All Posts Filed in ‘South Africa


MWEB Service Fail

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Dear MWEB,

I was giving you a nice opportunity to show that you are better than the big Mama Telkom. But you failed. Badly.
2 months ago I applied for a new telephone line with Telkom. For some reason I’ve decided to order a uncapped ADSL package including the ADSL line with you MWEB. That was a mistake. It took Telkom not even a week to get the line activated but I’m still waiting for my MWEB ADSL line & account. That got me wondering if that’s your normal service attitude towards new customers.

Dear MWEB,

I was wondering if you ever get in contact with new customers yourself or is your service understanding that customers have to call in to get updates? I was also wondering if it’s normal that your call center apparently opens on Sundays at 10AM but you still hang up on people at 10:45AM? And I was furthermore wondering why the “technical” support can’t give me any assistance regarding an ADSL line – shouldn’t they have access to the same systems as your sales department?

Dear MWEB,

I’ve got some advice for you.
Why don’t you put some more cents in your CPA/CAC to build the following:
- a simple email or sms notification when an order has been placed online. Gives us customers peace of mind.
- a sms notification system for different order-status. Something like “Your ADSL line order has been placed with Telkom” or “Please send us your proof of residence to complete the order”. Keeps us customers informed and happy.
- a notification system for your outbound call center to give waiting customers are ring after ‘order open > 14 days’. Makes us customers feel special.
- a backend to see orders and notifications. But for that you need to enable a new account/email address immediately and not confuse customers why they can’t log in. Gives us customers the feeling that you’ve got your tech under control.



Barriers for Online Shopping in South Africa

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I’m still often surprised how far behind South Africa is when it comes to eCommerce. More than 10 years ago online shopping became mainstream in Europe and the States – but still far from mainstream in this ‘upper-middle income economy’.
It’s therefore even more interesting to know what’s holding people in South Africa back to order online.

In above image (click for bigger version) are the top 10 online shopping concerns from interviewed 10.000 people in South Africa.
Lack of physical product experience and personal advice are main barriers. Trust and security concerns are however present as well. That should make all data analysts, usability gurus and UI persons happy because it’s something you can fix, yes?


eCommerce – Add to Cart Buttons

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I looked again at the bigger Internet retailers in South Africa. After comparing their social media & search rankings I spent some time researching the different ‘Add to cart’ buttons and surrounding area.

Quick learnings:

  • 6 out of 8 pages are naming the button ‘Add to cart’ while 2 pages call it ‘Add to basket’.
  • 4 pages are making use of orange buttons, other colours in use are black, green, blue and pink.
  • 6 buttons have besides the copy itself an icon for stronger call to action on the button, 2 buttons have only text
  • All pages are offering a ‘add to wishlist’ feature
  • Only 1 page is not using the add to cart area for reiterating USPs or up-selling

But let’s have a more detailed look at the actual buttons:

- product name and picture visible
- all product prices are labeled with ‘Now:’ instead of ‘Price:’

- price is noticeable bigger than the actual button
- stock count

- big button
- ‘free shipping’ USP visible
- offline order call to action

- size selector right next to ‘add to basket’ button
- black & white theme

- USPs visible
- sharing functionality

- unique SKU not product name
- quantity selector

- very colourful
- wishlist and add to cart buttons same size
- sharing functionality

- fairly small button
- up-selling feature


eCommerce Players South Africa: Social Media Activity & Search Ranking


In a little exercise I compared social media and search engine rankings from 5 of the bigger eCommerce companies in South Africa. Numbers were taken on the 24th May 2012 at noon.

I firstly looked at Facebook likes – Woolies has almost 100.000 more likes than the second strongest Zando.
Facebook likes are kind of easy to get if you have the budget – and that reflects in the ranking. The underdog yuppiechef with supposedly the smallest marketing budget ist therefore also at the bottom of the list.

