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eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa

eCommerce and Online Business In South Africa has gained popularity by the new reliance on technology and digital tools in almost every area of ​​life. We have realized that the website forms a small part of the overall e-commerce experience. 

eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa
eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa 3

   The eCommerce and Online Business website has a fantastic user experience that will generate sales. Other matters that revolve around it are: stock management, customer communication, payment options, and shipping.

   Here in the online business sector, the unwillingness to wait in long queues at physical outlets will naturally boost e-commerce sales and bargaining demand while we deal with Covid 19 safety rules. However, moving to e-commerce may not be a quick exercise. It’s a long endeavor, and it needs a step-by-step approach, with an e-commerce clear vision guiding each step. eCommerce and Online Business is more than just building a website!

   In this article, we will cover how to start an e-commerce business, what it takes to start a successful e-commerce business, and how e-commerce strategies in South Africa can help your online business.

How to make money from eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa in 2021?

eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa
eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa 4

   From an informal point of view, eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa is simply buying or selling anything online. E-commerce is the term used to describe the sum of buying or selling online.

Here are the different types of e-commerce models, including:

Making and selling

   This model is exactly what it looks like. You own the whole product and brand by creating your products and selling them through your store.

Working with a manufacturer

   This is a great idea but you can’t produce it yourself? This is the model for you. Work with the supplier to create the product you are considering, and then sell your products through the online store.


   These are great products to buy, store inventory, and sell the goods through your online store for a small profit. 

Drop shipping

   This method uses your store as an intermediary between the customer and the supplier. Sell ​​products from a variety of suppliers without having to store any front-end or inventory store loads. Once the order is placed, the supplier handles the fulfillment and shipping.

White/Private Labeling

   This includes an e-commerce store that buys premium products, then applies its private label to the product to make it a part of its brand. This is great for stores that specialize in creating a product but want to complement it with related products.

How to start an e-commerce business in South Africa in 2021

    How do you start a successful eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa? Are you prepared to embrace the world of e-commerce? Proper planning is achieving all of the goals we want to see accomplished. However, by taking all of these steps you can achieve all of the goals you want to see accomplished in your online business. Here are the steps you need to start:

Compose an executive summary

    Writing an executive summary is the first and last step in creating a marketing plan. As the name suggests, it will summarize – i.e., catalog, align, and bring together – all the other sections of the document as well as an easy and observable implementation for you, your employees, your advisors, and your (potential) investors to understand.

Identify your goals and objectives

    This is where you set the stage and draw a detailed picture of what your marketing activities will focus on for the coming year.

  • Penetrating or creating a market
  • Theft of customers from established competitors
  • Expanding product distribution (online or offline)
  • Starting a new product or product line
  • Scaling the existing development strategy at the enterprise level

Craft a mission statement and value proposal

   This is usually a nice-honorable paragraph considering the following:

Company Vision/Mission Statements

  • Why are we in business?
  • What markets do we serve and why?
  • What are the core benefits we give our customers?
  • What is it that the company likes to be known for?
  • What does the company want to prove to the industry, customers, partners, etc.?
  • What is the general vision for doing business?
  • What products/services does the company offer?

   Not all of these things need to be made in a vision/mission statement, but being aware of each of these elements can help you choose what is most important to the organization.

    For example, I have an old, high-end men’s shoe store in Cape Town. If they start an online store, I will write their mission statement to say:

“Since 1884, Barbados shoes have been equipped with luxury, handmade footwear. Our founder Bernard Loots believes that the only way to deliver a premium experience is to make eye contact, listen deeply and make person-based recommendations, not products.

   After 130 years and 3 generations, we stand by this value and are very busy slowing down and engaging each other’s worlds, ever-increasing.”

   The statement of mission differs from the value proposition, in that the value proposition is a brief promise of value. A value plan is an undertaking of value to deliver. This is the main reason the prospect should buy from you.

In short, a value proposition is a clear statement of how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their position (compatibility), delivers specific benefits (standard value), and tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and Why not from the competitors (unique difference).

   You have to propose your value as the first thing visitors see on your home page, but it should be visible in all the main entry points of the site. “

Company history

  • When and where was the company founded?
  • Why was it started?
  • How has our product evolved?

Resources and competencies

  • What are we good at?
  • What is exceptional about us compared to our current as well as our future competitors?
  • What gives us a competitive advantage?
  • What are our advantages in terms of people, products, money, technology, supply chain, etc.?

Target the right customers and market (s)

   In this section of marketing strategy, detail everything you can about your target customer or customer groups.

   This includes any relevant consumer demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • Income
  • Purchasing power
  • Family status
  • Or any relevant data

      You will find City-Data to be an excellent source of quantitative demographic information in your pursuit to identify your market for your eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa. The target customers’ section should include relevant psychographic profile information:

  • Interests and hobbies
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Websites
  • Lifestyle
  • Television show
  • Magazines

   All of this will affect a wide range of areas of your business, including brand positioning, ad creation, ad placement, and the local markets you want to enter.

   Being able to identify your target market will help you “speak the language” of your potential customers and get a higher return on investment for your creative assets.

   Try to answer the following questions when evaluating your target market:

  • What problem (s) does your product solve?
  • Who uses the product?
  • Why do they use the product?
  • When do they use the product?
  • How is the product used?

   You should also use this section to discuss how consumers perceive your product with competing products or other solutions to the same problem. What is your attitude towards your company and the general product class you serve?

