Blog » Expanding ecommerce: Shopify’s impact in South Africa 

Expanding ecommerce: Shopify’s impact in South Africa 

With the rise of online shopping, ecommerce has become a crucial aspect of business growth, especially for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). In South Africa the ecommerce market continues to expand, and one platform that has made a significant impact is Shopify. In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of Shopify in South Africa and provide some tips for using this platform to grow your online business. 

The rise of Shopify in South Africa 

Shopify, a Canadian ecommerce platform, has been steadily gaining popularity in South Africa since its launch in 2013. This platform allows businesses to create and manage their online stores, with features such as customisable templates, secure payment options and marketing tools. With the increasing demand for online shopping in South Africa, Shopify has become a go-to platform for businesses looking to establish an online presence. 

Shopify’s user-friendly interface is a standout feature that significantly benefits those who use the platform. The platform’s intuitive design allows entrepreneurs, many of whom may not have extensive technical backgrounds, to easily set up and manage their online stores. This accessibility is crucial for SMEs looking to establish a strong digital presence without the need for complex technical expertise. 

Tips for using Shopify in South Africa 

1. Utilise local payment methods 

One of the key factors in the success of ecommerce in South Africa is the availability of local payment methods. When setting up your Shopify store, make sure to offer payment options that are popular in South Africa, such as credit and debit cards, EFT and mobile payment methods like SnapScan, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Zapper. This will make it easier for customers to make purchases and increase your chances of making sales. South Africa’s diverse market demands flexibility in payment options.  

Shopify supports multiple payment gateways, allowing businesses to cater to the specific preferences of their target audience. This adaptability contributes to higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction, essential elements for businesses aiming for sustained growth. 

2. Optimise for mobile 

With the majority of South Africans accessing the internet through their mobile devices, it’s crucial to optimise your Shopify store for mobile. This means ensuring that your website is responsive and easy to navigate on a smaller screen. Shopify offers mobile-friendly templates in their website builder, but it’s also important to regularly test your website on different devices to ensure a seamless shopping experience for your customers. As mobile device usage continues to soar in South Africa, Shopify’s mobile optimisation ensures that you can tap into this trend effectively. 

3. Offer local shipping options 

Shipping can be a major concern for online shoppers in South Africa, with long delivery times and high costs being common issues. To combat this, consider offering local shipping options, such as courier services or click and collect, to provide a faster and more affordable delivery experience for your customers. This will also help you stand out from international competitors and build trust with your local customers. 

4. Use the available tools 

Shopify provides a range of tools designed to facilitate business operations and enhance their online presence. As mentioned previously, the platform features a user-friendly website builder for the straightforward creation and customisation of online stores.  

A key aspect of Shopify’s functionality lies in its app ecosystem, offering applications to address diverse business needs. These applications range from marketing tools to analytics resources, allowing entrepreneurs to make informed decisions and allow for sustainable growth. The inventory management system ensures systematic tracking and organisation of products, contributing to operational efficiency. This toolkit serves as a practical asset, enabling businesses to optimise operations and maintain competitiveness. 

As the ecommerce market in South Africa continues to grow, Shopify has become an essential tool for businesses looking to establish an online presence. By utilising local payment methods, optimising for mobile, offering local shipping options, and utilising a trusted payment app integrations like Payfast by Network, you can effectively grow your online business in South Africa.