Woolworths steps up e-commerce effort - TechCentral

Woolworths steps up e-commerce effort

Nikki Cockcroft

Nikki Cockcroft

Food and clothing retailer Woolworths has revamped its online shopping portal and now offers consumers “almost everything” that is available for sale in its physical stores.

The Cape Town-headquartered retailer has become the latest major brand to build a website with a “responsive design”, meaning it scales appropriately for all screen sizes, from smartphones up to large desktop displays. When First National Bank relaunched its website earlier this month, it also opted for a scalable design.

Although online sales have accounted for a “relatively small percentage” of Woolworths’ total sales to date, the company says South Africans will become more enthusiastic online shoppers as bandwidth becomes cheaper and faster, and as they become more comfortable with online and mobile shopping.

Woolworths says that the number of shoppers on its website has doubled year on year. The majority of purchases are of food and household goods, and nearly half of online shoppers shop more than once a month.

Although the majority of Woolworths online shoppers are women, it says more men are signing up, especially for special occasion gift buying. Unsurprisingly, most of its online shoppers are based in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Woolworths head of online Nikki Cockcroft says the retailer interviewed 2 000 customers in focus-group sessions to establish want they want from the site. These responses formed the basis of the website’s redesign.

The redesigned Woolworths e-commerce site

The redesigned Woolworths e-commerce site

The new site has a strong focus on content, with integration into social media an integral component of its new approach. The site has been designed to be visually appealing with magazine-style photography and how-to videos, the company says.

“We have used integrated content to enrich the Woolworths online user experience,” says Cockcroft. “This means that customers can now shop by recipe and even by trend… The type of content we will be sharing is practical information that our customers can use in their daily lives.”  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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