Can You Make Money Online Selling Products in South Africa?
As we have seen with recent events, South Africa and the rest of the world is really moving in the direction of “Independent Business”. We have learned that we can’t rely on our employers to make ends meet anymore, and at the end of the day, each one of us is personally responsible for putting food on the table and keeping a roof over our heads. But can you really make money online selling products in South Africa?
Absolutely! Thousands of people are doing it already, including myself. There are plenty of different ways to earn an honest living from home working online. One of the most popular ways is selling high demand products online. Selling online can be a part-time job to supplement your existing income.
You can start your business while working at your current job. Sure, that means you’ll have to work at night processing orders and prepping them for the courier the next day, but it will be well worth it. With a little effort, it could even expand into a full-time business and your dream of being your own boss becomes a very real possibility.
Let me show you some of the things I have learned in the past 5 years earning a living working online.
Where to sell products online in South Africa?
There are many tools you can use to sell all kinds of products in South Africa. Let’s look at three of the most effective platforms that are specific to South Africa.
- Online shop using Shopify
There really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t be using all of these platforms. The more exposure you have for your product the better it is. Understandably, you have to start with one of them, so start with the one that suits you best, and once it is set up, move to the next until you have your product listed on all three platforms.
What products should I sell online in South Africa?
Before we look at the platforms we can use to sell our products, we will need something to sell first! This is probably the most important step, so let’s deal with that first. Our aim is to find at least one high demand product to sell.
Learn from your competitors.
It will be a good idea to do some market research before deciding on a product. Be smart, look at the “best selling products” on websites such as BidorBuy and Takealot. This will give you an idea of what products are selling fast! This will be a good product to start with.
Source the product on Aliexpress
I can guarantee you that 90% of those products that you see on those sites will be imported from China from websites such as AliExpress. All you need to do now is find a similar (or better) product that you can sell yourself. When you are searching for your product, make sure you read the product reviews and don’t always go for the cheapest supplier.
It is always good to order through the platform itself than directly with the supplier. Ordering through the platform will offer you protection against being scammed or ripped off.
Once you have chosen the product, it is time to put your money where your mouth is and order your first batch. If you are afraid of losing money, start off with a smaller batch to test the market, for example, 10 or so. And when you are happy with your sales down the line, gradually increase order sizes until you start to keep up with the demand.
Shipping from China can take a few weeks, so be patient.
Source the product locally
You would be shocked at how many local arts and craft shops, boutique clothing stores and gift hopes have NO online presence. Don’t be afraid to get out there and make contact with these people. South Africa is rich with talented craftsmen who would love the extra business that you can bring them through online sales.
1. How to sell products online in South Africa using BidorBuy
BidorBuy is my favorite online selling platform for the simple reason that it is very easy and quick to register. It is very similar to Takealot, except that you will need to send the products yourself. For this, I suggest that you contact a few different courier companies and get quotes. Courier can be a substantial part of your operating costs, and overly expensive courier fees might put your buyers off and they will choose a different seller to buy from.
You can also simply use the South African Post Office, however, make sure you let your customers know that the Post Office can take up to a week to deliver so that they don’t panic.
Opening an account with BidorBuy is completely free, they just take a small commission on your confirmed sales which is fair.
2. How to sell products online in South Africa using Takealot
Takealot is South Africa’s leading online selling platform and it is my second favorite. Thousands of South Africans are earning full salary selling products online. Takealot is my favorite platform because they take care of everything, from receiving the payments to delivering the orders. You just sit back and get your profits paid out once a week.
Heres the catch, getting registered on Takealot as a seller can be difficult, so just be patient and persistent.
Registering on Takealot is also free, and similar to BidorBuy, they take a success fee and a delivery fee, which is definitely worth it considering they do all the work for you.
You can register as a seller on Takealot.com here: https://www.takealot.com/sell/apply
3. How to sell products online in South Africa using Shopify
You could also open your very own online shop using Shopify. Shopify is an easy to use e-commerce platform. It allows you to list products for sale, take orders through an easy checkout process. You can even accept credit card payments through their PayFast plugin!
The bad news is that you will have to learn how to use Shopify, the good news is that there are tons of free videos on YouTube that will teach you everything you need to know.
What do I need to start selling products online in South Africa?
You will need to do a bit of work upfront. Remember, even though we are starting small, we are still starting a legitimate business operation. Here is a short list of things to get done before you can start selling
- Open a bank account. Tell the salesperson/consultant exactly what kind of business you’re starting so they can give you the best account for your business. If you want, you can use your personal bank account to start off with, but in the long term, you will eventually have to open a proper business account.
- Open a PayFast account so that you can accept credit card payments online. You will need this for your Shopify store. PayFast also integrates with other popular payment methods such as Zapper.
- You will need to open an account with a Courier Company, Many of them offer prepaid accounts that require no credit checks, which is, of course, the easiest for you. Try Fastway’s prepaid bags to start off with, they are by far the simplest courier that I know of.
Sure, there are many people doing scammy things online to make money, but that does not mean making an honest living online is impossible! As a matter of fact, many large corporate businesses are starting to shift online and thousands of their employees are now working from home.
More and more home-based online shops are popping up in South Africa and they are giving the large corporates a run for their money by providing quality products at very competitive prices. There is no reason why you can’t join the club and benefit yourself and your family.
Despite our current economic situation, we are living in an age of opportunity, it is up to us to either take advantage of the tools available to us or carry on in our old ways and falling behind with the fast pace of the world.