Find me a way to avoid having to brave traffic, crowds, and human interaction whilst shopping, and I will spend my money.
I guess that is part of what makes online shopping so popular, and the country’s biggest merchants are making some serious dosh.
At the top of the food chain is Naspers, who now own 96% of Takealot, which is decent when you consider that industry speculation puts Takealot’s yearly revenue at more than R3 billion.
Then there’s the fact that Spree and Superbalist are now merging, and will form FashionCo, which Takealot will run.
All in all, business is good, so what’s the problem? Over to MyBroadband:
It is understandable that smaller South African online retailers are watching Takealot closely, trying to figure out how they can compete against the giant.
However, the biggest threat to online players in South Africa may not come from Takealot – but rather from international companies targeting local consumers.
While Amazon is the best-known international ecommerce retailer which ships directly to South Africa, many other companies from the United States and China are now targeting local shoppers.
These companies offer products at lower prices than South African online shops, and with direct shipping consumers often do not care where the goods come from.
What’s more, these overseas companies seem to be spending heavily on advertising in order to gain traction in the local market.
You might have seen ads like this following you around:
We’ve already had the chat about Wish and their series of very weird ads.
Cool, but 15 days for delivery? Someone is having a laugh – I want it at my door within a week.
Pop a product into Google for yourself, and you might just find the likes of Gearbest and Cafago appearing in the search results.
The international players smell blood, and they have one distinct advantage:
Two ecommerce players, who spoke to MyBroadband on the condition of anonymity, said local shops cannot compete on price against Amazon or the Chinese players.
They said the only real benefit which local ecommerce players can offer is faster local shipping, but that is usually not enough to create loyal customers.
There are also the benefits of local product support and guarantees, but these factors do not rank highly when a client can get a big discount from an international retailer.
If the biggest benefit of shopping locally, as opposed to internationally, is speedier delivery times, then there seems to be a gap in the market for those who can speed up the process.
Or not, because Postbox Courier already does exactly that, offering a groundbreaking service that gives you a shipping address in the US, UK, Australia and Hong Kong. So, if you’re buying products that don’t ship to SA, then just give your new US / UK / AUS / HK address, which Postbox Courier give you.
As soon as it is delivered there, which is usually the same day, then Postbox Courier will grab it and deliver it to your door in South Africa in three to five days.
They handle your parcel every step of the way – meaning it doesn’t get “stuck” at Customs here in SA, and they also make sure you don’t get stung with the wrong VAT duty.
There are no setup fees or subscription fees, because it’s a simple Pay As You Go service.
The world of online shopping is cutthroat, and everyone’s looking for an advantage here or there, so who knows what comes next.
Oh, and do yourself a favour and never, under any circumstances, buy anything from Loot. They seem unable to comprehend the meaning of customer service, and nor do they seem bothered.
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