Remember during the .com boom time when we had had new Etailers every week in the USA - from online pet food to local home delivery of goods? - well, they may have been before their time and overvalued but online commerce numbers are staggering and the increasing trend is considerable! (check the stats below)
Note: To all you online gurus out there; think about setting up a robust online retail shopping service vs launching that really cool Web 2.0 techie tool. With our booming new middle class entrants, electricity outtages, increase in female corporate employees, crime and traffic jams we've established a perfect storm for a online shop-and-deliver-to-your-door services.
* Focus on specific affluent geographies that have broadband penetration
* Market the service as retro and cool - i.e. being physically at the supermarket is so last year ;)
* Focus your marketing efforts specifically to the demographic and mix offline with online customer acquisition
* Ensure you research the international companies displaying success. There are so many lessons to be learnt from the crazy days and therefore your possibility for breakthrough here should be higher.
* Start small - one neighborhood at a time doing it yourself or with a couple students
* Make sure their commerce experience is SIMPLE, SECURE, AND SEXY ;)
* Display your values clearly - get industry stats for increase in road traffic accidents, Eskom load shedding, crime stats for mugging, local crime stats, generic stats about people not having enough time in the day
* Differentiate yourself and add more values to your service - don't just deliver groceries they've selected online on your site; establish birthdays and location data - provide reminder services to the husband re anniversaries and provide him a delivery of gifts - get to know the family and expand your business as you understand their needs better (i.e. special catering for events, movie rental pickup, etc)
* Establish simple billing methods - mixture of time and material with per effort/service
Some very recent US holiday spending numbers:
* Online retail spending hit a record USD733m on 'Cyber Monday', the Monday after Thanksgiving which usually represents the first significant spike in online holiday spending in the US. The spend figure increased by 21% on last year and was an 84% jump from the average daily online spending totals during the preceding four weeks, according to ComScore.
* More than USD 10.7bn has been spent online during the holiday season, covering the first 26 days of November 2007, a 17% increase on the same period last year.
* All in all, ecommerce in the US is expected to reap sales of USD 259 billion this year, representing an 18% gain over 2006.
* Forrester estimates that in the US, almost USD 400 billion of store sales — or 16% of total retail sales — are directly influenced by the web as consumers research products online and purchase them offline. This will expand at a 17% compounded annual growth rate over the next five years, resulting in more than USD 1 trillion of store sales by 2012.
* In the UK, online shopping sales exceeded GBP 4 billion a month for the first time in July 2007. On a 12-month basis, online sales are up 36%. (Source: Brand Republic.)
* South Korea's ecommerce sales soared more than 26% in 2006, thanks to increased spending on children's goods, fashion and sports-related items. Combined ecommerce transactions reached 13.45 trillion won (USD 14.29 billion). (Source: Yonhap.)