Facebook Likes
woolworths – 160 953 – 64 548 – 51 445 – 25 162 – 16 377 – 7 302

Woolworths is also far ahead when it comes to Twitter followers.
It seems like takealot is not valuing the social media channel as much as the others – they’re both times second last in the ranking.

Twitter followers
woolworths – 30 054 – 1 687 (3 863 on old account) – 4 635 – 3 117 – 1 999 – 1 271

Looks like kalahari and bidorbuy got not only the oldest domains but also the best SEO teams. Or is that a sign that Naspers has some kind of link-farm between all their properties?
Woolworths’, Kalahari’s and bidorbuy’s domains are by the way all around 13 years old.

Incoming Links (Domain wide) – 221 000 – 114 000
woolworths – 23 873 – 18 118 – 6 958 – 1 572

Always interesting to see is the ratio between the incoming links and the actual linking domains.

Linking Domains – 1 299 (ratio: 88 to 1) – 1 178 (ratio: 188 to 1)
woolworths – 712 (ratio: 34 to 1) – 422 (ratio: 43 to 1) – 257 (ratio: 27 to 1) – 20 (ratio: 79 to 1)

It’s not really important anymore but still interesting – the Google Page Rank:

Google Page Rank – 6/10
woolworths – 5/10 – 5/10 – 5/10 – 4/10 – 3/10

I’ll be very interesting to see how these figures develop over the next months. Reminder is set to do the same in 6 month from now!


Which Payment Methods are South African Online Stores using?

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There’s one saying that’s big in South Africa: “Never trust anyone”.
Now why should I give my credit card details to an online store then?

Argument above is one of the reasons why eCommerce is still in its infancy in South Africa. I believe lots of user education can and has to happen through a good UI and a well thought-through order & shipping (information) process.
I’ll post some more about that in the near future. But for now I’d like to share quick research I did the other day.
Which payment methods are the big online retailers in South Africa offering?

I find most interesting that PayPal is only offered by one of the big 5 – a clear sign of the bad execution of PayPal in South Africa. I was also surprised that ‘mimoney’ is used often – I actually never heard of it before I made the quick study. Would be very interesting to know which monthly volume gets processed over mimoney. Also interesting is that EFT – a method hardly used in European and US online shopping – is used by all 5.
So maybe above saying should be changed to “Never trust anyone – but your bank”.

Site   Visa   MasterCard   Diners Club   American Express   Bank Transfer EFT   eBucks   AutoPay   mimoney   PayPal  
Kalahari   x x x x x x x x -
Takealot   x x x x x - x x -
Wantitall   x x - - x x - x -
bidorbuy   x x - - x - - - x
Yuppiechef   x x x x x x - - -
Total   5 5 3 3 5 3 2 3 1

Data was captured on the 9th November 2011 – only the most common payment methods are listed.


Comparison: IT Job Boards South Africa

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It’s not a secret – I don’t like recruitment agencies. They can’t talk tech, they brag to peer-review all candidates while sending every single CV they get their fingers on and they’re expensive.
So I’m even happier to having successfully built a good team without using a single recruitment agency. The average candiate’s profile was rather scary but there were some pearls in-between.

Anyways, I used predominantly,, and
My overall impression is:
memejobs – very little response, great candidates
bizcommunity – high response, average candidates
itjobs.mybroadband – little response, good candidates
careers24 – high response, poor candidates

But here a more detailed list. The ads were live for 1 week, we were looking to fill 5 different roles, some applications were directly send as the email addresses were listed in the job description.

site price per listing responses hired
memejobs R 342 8 2
bizcommunity R 350 23 1
itjobs.mybroadband R 342 12 2
careers24 R 392 32 0

4 of the open 5 roles were developers and sys admins and I found them on memejobs and mybroadband – looks like the nerdy crowd is hanging out there.

Lesson learned: take some time, use your network and decide on the right job listing page. And you’ll learn – it’s not that difficult after all to fine good tech people in Cape Town!