• Craig Howes

8 Best eCommerce Platforms for South African businesses

Choosing the best eCommerce platform is essential for any South African business or online store. There are a number of different platforms to choose from, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.


What is the best e-Commerce platform for South Africa?

The Short Answer, in most scenarios, if I was starting up an e-commerce brand or online business I would choose.

  • Wix (Best all-rounder for small business to medium business, good online store)

  • Shopify (Best Online Store)

  • Clickfunnels (Best for Digital Products and Service based business)

  • Woocommerce (if I already had a successful WordPress site)

  • Magento (If I had an extensive business)

In this blog post, we will take a look at the 8 best eCommerce platforms in South Africa. We will also discuss the benefits of eCommerce, and look at some of the trends that are shaping the future of e-commerce.


We’ll also compare:

  • The best website builders for small businesses.

  • The best free and cheap options.

  • The ones with the best SEO.

  • The best platforms with online store capabilities.

  • The best builders for agencies.

  • And the best options for photographers and artists.

Jump to Sections


Let’s get started.

Before we look at which eCommerce platform is best for you it is important to understand what type of products or services you want to sell.

Are you selling?

  • Physical goods

  • Digital products

  • Brick and mortar Services

  • Online Services

Secondly,

it's also important to understand which stage of business you are in.

  • Are you a startup?

  • Small business?

  • Large enterprises?

This will help to guide your decision when it comes to choosing an eCommerce platform.

Now that we have a better understanding of the products and services you want to sell, as well as the business stage you are in, we can take a look at some of the best eCommerce platforms in South Africa.


Each e-commerce platform has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your specific business needs. The 6 platforms we will be discussing are:


Let’s take a closer look at each of these eCommerce platforms in the context of South Africa.


Shopify Store

The first platform on our list is Shopify. Shopify is a powerful eCommerce platform that is easy to use and provides a wide range of features for shopping online. It is also one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in South Africa, especially if you are looking to sell products.


Benefits of using Shopify include its ease of use, its wide range of features, and its flexibility. Drawbacks of using Shopify include its monthly fees and the fact that it is not as widely used in South Africa as some of the other platforms on this list.


Shopify is best for businesses that are looking for an easy-to-use platform with a wide range of features. It is also a good choice for businesses that are looking for a platform that is widely used and has a lot of support.


Shopify Pros

  • Easy to create with Great Templates

  • Wide range of features for automation

  • Widely used- Good support Shopify

  • Great Conversion plug-ins

  • Affiliate marketing plug-ins

  • Can scale to a large online store

  • Inventory management

  • Drop Shipping integrations

  • All the basic features

Shopify Drawbacks

  • Shopify works best with physical products

  • Templates are good but can be complicated to customise

  • Updates might require a Shopify developer

Shopify is Best for

  • Shopify is best for Online stores as well as businesses with a physical presence that wants to sell online

  • Small Businesses to Large Enterprises

  • Online Retailers


Wix Online Store

Wix is a great choice for those looking to build their own site without any technical knowledge, with its drag and drop elements design.


They have over 100 million users and 500+ prebuilt templates that will help you design your website the way it looks best!

Since WIX offers so many options, there's no limit on what kind of design approach or style might suit someone - whether they're an entrepreneur selling products online from home via social media platforms like Instagram Stories; somebody running businesses across multiple states as well


However, it is a bit more expensive than Shopify but requires less professional development which saves you in the long run. Wix is becoming the website builder of choice in South Africa Currently, Yoco is the best South African payment gateway for Wix in South Africa


Wix Pros

  • Easy to use with Great Templates (Easily Create)

  • Best for Owner run websites (Create your own Website)

  • Easy to customise

  • Wide range of features for automation

  • Great Conversion optimisation widgets

  • New integrations make it more popular in South Africa

  • Excellent SEO Capability

  • No Web Development Skills Required

  • Powerful mobile editor

  • Easily turn your e-commerce site into an App.

