Worldwide, Black Friday marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season even though many stores are already decked to the hilt with tinsel, baubles and bunting.
Images of parking lot fights, packed shopping aisles and snaking queues will reach exaggerated proportions come Friday 24 November.
Last year, South African retailers had similar experiences as great deals and discounts attracted many shoppers to their stores — and the accompanying chaos.
Some savvy shoppers however, avoided the malls and chose to purchase online.
According to i-Pay CEO Thomas Pays, e-commerce may be in its infancy stages in South Africa compared with global markets but the adoption rates are increasing and there is big uptake on special days like Black Friday.
“Two factors driving preference for online shopping include consumers having more payment options coupled with increased safety and ease of use,” says Pays. “When consumers think online shopping they immediately associate it with credit cards or traditional EFTs but seldom consider the third payment option — instant Automated EFT.”
Instant automated EFTs, such as the i-Pay service, allows consumers to make online payments without having the actual card present, app downloads or registrations and it eliminates human error.
“When making card payments, you can sometimes enter the wrong digits or at least spend more time than necessary triple checking what you have entered. Unlike traditional EFT, you don’t need to be concerned with putting in the wrong bank account details, incorrect reference numbers or sending proof of payments, making i-Pay the most mobile friendly too,” explains Pays.
Even though, according to World Wide Worx’s Online Retail in South Africa report released last year, only 1% of overall retail in 2016 was attributed to online there was still an expected R20-billion turnover, of which 20% was generated during the festive season alone.
“That’s a lot of transactions in a short space of time especially on a day like Black Friday. There is a huge influx of online traffic — similar to the way people pile into the malls — causing back-end systems to crash. i-Pay won’t have this problem because each bank runs its own system, ensuring the payment goes through without delays or system crashes. i-Pay offers an innovative payment method that is free for consumers, safe, quick and significantly reduces the chances for system failure” says Pays.
i-Pay’s top tips to avoid the pitfalls of busy malls include:
* Price check: Always check the prices of products before the specials go live so that you can work out exactly how and where you will be saving.
* Have a strategy: Plan your shopping by creating a list, research the retailers who have started advertising their deals and prioritise the products you really want.
* Stay connected: Monitor social media to see what specials are taking place and where. Set up a Black Friday WhatsApp group to share your findings with friends and family.
* Stick to your list and budget: Paying with credit means you can go over your budget so choose your cheque or debit account when making payments through the i-Pay option.
* Divide and conquer: Set up a joint bank account which you and your partner can access using the same online banking details. One person can be in charge of the toy shopping while the other can get those good deals on electronics.