Wednesday, 07 December 2016 08:49

Foschini Group innovates in e-commerce space

Retail giant The Foschini Group (TFG) is trialling a ground-breaking new delivery service for its products being sold online. Called ‘Deliver 2 Me’, it uses a geolocation tracking system – similar to that used by smartphone tracking systems or the Uber taxi app – to enable customers to pinpoint exactly where they want their purchases to be delivered. The ‘Deliver 2 Me’ system sends an SMS to a customer when their online order is ready for delivery and the client then selects a ‘Deliver Now’ option that enables the order to be delivered to the customer’s location, typically within three hours. The location need not be the client’s home or work address, but can be wherever they happen to be located at the time. TFG is offering the service in conjunction with WumDrop, an app-based courier service that operates in much the same way as Uber. The service is currently being trialled in Cape Town, but will go live in other cities in South Africa in the early part of 2017. Traditional retailers like TFG are facing increased competition from online retailers in SA and are now moving rapidly to counter the growing threat. After a slow start, fashion retailing is one of the sectors that is moving increasingly online
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In a further indication of the growth of gamification as a marketing tool, South African retail giant, The Foschini Group (TFG) has been using an online game called Super Stan to help promote its ‘Shop Hop’ online sale taking place today (Friday). Inspired by Nintendo’s hugely popular Super Mario Bros. game, Super Stan was created to educate consumers about TFG’s so-called eMall, which gives shoppers access to 11 linked store brands within the group – among them Foschini For Beauty, Markham, Totalsports and Duesouth. “The aim of the game is to navigate Stan on a mission to grab as much merchandise from as many stores as he can,” TFG explains in a media statement. “Evil shopping trolleys have to be avoided and jumping the queue at the end completes the game. Super Stan is a cool and quirky reference to the benefits of online shopping, where customers can avoid crowds, trolleys, and queues.” As incentive to play, shoppers can win prizes ranging from tech to online gift vouchers upon completion of the game. According to a study of gamification in marketing carried out by the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’ and due to be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine, the global gamification market is set to grow in value from US$1,65-billion in 2015 to US$11,1-billion by 2020. “The strong growth of social media, propelled by the increased use of sophisticated Web-connected mobile devices, is a primary driver of the gamification market as consumers are increasingly using social media networks to connect with brands,” the report says. “This encourages businesses to, in turn, use online marketing techniques such as gamification to engage with customers.” Play the Super Stan game here: https://tfg.socialpanel.co.za/apps/super-stan-shop-hop/index.html#welcome
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South African e-commerce shoppers are snapping up shoes, electronics and homeware gifts, according to The Foschini Group (TFG), which has named these as the best sellers among its seven online stores. ‘Business Day’ newspaper quotes TFG executive Brent Curry as saying: “Footwear and electronics tend to be easy online purchases because people trust and know the brand and they don’t really have to touch and feel the product. Gifting, because it can be placed online and delivered the next day, is excelling as a category.” The group launched online stores late last year for @Home, Hi Online, Duesouth, Totalsports, Sportscene and Anatomy. According to ‘Business Day’, it plans to have online selling platforms for all of its 18 retail brands by 2018. Curry said e-commerce sales were currently running ahead of expectations and online was already making a 2.5% contribution to overall sales in less than a year. The original expectation was for a 5% sales contribution by 2018. The 2014 MasterCard ‘Online Shopping Behaviour Study’, published in conjunction with SA-based research organisation World Wide Worx, noted that South African online shoppers were becoming more diversified in their shopping choices. “The products that consumers are buying suggest that online shopping is becoming increasingly mainstream, which also bodes well for local retailers,” Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, said at the time. “No longer is online shopping confined to books and DVDs, plane tickets and apps.” A survey published last year indicated that local Internet users increasingly want to shop online, with 22% of people saying they have already made online purchases and a further 48% saying they expect to do so in future. Among the biggest barriers, though, was concern about whether the items ordered would be ‘as described’ and the security of online payments.
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