PayFast eCommerce Virtual Summit prepares businesses for online spike

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that a strong ecommerce presence is a necessity, especially when lockdown regulations and social distancing practices push consumers to shop online. To help businesses adapt and embrace the digital economy spurred by the pandemic, the eCommerce Virtual Summit, hosted by the Insaka eCommerce Academy, and sponsored by PayFast, will take place from 25-28 May. The online event is open to the public and free to attend.

“Overall, ecommerce culture is rapidly being adopted by both consumers and merchants,” says Jonathan Smit, Managing Director of PayFast. “The Summit will bring together industry leaders to reflect on the lessons learned from COVID-19 and help other businesses start, grow and scale their digital platforms going forward.”

As a keynote speaker at the Summit, Smit will present his predictions for ecommerce over the foreseeable future and look at how the pandemic has fast tracked digital transformation both locally and abroad. “We know that innovation is borne out of disruption – we’ve seen many local retailers embracing digital platforms and ecommerce models to survive over this period. We want the Summit to continue driving innovation in the industry, post-lockdown.” 

PayFast has seen unprecedented week-on-week increases in the number of online payments made since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. “Following an initial dip at the beginning of April, the weekly trendline in total sales volumes shows incremental growth. This has been as high as a 40% week on week increase in the third week of April,” says Smit. “As businesses adapt to the lockdown regulations, more industries are relying on online payments as a safe and secure means to continue trading.”  

Beyond an immediate response to COVID-19, Smit says businesses need to invest in digital infrastructure; “As ecommerce becomes more widely available, businesses need to use novel technologies and expertise to boost their digital capacity. We want the Summit to demonstrate how retailers can go the extra mile to enhance the customer experience,” says Smit.  

Brands like UCOOK, Takealot and Yuppiechef will share their experiences and learnings of the digital transformation during COVID-19 with Summit attendees. Through innovative digital and ecommerce solutions, they have managed to serve a larger customer base while partnering with small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide essential goods. 

PayFast has registered over 7 000 new merchant accounts over the lockdown period, surpassing any other high-volume period of registrations, such as the lead up to Black Friday. “The surge shows how retailers are gearing their businesses towards an ecommerce future,” says Smit.  “The timing of the Summit couldn’t be better. Since ecommerce is now permitted across the country, businesses can use online platforms to get back on their feet.”

“As things stand, ecommerce will be the fastest way to inject life back into our economy,” says Warrick Kernes, Founder of the Insaka eCommerce Academy. “The Summit aims to help merchants, big and small with a digital strategy to manage their businesses across the various lockdown levels”.

Other key speakers at the Summit include representatives from uAfrica, Netflorist and Mobicred, as well as international entrepreneur Nic Haralambous and financial journalist Arthur Goldstuck. Google will be facilitating workshops for business owners over the course of the Summit. To register for the free event, click here

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