Gas supplies, welding equipment and consumables are now only a click away, following the successful launch of the Afrox eShop, which has already attracted more than 1 500 online customers since officially going live in June 2014.

In the digital age of business, the need for online shopping has rapidly evolved from the commercial consumer sector to the industrial sector too. Sub-Saharan African gas market leader Afrox has identified this trend through the establishment of its eShop – www.afroxshop.co.za

Afrox customer service centre self-service manager Brett Sauerman explains that 96 percent of the entire Afrox range is available via the eShop, with the exception of bulk gas orders (tank)and other made-to-order products. “The eShop provides an alternative online channel to market, and is a value-added service for numerous customers.”

The Afrox eShop is divided into two sections, namely; the ‘web shop’ – a catalogue-based facility that features all Afrox products that are available online; and ‘self-service’ – a function that enables customers to manage their own transactions using online account management features.

Sauerman indicates that Afrox first identified the need for an online store in early 2013 in response to the growing global trend of streamlining the purchase and supply process. “As a result, we launched a pilot programme with around 40 customers in April 2014. The objective was to test the system from a technical perspective and to test our supporting business processes,” he explains.

Following the success of the pilot, the eShop was officially launched in June 2014, and Sauerman reveals that the response from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. “Customers have informed us that they are particularly pleased with the ease-of-use, as well as the professionalism that is applied from start to finish throughout all the services offered via the Afrox eShop.”

Sauerman notes that the availability of products online is determined by customer demands, and is therefore continually updated. “All products ordered via the Afrox eShop are delivered onsite, although the option for depot collection will be readily available within the next few months.”

Due to the fact that the eShop is still in its infancy stages, Sauerman points out that Afrox is committed to expanding its service offering and functionality. “The online service is currently limited to South Africa; however, there is a possibility of making the service available internationally.”

By late 2014, customers will be able to open an Afrox eShop base account in under five minutes and, for added convenience, download a free mobile application service. Afrox customers have access to the eShop support team on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year.

“The support team specialises in this channel and will make sure the customers’ requirements are addressed. We currently average on 3 700 hits on the website per month. The success of the Afrox eShop is a major step forward in the local market, and I am optimistic of what the future holds for us,” Sauerman concludes.

Products available at the Afrox eShop include; industrial gases, LPG (Handigas), gas equipment, Arc equipment, Arc accessories, welding consumables, abrasives, industrial chemicals and personal protection equipment (PPE).

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