Online retail and lifestyle website, www.macaroon.co.za, today launched its new website to the online market. The locally designed and developed eCommerce site is now fully mobile-friendly and boasts many new features, priding itself in using the latest in design and technology to ensure a slick and seamless online shopping experience for its users.
Macaroon was launched in 2010 and has grown, both locally and internationally, into a sought-after brand, producing stylish social stationery. Macaroon’s varied and extensive product range offers personalised stationery, celebrations and home organisation solutions.
Macaroon’s bespoke designs combine with the user’s personal photographs to provide individualised stationery and accessories that are created by the user online, using Macaroon’s high-tech platform. Macaroon’s large personalised product offering includes their top-selling journals and notepads, trademark personalised stickers, celebration invitations, diaries, calendars, planners, and popular personalised bags and phone case collection.
Macaroon Director, Cheryl Liebenberg, outlines: “As a local start-up, Macaroon now boasts 14 000 registered users, 10 000 Facebook followers and IP in over 3 000 bespoke designs, spanning over 100 varied product types. Unlike other local eCommerce sites, our products are all fully designed and developed in-house. As all of our products are personalised, they are produced locally by our supply-chain partners, and packaged and dispatched in-house – ensuring a proudly South African and 100% local design, development, production and dispatch chain.”
“In 2016, Macaroon took a business decision to move away from physical retail stores, and to focus our full business efforts on our online retail offering. Research shows that South Africans have a big appetite for eCommerce. South Africa’s Internet penetration lies at 49%, coupled with an 86% adult mobile phone penetration rate, and a highly developed telecommunications network – painting a picture of a population that is more than comfortable engaging in technology. Macaroon hopes to join other well-known South African eCommerce sites as a leader in online shopping” says Taryn Hompes, Macaroon Director.
It is Macaroon’s innovative and advanced in-house technology that clearly distinguishes us from other small-business competitors in the online shopping market.
“Macaroon has developed and makes use of in-house technology, custom-built from the ground up, to fulfil the unique needs of Macaroon and to support our advanced web requirements. The advantage of this is that it is simple and seamless to facilitate changes and upgrades when needed, as our technical team is in full control of the system” says Hans Liebenberg, Macaroon Director.
Macaroon’s back-end is built on a Java stack, making use of various open source technologies. The system includes an advanced front-end tool allowing the user to personalise various Macaroon products online.
With 35% of Macaroon’s users using their mobiles to shop online, Macaroon’s newly upgraded site is now fully mobile-friendly, making the mobile shopping experience simple to navigate and meaning that orders can be easily placed from our user’s mobile phone or tablet device
With Social Media having become a way of life for most, transforming people from content consumers to content producers, Macaroon has made web integration with Social Media platforms a top priority – allowing our users full integration with their Facebook, Instagram and other image-based social profiles when using Macaroon on-line.
Macaroon users can upload pictures from their mobile devices or desktop machines, or easily pull them from their favourite social network or cloud storage. This means that the user’s Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox, Google drive and more are all highly accessible when personalising their Macaroon products.
Macaroon orders go through a very specific workflow from the time they are ordered to when they are of processed and shipped. Macaroon makes use of a custom-built order dashboard system to manage order flow.
Macaroon uses various printing suppliers depending on the nature of the product (paper, fabric or phone cases). These suppliers need to be managed within the workflow very carefully as a single order can consist of multiple products from different print suppliers.
As such, orders are Dropboxed daily to Macaroon suppliers and each supplier has a custom-built Macaroon supplier dashboard. Macaroon’s bespoke e-commerce and order workflow system allows the Macaroon processing department to collaborate on order line items from time of order until they are ready to be shipped.
With research showing that most potential internet shoppers do not purchase online because of payment security concerns, a secure payment gateway is imperative.
As a result, Macaroon now ensures maximum safety, by making use of an integration into PayU, allowing us to accept safe online payments via instant EFT, PayU Wallet and Credit Card.
PayU Business is one of the world’s largest payment providers and boasts the most reliable payment systems on the internet. Their simple, secure and innovative products are designed for today’s online world, ensuring that Macaroon can safely accept payments online and that transactions are fully protected with their robust double firewall, SSL encryption, 3D Secure and additional fraud protection.
In addition, as anecdotal research shows that many South African shoppers are under the impression that if they don’t have a credit card, they can’t shop online, Macaroon has ensured that Snapscan users can also now use their favourite payment mechanism to pay for their order online, by activating Snapscan as an online Macaroon payment option.
Shipping costs and guaranteed safe delivery are always sensitive issues for e-commerce users.
To address this, Macaroon’s upgraded site now offers a variety of delivery options, including free collection directly from their warehouse for Johannesburg-based users and free door-to-door delivery on all online orders valued at R1,000 or more.
A recent integration with Pargo allows orders to be delivered to a user’s closest Pargo point, of which there are more than 500 countrywide, for a nominal fee of R50 per parcel.
Pargo (www.pargo.co.za) is a convenient logistics solution that lets users collect and send parcels at Pargo parcel points throughout the country when it suits them best, ensuring no missed deliveries and 24/7 collection at a time that best suits the user.
eCommerce in South Africa
2016 marks the 22nd official year of eCommerce globally, after NetMarket reportedly recorded the first ever online transaction by selling a Sting CD online, on the 11th of August 1994. eCommerce has since come a long way globally – in 2015, the industry globally accounted for over $2 trillion in sales.
In South Africa, eCommerce is still relatively small with a value of roughly R7 billion, accounting for approximately 1% of the retail sector as a whole, but growing at a rate of between 25-35% year-on-year.
Statistics gathered from over 90,000 respondents during the 2015 South African eCommerce Awards survey showed the following about eCommerce in SA:
• The majority of online shoppers were women aged between 18 to 39;
• The majority of South Africans spend between R250 and R1,000 when making a purchase online.
• 33% of those surveyed made 10 or more purchases online per year; and
• 28% of shoppers make online purchases using their mobile phones.
• The busiest times for online stores was after the 25th of each month;
• The average basket size in South Africa stood around R725 per order; and
• 70% of all online transactions were paid for with a credit/cheque card.