Africa’s online retail revenue generated was an estimated R2.6 billion, more than ten times what it was a decade earlier – it is clear that there is huge potential for online retailers with the vision to drive these trends.
“The growth we have seen has come during a period when there has been a relatively low proportion of internet users with the propensity to shop online,” says Arthur Goldstuck, Managing Director of World Wide Worx, which continually researches online retail. “From next year we expect an acceleration in the number of shoppers, but retailers who want to take advantage of this shift cannot rely on the old ways of conducting business online. This is the year of reinvention for those who want to be leading the race from next year.”
Online spending trends show that a large proportion of that spend occurs over the festive season. Last year, 22% of Loot.co.za’s total revenue was generated over the festive season, and given the steady rise in online spending in South Africa in recent years, it is predicted that 2012 will be no different.
Loot.co.za’s Chief Executive Officer, Gary Hadfield, predicts that the most revenue will come from books, DVDs, electronics, toys and games. The highest growth areas are likely to be electronics, computers, toys and baby. Hadfield is keeping a close eye on online shopping trends as Christmas approaches and predicts that more and more people will opt for a safe, easy online shopping experience.
As the former CEO of Kalahari.com, Hadfield is well-versed in ecommerce statistics and the manner in which digital participation has increased exponentially over the past decade. The new website development is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the broader picture of the business development strategy which he is driving.
Established in 2003, Loot.co.za traditionally has its roots in books, and over the years has grown to be he one of the top two South African online booksellers. Today, the range of product offerings on the site is vast and includes a wide range of categories, including DVDs, music, games, electronics, toys and baby products. The company’s consistent and impressive growth has positioned them as one of the largest business-to-consumer general merchandise and media product revenue generators in the country.
Hadfield says: “The new website design goes a long way towards enabling this expansion for Loot.co.za and will also support the introduction of new lifestyle categories that will live more comfortably within the modern design where the merchandise takes centre stage.”
“The challenge was to ensure that the site usability changes and the new look and feel would enhance our existing loyal customers’ shopping experience, but also have a positive impact in terms of influencing key new visitor metrics,” he adds. “This is one of many positive developments that will come into play post successfully getting new investors on board.”
Hadfield’s thoughts echo a report issued by World Wide Worx in 2012 entitled “Growth of the Internet Economy” that points to the need for increased usability of sites and interaction of brands with potential online customers.
Hadfield emphasises the importance of the timing of the new site launch, saying: “It was essential to launch the new site pre-festive season to support a very competitive trading period. We are also currently busy with a continuous cycle of range expansion to enhance our customers’ Christmas shopping experience.”
Visit www.loot.co.za and explore the new website while compiling a Christmas wish list.