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Mobicred expands retail network as e-commerce booms

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Mobicred CEO Jason Sive.
Mobicred CEO Jason Sive.

Mobicred, a virtual credit solutions provider for online shopping, says it has increased its network of e-commerce retail partners to over 3 000, and it continues to sign up over 150 stores a month.

The fintech company provides online retailers with a seamless credit facility for their customers, by integrating the Mobicred platform into e-commerce Web sites.

The company says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to decreased consumer purchasing power and more customers looking to credit offerings, resulting in greater demand for its services from local merchants.

The retail-agnostic facility can now be used at any of the 3 000 retailers integrated into the Mobicred platform, allowing customers to pay 10% of their credit balance per month.

Its local e-commerce network includes Takealot, Dischem, Samsung, FlySafair, Superbalist, BidorBuy, Decofurn and Game.

While COVID-19 kicked SA’s traditionally slow-moving e-commerce scene into high gear, Mobicred says online retail still makes up only 1.8% of total retail activity. Compared to other countries across the globe, the pace is still significantly slow – for instance, in the US, e-commerce makes up 18% of overall retail sales, while the UK is at 30%.

Mobicred CEO Jason Sive explains that SA has a high proportion of physical mall space per capita, and local shoppers clearly love and trust the physical buying experience, but the tide is turning, as more local merchants shift their focus to gaining online presence.

“Businesses are responding: RMB estimates there are now about 5 000 businesses online in SA with a turnover of R100 000 or more − across all segments this may be much more,” says Sive.

“For the first time, we are seeing the more traditional brick-and-mortar stores taking online seriously. We believe this is what it will take to really move the needle in terms of online penetration in the retail environment.”

Mobicred says it makes it easy for participating retailers to accept consumer credit – up to R35 000 per customer to spend at any participating e-store and pay back over 12 months with one single monthly payment.

Mobicred’s credit facility offers increased security and a simpler process through not having to use a traditional credit or debit card, access to exclusive promotions across a broad base of online shopping sites, and quick automated processing − from application, to payment, to statements, according to the company.

“The standalone credit facility is not linked to any other bank account or card. Customers pay 17.5% interest per annum, equivalent to many bank cards, as well as a small admin fee,” addsSive.

In addition to the credit offering, Mobicred offers a virtual mall where merchants can display their special offers. All Mobicred customers can view these specials on the Mobicred Mall on one page.

According to a study by Nielsen, 68% of South African consumers reduced their visits to physical supermarkets during COVID-19, while 37% increased their online shopping activity.

According to RMB, the value of e-commerce transactions in SA is expected to surge 150% to R225 billion by 2025 in response to a marked shift in consumer behaviour and also changed expectations brought about by the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 crisis.

As more customers look to online channels,Sive points out that more work lies ahead for online merchants – the pandemic has raised consumers’ expectations that all businesses should offer a variety of digital payment options for everything – from hailing a ride, to paying for groceries and takeaways.

“A key success factor for retailers will be offering consumers choice.Merchants are recognising that customers want choice in all aspects of the online experience, including delivery, click-and-collect, as well as payment tender types.

“Obviously, certain bigger retailers offer their own cards or store credit, but global trends show consumer choice is a non-negotiable. As for the smaller guys, Mobicred offers them a way to integrate easily with a safe and secure payment option. And as concerns shoppers – if they’ve never heard of a store before, they can be confident that a brand that is integrated with Mobicred is a legitimate brand.”

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