Vaimo, a leading international e-Commerce supplier operating in South Africa, is seeing remarkable growth as it rides South Africa’s new eCommerce wave.
Vaimo launched in South Africa in February 2012 and is serving as the country’s only Magento Gold partner. The timing couldn’t have been better. Vaimo sales director Kevin Clarke reports that South African retailers may have been slow to take their offerings online initially, but that they are now seeing the value of online retail.
“The South African market is similar to many of our other European markets”
“There too, the pioneers in the retail arena were pure players – companies who only sell goods online. After some time, retail brands, woke up and started expanding beyond their bricks and mortar presence into the online market too. This is what we are seeing in South Africa now.”
Growing in SA
Since the company’s launch in South Africa, the Vaimo Group has grown its staff from 40 to 70 and is taking several South African household brand names to a new level with their online retail strategy.
Among its key new clients are SABS, Cape Union Mart, Vodacom 4U, Old Khaki, Poetry, K-Way and Dixon Batteries. Clarke says work is underway on e-commerce systems for other major brands too.
“eCommerce platforms are not just for traditional retailers. They are also beneficial for any company wanting to add value for their customers through an online channel. For example, a telecoms operator that may be losing clients due to long queues in their stores can offer online services to make it more convenient for customers to sign up for contracts.”
Most of Vaimo’s team members in South Africa are sales consultants, developers, project managers and designers, says Clarke. They are backed by a strong local senior executive team and Vaimo abroad; as well as by the Magento community – a vast collective of developers and e-commerce sites across the world.
Clarke notes that over 120,000 e-commerce sites worldwide use the Magento platform, with Magento seeing more than 100% annual growth and selling over 100 enterprise systems per month. Most of the sites using the platform report that they too are seeing significant growth as a result.
Vaimo itself grew out of a team of ERP experts – a factor proving crucial to the success of launching new e-commerce platforms that fully integrate with client’s enterprise systems. To date, over 300 clients have taken their offerings online in partnership with Vaimo.
Clarke expects the company to continue on its upward growth path as increasing numbers of local retailers go online.
“While retail around the world may be showing slowed growth, online retail is showing double digit growth around the world. In mature environments, this growth is around 13 – 18%; but in South Africa, online retail growth is in the region of 30 – 35%”
Clarke says this growth is set to continue. Virtually all online retailers in South Africa are showing a profit, he says – a sign that the market will continue to strengthen.
“It’s an extremely interesting market, recent research found that 46% of all online merchants in the country are very profitable, and 35% are profitable. Very few are not profitable.”
Those that failed, he thinks, may have rushed to market without due planning and an effective, agile platform.
“They may have underestimated the effort that goes into a new site. Some companies think it is just about placing products online, and they will sell. There is a lot more to it than that. Etailers need to provide a consistent and frictionless shopping experience to customers who are becoming increasingly demanding, in an environment that changes constantly.”
Vaimo stays abreast of changing customer shopping trends and partners with its clients to ensure that their e-commerce strategy change accordingly.
“We constantly review clicks and conversions, and make changes accordingly to improve the site’s success rate”
Based on the company’s successes so far, as well as the massive uptake of the Magento platform and the skyrocketing demand in South Africa, Clarke expects significant growth for Vaimo in South Africa.