Make the best online shop for a small business in South Africa

Find out how to make the best online shop for your business.


How to choose the best online payment solution for a small business in South Africa

More than ever, South Africans shop online for what they need for work or home, especially since the pandemic and lockdowns. Large, well-known brands might not all be in touch with their customers.

These days, you can operate a small online shop with no inventory and a small budget. No matter how crowded the marketplace may be, you could still claim a digital spot for your small business.

How can I have a successful online shop? Don't worry about the economy. Instead, start with a plan. Then, create the best online shop for your small business in South Africa. 

We want to bring you insights that can help you on your journey to success. So, we spoke to Steve, a small business owner who has built and worked on online shops for businesses of all sizes in South Africa.

Read Steve's answers to popular questions about online shops for some inspiration.

What online shopping business opportunities are there in South Africa?

"There are opportunities in a wide variety of industries as shopping online is convenient for most people for many products and services.

"Take your time. Do your research. Find a need or want you can fulfil for people with an online shop better than anyone else.

"Major online shops might not be profitable years after their launch, but they have investors pumping money into them, hoping to break even in the next few years. However, your online shop needs to be profitable.

  • "So, spend your money wisely.

  • "Keep your operational costs low.

  • "Don't carry unnecessary stock.

  • "Promote your business online on social media and Google.

  • "Then, scale up when you make enough money."

What are the best online shops in South Africa? 

"South Africa is home to several world-class online shops across various industries.

  • "The best online shop could be the most convenient, popular website in a product category, which offers a wide selection, great prices and a good delivery service.

  • "So, do your research by comparing online shops before you make your final purchase choice.

  • "Make sure the online shop has a good reputation, is secure, and has excellent reviews." 

How can I create a free online shop? 

"There are a few website builders that you could use, from Google to Wix. Other website builders offer free trials, like Shopify.

"However, you might need to pay for the ability to process payments through it, or you can do a more manual 'free' payment option. 

"You might struggle to have all the features you want in your online shop without paying any money unless you can do coding."

Learn more about starting an online shop for a small business in South Africa

Does online shopping pay? Recent statistics from Statista revealed that revenue in the eCommerce market of South Africa could reach over R140 billion with over 17% growth into the following year.

Nowadays, it’s all about being able to shop online. Why? Because it’s so convenient, as South Africans have discovered during the pandemic’s restrictions. 

Let’s take a closer look at the steps you can take to create a successful online shop.

What should your online shop sell?

Do you currently have a small business that could benefit from an online shop? Or, maybe, you are starting a business with an online shop in mind?

Research to find the best opportunity, including a SWOT analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats analysis), which involves looking at your shop’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Then, finalise the business opportunity that your online shop can meet.

Select the right domain (website) name

Like your business name, choose a unique, catchy domain name that your customers will recognise and that matches your existing business name. Avoid using funny words or crazy spelling; keep it short, under 12 characters if you can.

Find the best website builder for your business

  • List your needs first before getting a suitable e-commerce platform.

  • Avoid choosing a website builder without doing enough research.

  • Don't make your choice based on a single factor like price.

  • The cheapest website builder could cause problems later. Instead, have the long-term in mind – is the builder secure and friendly towards smartphone users?

  • Shopify, Wix, Shopstar, and WordPress are all popular e-commerce website builders for online shops. 

  • It should have an easy-to-use visual page builder and the ability to integrate with popular payment gateways.

  • It needs to be secure from shopping cart functionality to payment processing and order completion.

How to make an online shop with Wix

How to create an online shop with Shopify

How to make an online shop with Shopstar

How to create an online shop with WordPress

How cool does your online shop look?

E-commerce website builders provide a wide range of website themes. Select a template and change it according to your needs and business branding. 

Your online shop and products

Arrange product category pages showing excellent but short product descriptions with fancy images. You want to attract lots of customers, right?

What about deliveries to your customers?

  • This is about getting your products securely and on time to your customers.

  • Choose right because you may lose half your customers through a bad delivery service.

  • Set up a shipping policy and choose e-commerce shipping solutions. 

How do you market your online shop?

Imagine no one visiting your online shop on your launch day. So, once you have chosen the most important digital marketing channels, work out for them a strategy for a pre-launch promotion.

  • For example, use social media to build up your audiences and paid advertising to target social media.

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) and email marketing are long-term strategies you can also implement.

How to do digital marketing

Launching your online shop

Will you make the online shop yourself? Then, you will ideally want to use a computer, have good-quality photos of your products, and an internet connection. 

Before your exciting launch day, check your list that everything is operating faultlessly. This includes your check-out experience, especially the payment processing integrations (e.g., credit cards). 

Connect with Yoco Gateway

Once your shop is online, it takes only a few minutes to hook up Yoco Gateway, Yoco’s secure online payment gateway. It accepts card payments on your website, followed by instant money in your bank account.

Yoco Gateway works with the popular online shop website builders Shopify, Wix, Shopstar and WordPress (WooCommerce). 

Have you just started your online shop?

Grow your business with an online shop! If you face challenges, read our article describing 8 common problems you can experience with online shopping. And remember, contact us if you need help.

Sources: How to Create, Setup, and Launch a Profitable Online Store (Seriously), eCommerce

Yoco Card Machines and Online Payments

Quiz Question 1

Want to sell in person, online or both?

In person