A review of the critical success factors and challenges facing e-commerce in the clothing industry in South Africa
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The internet has introduced a new channel of sales to the retail industry. Traditionally, the bricks and mortar retail space has predominated the retail giants’ attention; however, the e-commerce space has introduced a new dynamic they cannot ignore. South Africa, as a developing country, has faced challenges with the availability of internet access across all its regions due to the geographical location and spread. Location and logistics are but a few of the challenges facing the e-commerce organisation and consumer. A review of the public literature has identified a gap in research into the critical success factors and challenges facing the clothing e-commerce industry in South Africa. The intention of this study was to identify key themes of critical success criteria and challenges facing the clothing e-commerce industry by interviewing e-commerce professionals. The open questions and challenges identified through these interviews were combined with open questions from the literature review to form a primary questionnaire that could be launched to a primary consumer market segment. This retail consumer market was approached through a mall intercept survey and an online survey to obtain a reasonable representation of internet users and non-internet users in the target sample. Key findings from the e-commerce professional and manager interviews ratified the key themes of the critical success factors and challenges identified in the public literature review. The interviews did, however, place stronger emphasis on product range, price and customer service as being key contribution areas for critical success factors. The research identified a good product range, experienced and skilled senior management, good customer service, a robust and quality logistics model, strong security and clearly defined efficient internal processes. The research also identified high delivery costs and delays, product promised is not the product delivered, inefficient return policies and low quality e-commerce websites as key challenges facing the clothing e-commerce industry. The researcher suggests that further research can be conducted on the consumer adoption rates of clothing e-commerce and the impact of the declining Rand on the profitability of clothing e-commerce in South Africa.