Intelligent SME.tech Issue 25 - Page 55

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// REGIONAL ROUND-UP // AFRICA | APAC | EUROPE | MIDDLE EAST | NORTH AMERICA AFRICA

FOUR WAYS AFRICAN SMES CAN BUILD TRUST

The democratisation of the online world has seen South African consumers spending more time and money online than ever before .

Joshua Shimkin , Head of SME Growth and Marketing at Peach Payments
Internationally , around 30 % of consumers have changed their shopping behaviour from physical shopping trips to online shops and marketplaces .
To get the best from the year-on-year growth and positive outlook for the e-commerce space in South Africa , there are some things small and mediumsized online enterprises ( SMEs ) can do to build – and keep – the trust of their customers .
“ It is critical for online SMEs to take a dedicated and deliberate approach to build trust with their customers ,” said Joshua Shimkin , Head of SME Growth and Marketing at Peach Payments .
Below he outlines four things online SMEs can do to take advantage of the growing e-commerce industry in South Africa :
Use trusted payment gateways
Consumers want to make sure that their data , especially credit card information , is safely secured . For this reason , online SMEs must offer payment methods that require a one-time PIN or banking app authorisation ( known as 3D Secure ).
Keep an eye on reviews
The South African Digital Customer Experience Report boldly states that the impact of reviews are ‘ indisputable ’ – they can either be the fuel to the success of your online SME , or they can lead to the failure of your business . The impact of reviews on the South African e-commerce market is massive , with the spending influenced by reviews possibly being as high as R35.81-billion this year .
Respondents to the report indicated that more than half ( 57 %) relied on third-party review platforms such as TripAdvisor , Google or HelloPeter . Shimkin said keeping track of these reviews and responding to them is a worthwhile exercise for SMEs as it helps customers to feel noticed and important , and adds a layer of legitimacy for online businesses .
Know your customers
One of the biggest challenges for local online SMEs is that consumers benchmark them against global brands and not just against their local competition . As many as 67 % of South African online consumers are spending their money on local websites , while 63 % are spending on retail apps .
An efficient way to improve the customer experience , Shimkin suggests , is using channels customers prefer and include targeted ads on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook .
“ Also keep in regular communication with your customers , asking for their direct product feedback . This will give you invaluable knowledge to improve your offering ,” Shimkin added .
Be honest and transparent
Being transparent and creating a sense of intimacy with your customers are essential to building trust with them . Luckily , what works to build offline trust works online too : frankness , underpromising , overdelivering and being true to the values you hold as a business . �
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