Business

E-Commerce Beyond the Pandemic, with OneDayOnly’s Laurian Venter

Having worked at OneDayOnly for nearly a decade, Director of Sales and Marketing Laurian Venter is a key part of the e-tailer’s growth story – from an ambitious startup operating at a time when the e -commerce was the exception rather than the rule in South Africa, the country’s leading daily deals site in a booming online retail market.


Laurian Venter, Director of Sales and Marketing at OneDayOnly. Source: Supplied

E-commerce is now commonplace and an essential sales channel to remain competitive. This of course means that consumer expectations have increased and even digital native brands like OneDayOnly need to have their finger on what online shoppers want to stay competitive and prioritized.

As one of SA’s leading women in e-commerce and having witnessed first-hand the changing local e-commerce landscape, Venter will be among the hosts of experts sharing their insights at the upcoming Ecom conference. Africa, on her return to Cape Town from May 4-5.

We spoke with Venter ahead of the event to learn about his predictions for e-commerce beyond the pandemic and how OneDayOnly is adapting its approach to keep the customer at the center of the business.

BizcommunityLaurian, now that the pandemic is easing (fingers crossed), what do you think the growth trajectory of e-commerce will look like over the next few years, after the peak of the crisis we have witnessed?

The pandemic has established and cemented e-commerce as an ever-active player in the retail landscape – it’s now an integral part of our retail repertoire, not just an emergency alternative. It will continue to grow, although from what we have seen, in a more regular and stabilized way, i.e. not at the same crisis rate as in 2020.

BizcommunityFollowing the online growth caused by the pandemic, OneDayOnly has noticed significant changes in customer behavior over the past two years – changes in basket sizes, product mix, customer demographics , etc. ? If so, what do you think this indicates about changing customer needs?

The pandemic has somehow seen a reprogramming of behaviors where previously considered buying norms have been completely uprooted. And we had to adapt accordingly. For example, our product line changed based on what customers were looking for: to sell more clothing, home goods and exercise equipment than ever before.

Wine and now travel has also grown as a category, and we’ve gone from introducing essentials (cleaning products, toiletries, health and beauty) for 24 hours to running offers on our site, all contributing to an increase in basket size.

Customers have become more demanding, wanting more choice, convenience, platforms of choice, payment options, and more. and their needs (and therefore their behavior) will continue to evolve as the retail landscape changes – including new players entering the market as well as new technology and innovation.

BizcommunityHow does OneDayOnly, a digital native company, strive to stay competitive in a market that sees more and more brands gravitating online and launching direct-to-consumer offers?

With increased competitive activity and increased competition for share of wallet:

• Competitors up their game with great deals, added value, faster delivery and even free delivery
• Customers have the upper hand with more choices and options available to them
• There are more possibilities to change
• Customers have more power to influence a business through social media, online reviews, and word-of-mouth, and more weight is given to the overall experience

Our competitive advantage lies in our excellent offers, our wide range of products and our 24-hour time to shop.

But considering the above factors, we have made (and are making) considerable changes (based on research and insights) to improve the overall end-to-end shopping experience to maintain our edge against the market proliferation.

Highlights of the past two years include the launch of ODO:

• A more modern and contemporary website (better shopping experience)
• Our application (choice of platform)
• A new CRM platform (personalization, preferences, better targeting)
• Self-service returns (customer responsibility)
• Dynamic help center with search (information at your fingertips, less need to ask for help, empowering customers)
• Permanent Everyday Essentials shop (needs always available)

We also did a complete overhaul of our customer service to reduce query wait time (down to 18 minutes), migrated to cloud/cloud hosting (for scalability/speed/agility /growth) and continually make improvements to enable a better experience.

BizcommunityWhat does OneDayOnly consider the cornerstones of a positive online customer journey? And how has that evolved over your decade with the company?

Cornerstones of a positive customer journey:

1. Understanding of the customer (in-depth knowledge of wants, needs, perceptions and expectations)
2. Delivering on the brand promise / no experience gap (i.e. no gap between what we promise to deliver as a brand and what we actually deliver) – this will ensure no only a more positive journey, but is essential for building trust/loyalty/advocacy

ODO has evolved over the past decade from a more operational approach in the start-up years – starting the business, establishing the brand – to a more customer-focused approach.

In the early days (2010) when e-commerce was still in its infancy here in South Africa, customer expectations and competitor benchmarks were not yet established so it was much easier to follow our own blueprint and customers would follow and adapt.

With the explosion of e-commerce over the past five years or so (so not just since the pandemic), we’ve had to adapt our approach. Over the past three years, we’ve conducted more user research and considered more customer insights than ever before in the business, leading us to reframe our view of the customer journey, place our customers at the center and to make operational decisions based on the needs of the consumer.

BizcommunityWhat do you think are the most effective channels and strategies for marketing the OneDayOnly business and its offerings?

User acquisition (filling the funnel) and customer conversion (getting them to shop) are key strategic pillars.

Search, social and paid media continue to be our primary focus in the business, as digital channels provide us with immediate return on ad spend, as well as great results.

Brand building continues to grow in importance to us. Once people hear about OneDayOnly, we need to use different customer journeys to educate them about who we are as a brand, and take them on a journey to show them how we work, and try to get them to open our site/app on a daily basis, to make sure they don’t miss any amazing offers!

BizcommunityWhile Ecom Africa is expected to feature over 40 speakers and attract over 1,000 physical and virtual guests from various corners of the broader e-commerce landscape, can you talk about the value of knowledge sharing and collaboration in driving of a competitive e-commerce sector on the continent?

The past two years or so have been the most exciting times for the e-commerce market, with massive growth for everyone in the e-commerce landscape. While the competition is always tough, the exciting part of knowledge sharing and collaboration is that as one player grows, the whole market grows.

The more we can educate people about the benefits and convenience of shopping online, the better it is for the marketplace. The more we educate the public about safe shopping and managing customer credit card details, the better for all e-commerce sites.

Ecom Africa returns to the CTICC in Cape Town from May 4-5 as a hybrid event, featuring two full days of in-depth keynotes, panel discussions, networking and live Q&A sessions. For more information and to purchase an Expo Pass or All-Access Pass conference ticket, visit the Ecom Africa website. Bizcommunity is a proud media partner of the event.

E-Commerce Beyond the Pandemic, with OneDayOnly’s Laurian Venter

Source link E-Commerce Beyond the Pandemic, with OneDayOnly’s Laurian Venter

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