   Also, describe their purchase process:

  • What is involved in the decision-making process?
  • What sources of information are they looking for?
  • What is the timeline for their purchase?
  • Who makes the purchase?
  • Who or what influences the purchase?

   And finally, provide market size estimates for what your target market includes.

  • What is the biggest market if everyone buys?
  • What percentage did you buy from in the past?
  • Given the current time frame, how much growth do you think is possible in the next quarter, year, and five years?

Analyze the situation

    This section of your marketing strategy aims to provide a snapshot of where the plan is presented. This section, in particular, can take a considerable amount of time as it examines many levels of your business, your market, where you stand, and how your competitors are doing.

   If you are running an established business, you take inventory of what is currently working here and what is not. For new businesses, this is the research that will help you understand the market. This includes an analysis of the following areas:

  • Current products
  • Product Features

   What are the key features of the products and the main benefits gained by people using the product, current branding strategy, etc. – If you are selling the same product as other retailers, the reason why people should use your “product”   should be properly spelt out and the benefits of buying from you instead of everyone.


  Describe the prices used at all distribution levels, including end-users, wholesale buyers, incentives offered, discounts, etc.


   The product is made accessible to end-users in a variety of ways, including details of the channels used, the major benefits gained by the distributor, how products are shipped, and the process of handling orders.


   Describe promotional strategies and tactics in terms of advertising, sales promotion, personal sales, public relations, and how the product is currently marketed. Take inventory of what promotions exceeded expectations in the past year and did not meet expectations. Include hard numbers whenever possible.


   Discuss the various services offered to end-users and distributors before, during, and after the sale. Include the performance or usage metrics of each service and its effect. For instance, Customers who use our styling service spend 4 times more. The wholesale ordering portal process costs 2 times more than wholesalers who use the fast wholesaler function.

Create a cross channel promotion strategy

   This section is where you will get an overview of your overall promotion plan; provide a summary of existing and new channels you want to add to the mix, and how it can affect your growth. It is important to calculate both the financial cost and the time cost that will be associated with each channel and how it will affect growth.

   Make sure all the potential channels you want to explore are included but are not limited to:

  • Partnership
  • SEO
  • Facebook
  • Referral
  • Affiliate
  • PPC
  • Street
  • Magazine and print
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Direct mail
  • Physical retail
  • Blogs
  • Other social media

Inventory Existing Marketing Assets

   This is creatively used to promote your content to existing and current customers. These may include:

  • Your website
  • Advertising creative
  • Design talent
  • HD photography
  • Business cards
  • Catalog

   Identify what you already have, and what is needed to successfully run the promotion strategy discussed in the previous section.

Create a conversion strategy

   Once you get people to your distributor’s sites or one of your distributor’s sites, how do you plan to convert them into paying customers?

  • Improving sales copy
  • High-quality photography
  • Testimonials

   On your website, simplify the search function, improve the value scheme, and increase the visibility of features that potential customers feel comfortable buying.

   Use what you know about sub-segments of customers (e.g., low-ticket spenders, frequent buyers, etc. recommend a handful of methods you might be able to get them spending more and more regularly in this area on your website.

   Conversion optimization is an ongoing process with a wide range of tricks. However, its proper use cannot be underestimated.

Explore joint ventures and partnerships

    This is where you identify the agreements you have made with other organizations to reach other customers or to better monetize your existing customers. When you see McDonald’s promoting Coca-Cola, or when you buy a remote and include an energizer battery, those are joint ventures and partnerships at work.

   Think about the things your customers buy from you before, during, or after. Make a list of companies that offer those solutions and reach out to secure them.

Detailed strategy to increase order

Details on how you can earn more per customer. They include:

  • Free shipping threshold
  • Loyalty programs
  • Bundling of product
  • Subscription services
  • Flash sale
  • Exclusive product releases
  • Savvy discounts and coupon codes

   In this section, be sure to repeat any relevant research or data supporting the need for the program. Also, provide an estimate of how much each program will cost to implement and its estimated impact on growth.

Deploy a referral strategy

   How do you motivate existing customers to refer to new customers?

   A strong referral marketing program can offer wonders for your online business; however, it needs to be carefully planned and you need to make sure that the rewards for joining are valuable to your existing customer and to whom they refer.

   Which customer divisions will be the most appropriate to deal with the referral marketing program and at what stage you should reach them. Frequent buyers, for example, can be a good starting point.

Outline financial estimates

    This is the concluding summary of all of the expenditures incurred from each of the previous sections and their estimated growth rates as well as their timelines. While these will never be 100% accurate, they will provide solid guidelines for achieving your overall marketing strategy and goals.

   As you progress through the year, work through this document and create parallel documents to discover the success of your e-commerce campaign. With any luck, you will exceed your expectations and have even more budget to play with next year.

    Already experiencing rapid growth?

   If so, it may be time to consider GrowthStart. Our unique approach is an unmatched scalability to guide new acquisition and retention strategies, sales channels, and industry trends for eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa.

Join today!


   There is a lot of work that goes into the strategy of eCommerce and Online Businesses in South Africa. If you are well-established and using multiple channels, take the opportunity as early as possible in your marketing strategy to find out which channels and segments waste your time. There are so many ecommerce platforms out there, though, like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Takealot and so on. So don’t forget to study what suits your needs right now. eCommerce and Online Business in South Africa is not easy, so choose your partners wisely.



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