Lockdown-Inspired Digital Innovations Are Here To Stay

By: Jonathan Smit, MD and Founder

The impact of the COVID-19 has been hard felt by businesses in the service industry. Local movements, like Million Seats on the Streets and #LightSARed, have been used to demonstrate the effect the nationwide lockdown has had on the restaurant, live entertainment, events and fitness industries. The new normal, set in place by the pandemic, has presented a unique set of challenges for industries that rely heavily on in-person interaction. As a result, many have had to innovate digitally to survive.

Online payment gateway PayFast has registered over 17 000 new merchants since the start of lockdown at the end of March, far surpassing any of their peak periods to date. “As providers of online payment solutions, we play a crucial role as ecommerce enablers for local businesses. We want to see businesses succeed as they did before the pandemic,” says Smit. 

PayFast has seen a 160% increase in business account registrations compared to the same period pre-lockdown. “For many businesses that had previously relied on selling their products or services in person, accepting online payments has been a significant help in digitising their business models and offerings,” says Smit.

He reflects on digital innovations by South African businesses that are here to stay:

  1. Host classes and events online – while nothing can ever fully replace human contact, a number of industries have innovated by quickly adapting to online alternatives to deal with the lockdown restrictions. For example, fitness instructors have been offering Zoom classes to their existing customer base, and have also tapped into a new client base looking for more time-efficient and flexible exercise classes. The same applies to other industries like events, with people engaging in online quiz nights, concerts and webinars during their downtime. Online ticketing platform, Quicket was quick to cater to this new online demand by offering online booking and payment for pay-gated live streams and recordings. This has been hugely successful, with them reporting an increase of over 726% in online content available on the platform.
  2. Introduce DIY / home-based services –in response to previous lockdown restrictions some hairdressers were quick to adapt by selling at-home root touch up kits and even took virtual hair appointments where they talked clients through the process. The restaurant industry also brought fine dining into the homes of their customers by offering takeout and delivery services in addition to finish-at-home meals, paired with online classes for customers to cook along to. Although restaurants and beauty salons are able to operate again, those that pivoted their business models to incorporate an online offering now stand to benefit from an additional revenue stream over and above their pre-lockdown income.
  3. Offer contactless payment solutions –in response to the pandemic, contactless payment options have been the preferred option for the majority of South Africans, with retail spaces being quick to offer payment options like Zapper at their physical store checkout, in addition to selling their goods on their ecommerce store with an online payment gateway. Charities have also benefited through online donations, for example Ladles of Love has received donations through PayFast that enabled them to serve approximately 76 000 meals each week to those in need at the height of lockdown.

Bandile Mathebula

Award wining writer and Journalist. Founding Editor In Chief at Sibizi News. Managing Director at Sibizi Media. Vice-Chairman at Ignite Young Minds SA. I have worked in the media industry for the past 7 years working across different brands and industries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Insight: Can You Trust Your Sanitiser To Do The Job Properly?

Thu Aug 27 , 2020
Views: 17 Burt Rodrigues CEO of Biodx gives his insight into sanitisers and their residual efficacy. “Transmission of COVID-19 is a long way from over. Considering current infection rates are roughly 100 times more than our early days of level 5 lockdown. “Over the last six months of living with the virus […]

Let’s get social

Hi guys so I have this Magazine called Known Magazine @knownmagazine_, we are currently on our 4th issue. Please check it out and for improvements, I'd really appreciate your feedback! - @MathapeloPitse on the cover.


#magazine #coverstar #knownmagazine

RADIO: DJ Sbu launches a second radio station

Under Leadership 2020, a personal development & educational services company, they have taken the plunge & dedicated their focus on #OpenUpTheIndustry with a second radio outfit, aptly titled HOMEGROWN


You’re officially looking at the new Uzalo, Durban Gen & Lingashoni promo editor 🙏🏾💯🔥

God came through 🚨
Shout out Bafo Media

My #BTSignature QUEENS come in both alcoholic and non-Alcoholic! We’ve got you covered! Available at all Shoprite Liquor Stores nationwide. 😍😍😍🥂🥂🥂💫💫💫


We are proud to partner with @Boity on the launch of BT Signature. A new drink that is about to change the way we celebrate, forever! Must be 18+ to enjoy🔞. Available at select Shoprite LiquorShop stores nationwide. Follow @bt_signature for more.

Load More...
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial