SA clothing giant launches online store
- Published on 31 July 2012
One of Africa’s biggest clothing retailers, Mr Price, has unveiled an online store in a bid to boost its sales in a sluggish South African retail market.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed company yesterday launched its e-commerce website, www.mrp.co.za, which has the full range of its 18,000 clothing items available online.
Customers using the site can pay for these goods using credit cards, cheque cards, cash on delivery with store collections, electronic fund transfers, gift vouchers and Mr Price accounts. Delivery charges have also been fixed at R35 for any location in South Africa.
The launch of the website, though, comes at a time when South Africa’s retail market growth has sharply slowed. According to a report from Stats SA earlier this year, growth in South Africa’s retail sales market slowed to 1% year-on-year for the month of April.
As a result, Mr Price is looking to online sales to boost its prospects in this market, says Donovan Baney, e-commerce executive for Mr Price.
Baney says that just 0.5% of total retail sales in South Africa occur online, while in developed markets such as the US and UK this figure is between 7-10%.
However, with increased broadband connectivity in South Africa - thanks to undersea cables such as SEACOM - Baney says this low figure is set to rise in years to come, as e-commerce growth in the country is growing by 30-35%.
“We see it as an opportunity to protect and grow our market share,” says Baney.
“E-commerce is going to take off in South Africa, and like everything else South Africa will follow in the footsteps of more developed markets,” he adds.
Mr Price is not alone in having an e-commerce website in South Africa, as its rival, Woolworths, has also ventured down this route.
But Baney says that his company has particularly focused on South Africans who are not able to pay by credit card to limit barriers to entry. He further adds that Mr Price is using three delivery models to reach all South Africans anywhere in the country: couriers, post offices and an option to pick up products at any of its 400 stores.
As only 20% of Mr Price stores carry the company’s full range of clothing items, Baney says the option of ordering products online and picking them up at stores has already been noticed as popular option among customers.
“Just from our first day of trading, we’ve got 30% of our orders being delivered to a store,” he said.
Mr Price also has stores located in Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. The retail company was founded in 1885 and has been trading publicly on the JSE since 1952.