South African Retailers Failing Online


Are South African retailers failing online? A recent study by the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) published by BusinessTech has revealed that South African retailers did little to advance their sub-par online shopping offerings in 2014.

Reasons why South African retailers are failing online

  • There is a big gap between what retail customer’s expectations about their shopping are and what they are actually experience. Retailers do not deliver on the shopping experience expectations of their customers;
  • Omni-channel retail which is the simultaneous use of two or more channels, like using a smartphone when shopping in a store, or watching TV and using a tablet, will be among the big challenges, and key opportunities, for South African retailers in 2015. The report noted that South African retailers’ multi-channel retail offerings were below par when compared with many of their international counterparts, which offer consumers higher-quality designer websites and online shopping.
  • Almost 63% of shoppers research purchases online before buying in stores. “This supports growing evidence that a good online strategy and offering combines, not competes, with offline retail. E-commerce is helping physical stores and malls succeed,” the report said.

The online retail sector in South Africa has also major macro environmental issues that hinder their growth:

  • Power outages – unannounced power cuts due to the bad infrastructure maintenance by ESKOM means that many people can’t go online;
  • Ongoing labor actions – the South African postal service offers an important service by getting the products of SMEs to their online customers. The ongoing strikes of postal workers forced South African SMEs to use more expensive courier services;
  • Rand: US dollar exchange rate – South African online retailers pay many Rand for products and delivery from overseas.


The big issue with South Africa Failing online has to do with the gap between those that have and those that don’t have.

A well researched and written Business Plan helps to get your business started the right way.

Also read: Some Reasons Why Retailers Battle To Move Online In Africa

Image Flickr

Published by

Douw G Steyn

Management consultant, blog writer, dreamer

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