  • Inventory management

  • Marketing automation

  • No Coding skills required

  • Third party apps

  • Great Ecommerce add on

  • Direct support

  • Local Support

Wix Drawbacks

  • Not as many payment gateways are set up in South Africa, however, more are being added constantly. Currently, we use Yoco as our payment gateway.

Wix is best for

  1. Service based companies

  2. Agencies

  3. Small Online Stores

  4. Online Magazines

  5. Affiliate Marketing sites

  6. Brick and Mortar Stores

  7. Restaurants

  8. If you don't currently have an existing website or want to overhaul your current website


Click Funnels

Click Funnels is an eCommerce platform that is designed for businesses that want to sell digital products. It is a bit more expensive than Shopify and Wix, but it is also much easier to use. That said, it is not as widely used in South Africa as some of the other platforms on this list.

Click funnels specialised in lead generation (Thanks Russell Brunson) and the sale of digital products. What makes Click FUnnels exceptionally powerful is that your website behaves as a sales funnel. You can take a customer on a journey from awareness all the way to purchase without them ever having to leave your website.


The combination of Facebook ads pointing to a click funnel landing page is exceptionally powerful and something we recommend you explore if you are in the digital product space.

We have also seen examples of click funnels working well for brick and mortgage type businesses like gyms, restaurants, and dentists to mention a few.


Click Funnels Pros

  • Easy to use

  • Selling digital products locally and internationally

  • Can take payments directly on your website

  • The website behaves as a sales funnel

  • Can integrate with Facebook ads

  • Great conversion optimisation tools.

  • Integrated email strategy

  • State-of-the-art marketing integration

Click Funnels is Best for

  • Selling digital products

  • Attaining high conversions

  • Brick and Mortar stores

  • App Sales

  • Online courses

Click Funnel Drawback

Click funnels have an amazing workflow, however that workflow is very reliant on specific content as you journey through the Sales Funnel.

The website builder requires your company to have a lot of reviews from previous customers written and in video format. The funnel also works best when you have video content on your landing pages. With all that said, if you have this kind of content in place or can create it this platform can skyrocket your business.

Get in touch with us, if you are looking for content.


WordPress + WooCommerce

WordPress site is a popular content management system that can be used to create websites of all types. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that turns a WordPress website into an eCommerce store. WordPress + WooCommerce is a popular choice for businesses in South Africa for a number of reasons. It is relatively easy to use, it is flexible, and it is very affordable. The main drawback of using WordPress + WooCommerce is that it requires a bit more technical knowledge than some of the other platforms on this list.


WooCommerce

Another great eCommerce platform for South African businesses is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that turns your WordPress website into an online store. It is extremely user-friendly, and provides a wide range of features. Benefits of using WooCommerce include its user-friendliness, its wide range of features, and its affordability.


Drawbacks of using WooCommerce include the fact that it requires a WordPress website, and that it is not as widely used in South Africa as some of the other platforms on this list.


Unless you have a great WordPress website and support team, I would not recommend this to new e-commerce stores.


PrestaShop

PrestaShop is another popular eCommerce open-source platform that is widely used in South Africa. PrestaShop is a free and open-source eCommerce solution that provides a wide range of features. Benefits of using PrestaShop include its affordability, its wide range of features, and its flexibility. Drawbacks of using PrestaShop include the fact that it is not as user-friendly as some of the other platforms on this list, and that it is not as widely used in South Africa as some of the other platforms on this list.



Magento is Now Adobe Commerce

Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform that is used by many large businesses around the world. It is not as user-friendly as some of the other platforms on this list, but it provides a wide range of features. The benefits of using Magento include its wide range of features, scalability, and flexibility. Drawbacks of using Magento include its complexity, its high cost, and the fact that it is not as widely used in South Africa as some of the other platforms on this list.





OpenCart

OpenCart is a free and open-source eCommerce solution that is easy to use and provides a wide range of features. Benefits of using OpenCart include its affordability, its ease of use, and its wide range of features. Drawbacks of using OpenCart include the fact that it is not as widely used in South Africa as some of the other platforms on this list, and that it lacks some of the advanced features offered by some of the other platforms on this list.



Summary of e-commerce platforms South Africa.

