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How To Sell Products Online In South Africa
As the infrastructure for access to the internet improves, and more South Africans are coming online, they are turning to eCommerce sites to purchase goods and services. The internet is making it easier for consumers to research products and alternatives, find service providers, conduct window shopping, and of course, making online purchases.
The eCommerce market is still a small percentage at around 1.4% of the total retail market in South Africa, but we've seen reports that it is growing at a range of 20 - 35% annually. The growth of local eCommerce and the lower barrier to entry for entrepreneurs with the ease of setting up an eCommerce enabled site will only see this trend continue to grow.
If you're thinking of leveraging eCommerce as your primary source of sales or augmenting your current offline or brick and mortar sales, then here are our recommended options for local entrepreneurs wanting to sell their goods online.
Your own website
The best option, in the long run, is naturally having our an online presence that you fully own, manage and customise your products and offerings. Taking advantage of content management systems like WordPress or Shopify, you can build a low-cost eCommerce website that can accept online payments and have you up and running in no time. If however, the complexity or cost of running an eCommerce site is not something your business is ready for, you can leverage other local eCommerce platforms and websites to reach customers and conduct business online.
eCommerce marketplaces are large online retail platforms that currently dominate the South African online retail space as they have the funds to gather large audiences through their various advertising channels. These platforms, however, do allow you to list your products with them should you meet their reseller criteria. Your products will be listed on their site, and you'll be able to take advantage of their brand and audience to reach customers on a large scale. They also handle the consumer payment process and at times, part of the logistics, which makes it an attractive option for small businesses who want to tap into the growing eCommerce interest in South Africa.
The most popular eCommerce marketplaces in South Africa are:
TakeAlot is South Africas premier online store with millions of products and plenty of daily active users looking for goods online. They have a comprehensive 3rd party marketplace service that offers sellers of all sizes access to their audience by listing your products for sale via their site.
2. Bid or Buy
Bid or Buy has been running since 199 and has grown into South Africas leading online marketplace, bidorbuy has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell virtually anything online at a fixed price or in an auction format.
Localized is an online marketplace for South African businesses to showcase and sell their products through our platform. Similar to the AliExpress model, we are a multivendor marketplace that tailors to retail and small businesses in South Africa.
PriceCheck is South Africa’s largest eCommerce product aggregator & financial services platform. Established back in 2006, it has grown into a platform that allows you to compare millions of products from thousands of stores.
5. Facebook Marketplace
Like it or not, Facebook has taken over South Africa's internet usage and is still the most popular social media network in the country. It has leveraged that popularity in several ways with its Marketplace function being one of the more popular with locals. Posting regular ads on Facebook Marketplace is a great way to leverage social media traffic and to convert it into eCommerce sales at a very low cost.
6. Hello Pretty
Hello Pretty is South Africa's top designer and artisan marketplace which allows you to list products on their platform. The site has an extensive showcase of locally-made design & craft products. You can list products in the following categories gifts, jewellery, fashion, grooming & body products, wedding products, homeware, art, items for kids & babies, and a vast range of other quality products and sell directly to consumers.
South Africans love a good bargain and its the reason why there are so many deal sites currently running and always looking for discounts to share with their growing audiences. If you've got discounted items you would like to move, then reaching out to these deal sites to get listed is a great option to try and move volumes of stock.
If you would like to leverage South African deal sites you can find a comprehensive list of local deal sites here.
Classified sites have been a staple of many bargain hunters and those looking to find products retail stores may not stock, custom goods, rare items or end of life items. Classified sites offer small business owners a platform to promote their goods and services and reach users they would not otherwise be able to tap into without deep budgets for advertising. It also offers you access to users with a deep intent to buy as they scroll through numerous ads looking for goods or services they need.
If you would like to take advantage of South African classified sites you can find a comprehensive list of local classified sites here.
Don't feel like reading?
If you would like more detail on each eCommerce optional available to South Africans then check out the recent workshop we conducted with the help of UK South Africa Tech Hub. The workshop covers how to get started with eCommerce platforms, payment options and delivery options available locally.
- Che Kohler - nichemarket
- Shabnam Osman - Yoco Payments
- Lars Veul - Pargo
If you're unsure about setting up an eCommerce site, then feel free to reach out to us for a consultation and we'd be happy to assist you. We've built several eCommerce sites for both local and international clients and we're able to provide customised offerings to suit your needs and budget.
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African retail business owners can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.
If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts about eCommerce.
- Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Business
- 10 Crucial Magento Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Online
- How To Bootstrap Your eCommerce Businesses
- 10 Emails Every eCommerce Site Should Have
- What Does An SEO Optimised eCommerce Product Detail Page Look Like
- Get More Sales On Your eCommerce Site With Shopping Ads
- 10 Easy Marketing Ideas For eCommerce Sites
- How eCommerce Sites Sabotage Their SEO
- How To Verify Shopify Stores in Google Search Console