The year 2012 has been a busy one for Lima Bean. While we’ve almost doubled in size (touching 30 now) we’ve barely been able to keep up with all the work. South Africa is typically a few years behind the developed world, but this year, a lot of catching up has been done.
Big shake-ups have happened this year, specifically in the e-commerce industry.
Enter Zando. New products, new processes (return products as you receive them and be fully reimbursed), plenty of staff and a lot of marketing spend. The seemingly unlimited cash provided by German owned Rocket Internet has been aggressively spent on advertising, specifically in traditional areas such as radio, TV and print, which have so far been ignored by most e-tailers.
Others have quickly followed suit, specifically Takealot, Wantitall and Kalahari. This aggressive marketing has led to a new level of visibility on e-tailers, further convincing traditional retailers to branch out into e-commerce, including “our own” Sportsmans Warehouse.
A certain level of maturity has also been reached with regards to mobile app development. Not long ago, every corporate was adamant that they needed an iPhone and/or Android app developed and that they needed it now! - without really thinking about the business case or considering whether a mobile website might be better suited.
Where the business case is strong, apps make a lot of sense. As an example BabySense’s parenting app for iOS or an Android app for First Medical Company that captures PODs for deliveries.
It would seem that the past 12 to 18 months have seen apps (from a corporate, not consumer perspective) shoot down the Gartner’s Peak of Inflated Expectations, into the Trough of Disillusionment and now find themselves at the Foot of Enlightenment.
Google has also been busy. Besides the general new product development, their bread and butter, i.e search, has also undergone many facelifts. Panda, Penguin and Exact Match Domain have caused many smaller websites, specifically affiliate marketing sites, a lot of pain. I would go as far as saying that livelihoods have been affected. Gone from page 1 of Google search results are sites that rely heavily on an SEO-friendly domain name, are overly SEO’d, have weak but numerous backlinks and have poor UX. Notwithstanding the uproar about these updates, they make sense. The purpose of every update is to give the searcher the highest possible level of satisfaction in terms of “getting their question answered” and “enjoying the experience” once they have clicked through...
This means that while high quality content is still king, the site must also be well thought out, well designed and reputable.
All this has made it harder for lower budget websites and affiliate sites.
Exciting things have also happened in the e-learning space, driven forward aggressively by the indomitable Sam Paddock and his Getsmarter. While they continue to make waves in the B2C e-learning market (their traditional strength) they have branched out into B2B e-learning with great success and we are proud to be associated with them. Watch this space.
Lima Bean has also partnered with a number of traditional and digital agencies over the past 12 months and we’ve been proud to deliver on some very creative “creative” - being the brawn behind the brains. We hope to continue these relationships in 2013.
So what does 2013 hold for digital in this country?
A lot of hype has been around LTE, but as a mainstream offering, it is still a far way off. Penetration and most importantly cost will remain major barriers. E-commerce will continue to grow (maybe not quite to these levels) and more corporates will realise the importance of a well-constructed mobile site. Digital campaigns that are integrated across many mediums will continue to bombard the consumer, and site design will start becoming more creative, as older browsers are dropped for those that are HTML5/CSS3 compliant.Happy holidays!