These are just a few of the many different eCommerce platforms available to South African businesses. The best platform for your business will depend on your specific needs and requirements. We recommend that you take the time to research all of the different options before making a decision.


It's important to keep in mind these are just platforms, or templates for creating a digital version of your business. The Best platform for your business should mirror the functions your business does in the physical world into the digital world.

What is e-commerce?

E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods or services over the internet. E-commerce businesses can range from small, family-run businesses to large, multinational corporations. The growth of eCommerce in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal, with online sales increasing at a rapid pace all over the world.

There are many reasons why eCommerce is such a popular choice for businesses. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits is that it allows businesses to reach a much larger audience than they would be able to if they were selling through physical stores alone. With an eCommerce website, businesses can sell to customers all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Another benefit of eCommerce is that it is usually much cheaper to set up and run an online store than a brick-and-mortar store. This is because businesses do not have to worry about the costs associated with renting or buying retail space, hiring staff, and stocking inventory.


What is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is an eCommerce service that authorizes credit card or direct payments for eCommerce transactions or online payments. A gateway encrypts sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, to ensure that it is secure when it is transmitted.

What is the best payment gateway for South Africa?

Some of the most popular payment gateways used in South Africa are PayFast, PayPal, SnapScan and Yoco

Running costs of an e-commerce website in South Africa

The running costs of an eCommerce website will vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the website, the number of products being sold, and the payment gateway being used. In general, however, businesses can expect to pay around R500 to R5000 per month for their eCommerce website. This includes hosting fees, domain name registration, and SSL certificates.


What is the future of e-commerce?

The future of eCommerce looks very bright. The global eCommerce market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.7% between 2018 and 2023, reaching a total value of $27 trillion by 2023. This rapid growth is being driven by a number of factors, such as the increasing popularity of mobile devices and the growth of the middle class in developing countries.

The future of eCommerce in South Africa looks especially promising. The South African eCommerce market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.6% between 2018 and 2023, reaching a total value of $8.5 billion by 2023. This rapid growth is being driven by a number of factors, such as the increasing penetration of internet users, the growing popularity of online shopping, and the increasing use of mobile devices.


So, what does this all mean for businesses? It means that now is the time to get started in eCommerce.

8-Step eCommerce plan

1. Define your business goals

2. Research your target market

3. Choose the right eCommerce platform

4. Set up your website

5. Stock your store with products

6. Promote your eCommerce store

7. Process orders and payments

8. Provide excellent customer service


A good e-commerce solution needs to offer a wide range of features and integrations that can be customized to suit your business’s specific needs. Some of the most important features to look for include:

What features do you look for in a good e-commerce platform?

A user-friendly website builder

The platform you choose should make it easy to build a professional-looking website, even if you don’t have any experience with web design.


A comprehensive shopping cart

Your eCommerce platform should include a shopping cart that is easy to use and can be customized to match your branding.

A payment gateway integration

The platform you choose should offer seamless integration with the payment gateway of your choice. This will make it easy to accept payments from customers all over the world.

A customer management system

This will allow you to keep track of your customers’ contact information, order history, and preferences.


A shipping integration

The platform you choose should offer a shipping integration that makes it easy to calculate shipping rates and print labels.


Analytics and Reporting

The platform you choose should offer comprehensive analytics and reporting tools that will help you track your website’s performance and make informed decisions about marketing and product strategy.


When choosing an eCommerce platform, it’s important to consider your business’s unique needs. If you’re not sure which platform is right for you, our team of experts can help. We’ve helped businesses of all sizes launch successful eCommerce stores

Biggest e-commerce industries in South Africa

1. Retail

2. Fashion

3. Health and Beauty

4. Electronics

5. Cannabis

6. Home and Garden

7. Food and Drink

8. Gifts and Flowers

9. Toys and Games

10. Sports and Outdoors

11. Travel



So, What are you waiting for, Start Selling Online!

We hope you found this article helpful.


If you are looking for some more help creating or optimising your e-commerce brand, get in touch with me at craig@socomunity.com I've helped develop scale and optimise a wide variety of businesses in South Africa

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