Online shopping in South Africa offers some unique opportunities and challenges for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to create their own online storefronts. Whether you have an established business and are looking to expand your reach or you are starting a new retail endeavour, it’s well worth considering creating an ecommerce site.
The challenges to online shopping in South Africa
South Africa is a developing nation, meaning things don’t always run as smoothly as we’d like. For example, high data costs limit the average South African’s ability to shop online, though there are initiatives aiming to get more people connected.
Transport and shipping can also be difficult and costly, particularly in outlying and rural areas due to lack of infrastructure. However, there are several well-established courier companies to choose from now.
Exciting opportunities for ecommerce
While there are several big names in ecommerce in South Africa (the three biggest – Takealot, Superbalist and Woolworths – account for 15% of South Africa’s online revenue), there is still room for smaller businesses to break into the industry. Compared to opening and running a physical store, it’s cheaper and easier to create a retail website. Online stores can reach customers across the country, or even the world, through digital marketing. These factors make it possible for new businesses and small boutiques to compete with large retailers.
The number of South African ecommerce users in 2020 was around 25 million and there has been a surge in users over the intervening years, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because online shopping has become simpler and more commonplace, some of these new users will be from demographics previously averse to online shopping, such as consumers over the age of 60.
South Africa ranked 39th in worldwide ecommerce sales back in 2020. Since then, online shopping in South Africa is expected to grow by 8% yearly between 2021 and 2025, which is higher than the global average of 6%.
Get the experts to create your online store
The developers at Netgen have years of experience creating websites, including ecommerce sites, for a wide variety of businesses, big and small. We use WordPress as a base, which supports some powerful ecommerce plugins – and we’ve even created our own ecommerce template. If you have an existing retail business and are looking to branch out into ecommerce, or you have an idea for a new retail website, contact Netgen today for expert assistance to get started with online shopping in South Africa.