eCommerce can be traced back to the 1970s with its roots in the transfer of digital sales documents, but really the start was in around 1995 when the world’s biggest eCommerce player, Amazon was introduced to the world.
In 2021 eCommerce is expected to have over 2.14 Billion buyers worldwide and a projected revenue of 4.927 Trillion Dollars. South Africa currently has around 25 Million buyers and a value of 46 Billion Rand which is expected to reach 225 Billion Rand in 2025 with an annual growth of 30%.
The best time to get into start an Online Business in South Africa was yesterday, the next best time is right now.
Below we will share the basics needed to start an eCommerce / Online Business:
Something to sell
The first thing that you will need to start your eCommerce journey is something to sell. There are many things that can be sold online, these can vary from physical to digital and from products to services.
- Physical Products: Electronics, Books
- Digital Products: Audiobooks, Video Courses
- Services: Web Design, Marketing, Appointment Bookings
Someone to sell it to
Now that you have something to sell you need someone to sell it to. You can have the best product or service, but if nobody wants to buy it, you won’t sell anything.
Make sure that there is a market for your product or service before spending money on product development. This can be done by researching for competitors and doing further market research.
A Platform to sell it on
There are so many places to sell online in 2021 it’s a bit overwhelming.
- Facebook Marketplace
- Bid or buy
- Your own website powered by software like WordPress and WooCommerce or Magento
Our suggestion here is to start with whatever is most familiar to you and what would be the most cost efficient.
A way to accept payments
Commerce is nothing but the transfer of value. If your product or service has value to the potential buyer, they will purchase. In addition, when they do purchase, they will give you money which has value to you.
Some of the known Payment Gateways in South Africa
Making the people who would buy aware
We have a product, we have buyers. Now you need to make them aware of your product. This is what we would call marketing.
There are probably just as many forms of online marketings as there are platforms to do it on.
Some of these forms of eCommerce Marketing include:
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Making use of Paid Advertising
Rinse & repeat
As you can see, everything about eCommerce is fairly straightforward and you can start your own Online Business with a little effort and persistence. The success of an eCommerce Business however is not. Success in eCommerce is highly dependent on initiative, motivation, dedication and the ability to persist even when your idea does not work the very first time. For those who do get it right, the rewards are plentiful.