WeChat launches Offline to Online transactions in South Africa


The launch of Offline to Online (O2O) commerce in South Africa has allowed JD Group, the home of stores like Incredible Connection and Russels, to create a virtual store with relatively less overhead costs compared to a traditional retail store.

In June, WeChat introduced South African consumers to the first Offline to Online campaign. Launched in partnership with Stuff Magazine and Incredible Connection, the campaign allowed readers to buy goods straight from the magazine pages and have the items delivered to their doorstep.

This campaign has opened up new opportunities for O2O Commerce in the country. According to JD Group Strategic Projects executive Christo Viljoen, over 2 000 tech products were sold. Items such as Xiaomi cell phones and Apple Macbooks sold out in less than five days of the magazine hitting the shelf.

“In the past 10 years, retail has transformed from analogue to digital. At JD Group we have embraced it, and have used it to create a seamless shopping experience. The power of Offline to Online commerce is how it has changed the customer journey for the better. This was evident with the high-volume of products sold through the magazine. It was clear our customers absolutely loved the experience,” Viljoen says.

The launch of WeChat Wallet has made it easier for the young and unbanked to transact online. Customers do not need a chip and pin enabled card to use WeChat Wallet.

Users can visit their nearest PicknPay and Boxer EasyPay pay point to load their WeChat Wallets with money to transact.

“The success of the Offline to Online campaign is largely due to the ability of O2O to target audiences and close the gap between the offline discovery of products and online commerce. Through the campaign, we were able to sell tech products straight from a magazine that reaches and speaks to tech enthusiasts. We are making every day easier for our customers and our partners,” says WeChat Africa CEO, Brett Loubser.

Due to the success of the campaign, WeChat along with Incredible Connection and Stuff Magazine have extended the campaign for three more months.

“As South Africa’s leading IT retailer, Incredible Connection is very proud to be part of launching this new transactional platform and experience to the South African consumer. We have seen an amazing reaction from consumers with these offers. Customers have been very willing and open to accept and transact with this new type of commerce,” says Incredible Connection CEO, Stefan Marnewick.

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