Mr Price online shopping site goes global
Mr Price website MRP.co.za
Mr Price will launch its online shopping website globally on Monday, meaning shoppers from around the world will be able to buy the value fashion retailer’s apparel.
The company’s e-commerce venture first went live in South Africa last year.
“The launch of the apparel division’s online sales platform, mrp.co.za, gave customers access to the entire merchandise range via web or mobile,” Mr Price CEO Stuart Bird said last week. “Although only launched midyear, the site was the most searched retail brand on Google SA for 2012.”
The retailer group’s other chain stores, Mr Price Home and Mr Price Sport, will commence online trading later in the year.
According to Mr Price, online presence is a key enabler to enter foreign markets, especially where space is a constraint and rental costs are high.
This is especially the case in several African countries, where the sluggish pace of property development and concentrated power create a significant hurdle for expansion.
“Online allows you to avoid costly investment upfront and to test new markets,” Mr Bird said. “We have acquired the domain mrp.com so the rest of the world is going to be able to shop with us.”
According to Avior Research analyst Michael McLeod, while the group’s wider online offering supported its goal of becoming a global brand, the African shopper would be more of a pertinent target. “It’s going to help them get up into Africa. I really don’t think they’re going to have much play from a big international standpoint,” he said.
“Their price points will work very well for the African market. They’re quite adaptable; we’ve seen this in how they change with fashion.
“Their low-priced trendy clothing should suit that market well .”
Urbanisation has led to the growth of formalised retail markets that are fuelling an upsurge of consumer culture in Africa. Retail companies are targeting the continent’s mushrooming middle class.
Local retailers Woolworths, Truworths and The Foschini Group are also pushing into Africa as demand for modern goods rises. It is estimated that there are now about 50-million middle-class households across Africa, measured as those with incomes of at least $20,000 a year — about the same as in India.
Last week, Mr Price said it was reviewing six possible store sites in Nigeria and Ghana, after the success of its test shops in the regions.
Noah Capital Markets retail analyst Roger Tejwani said it would benefit Mr Price to expand into Africa. ” The problem is the lack of infrastructure. They’re going to use online to bridge that in the interim.”
Mr Price said all international orders would be South Africa for now and that shoppers could use PayPal and debit or credit card for payment.
“There are two delivery options: economy, which will be sent via a hybrid of a courier and the destination country’s respective postal service; and express, which will be a courier service.
“Economy will take about seven to 10 working days, while express will take two to three .”