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Small startups Ecommerce, the future for South African business

When I first started out, running a business wasn't that complicated.

A business could be a single store, a chain of stores that operate on a regional, national, or even international scale, or it might be a mail-order company.

However, ever since the invention of the Internet, every company has had the potential to provide services to customers located in any part of the world. This has allowed them to compete (and win) against franchises with physical presence in every country on the planet.

Even the smallest e-commerce businesses can do better than their competitors if they have the right marketing plan, customer service, and business procedures.An efficient internet strategy will help enhance the profile of a brand, which is beneficial to companies that also have a physical presence in their communities.

In spite of this, there are still companies operating that ask, "Why does this matter?"

The answer is simple: if your firm does not have a presence on the internet, it will fall farther and farther behind its competitors. The use of mobile phones for online shopping has more than doubled, from 23.1 percent in 2013 to 46.5 percent in 2014, as stated in the Effective Measure South Africa eCommerce Report, which was published in March of this year (2015).

In addition, a poll conducted online in South Africa in 2015 by South African Shopper found that more than 80 percent of South Africans between the ages of 16 and 24 make purchases online.It makes sense to think that as this generation gets older, their interest in the internet will grow even more.

They will definitely teach their kids to shop online when they become adults and have kids of their own or run their own businesses.
Because it is anticipated that this growth pattern will continue eternally, companies who do not adopt the use of the internet run the danger of jeopardising their possibilities to create their brands and make sales.

A small store in Cape Town, for example, would be unknown to anyone who had never been to the Mother City – unless the store sells its goods online, in which case the brand could be seen by anyone in the world. If the store does not sell its goods online, it would be unknown to anyone who had never been to the Mother City.

Luke McKend, Country Director of Google South Africa, provided confirmation of the expanding eCommerce trend during the most recent uAfrica eCommerce Conference (while acknowledging its challenges). He forecast that the amount spent online in South Africa will rise by 25% this year, and that the country will have around 29.8 million Internet users by the end of 2016.

Even with a website that is up and running properly, conducting business online can be challenging for many reasons, particularly in Africa.

The two most common challenges are how to distinguish oneself from the millions of other websites that are available on the internet and how to build a trustworthy relationship with customers so that they can shop with full confidence, knowing that the website they are purchasing from will deliver the goods they have paid for on time and in the manner that they have requested.

These challenges can be conquered by forming a partnership with an e-commerce website that grants local companies the opportunity to promote directly to the site's big and engaged audience through the use of a high-quality digital platform. These e-commerce platforms give users access to a significant section of the world's population, in addition to a dedicated consumer base and several prospects for brand development.

Once a customer has shown interest in a product or service, it is imperative that the "sales promise" be kept. It does not matter how positive the image of the brand is presented online; a negative image of the brand will be formed if the customer does not receive exactly what they expected to receive.

Eric Edelstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of Daddy's Deals

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