8 E-Commerce Tools for South African SMEs

Updated on 3 June 2024

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e-commerce tools

South Africans use their mobile devices for everything from social media to online shopping. This has increased mobile internet usage, and most entrepreneurs now turn to e-commerce stores to make money. Running an online store is much easier than running a physical store, but you need the right tools for maximum gain.

An e-commerce website is an online store where customers can find products and offers, place orders, and pay online. These stores can be accessed via mobile devices, laptops, or tablets. An online store can also serve as the digital version of a physical store. Some examples of online stores are Amazon and Takealot.

Running a successful e-commerce store requires certain tools. These tools are there to streamline, organise and automate certain processes in an online store.

Examples of e-commerce tools are e-commerce platforms, analytics, marketing, customer service, content creation, communication and internal organisations, and sales and logistics.

Below are a few examples of e-commerce tools for South African SMEs that you can use to grow your online business, gain potential customers and improve sales and profits.

E-commerce Platforms

E-commerce platforms are the digital channels where your online shop is. The platforms manage your product offerings, digital marketing, sales and operations. Shopify, and WooCommerce are examples of e-commerce platforms. Both platforms have limited free trials.

Analytics Tools in E-Commerce

Analytics are key for online businesses by providing valuable insights into customer behaviour, inventory, and website downtime. Tableau and Microsoft Power BI are two platforms that cater for small e-commerce businesses. They analyse, organise and report data gathered from your e-commerce store. Both platforms offer a free trial.

Marketing E-Commerce Tools

When marketing your online store, you need a strong digital marketing strategy. Buffer and Ahrefs are great platforms to explore for digital marketing. The platforms specialise in building an audience for your store, handling social media posting and search optimisation (SEO). Buffer has a free plan, while Ahrefs offers its customers a chance to try its tools for free.

Customer Service Tools

Customer service can make or break your online business. Using a customer service platform means your customers will not be abandoned. Zendesk and Acquire, are platforms that help with customer service, helpdesk, reporting, self-service, and includes a chatbot for customer queries. Both platforms have free trials and priced packages.

Content Creation Tools

Running an online business requires you to create images for social media and your website. Canva Teams and WordPress feature free images, website design templates and brand features needed to make your store stand out. Both platforms have free trials and priced packages.

Communication and Internal Organisation Tools

Integrating one platform for the internal workings of your business can be beneficial. This means having a platform for communication with employees, streamlining projects and sharing files. Platforms like Slack and Coda provide features such as file sharing, tracking work tasks/projects, and managing internal communication. Both can be purchased and feature free trials.

E-Commerce Tools That Drive Sales

Sales bring in more money. A platform like Salesforce can streamline your sales department to bring in more profit. The platform can also be a tool for sales forecasting by providing your business with the ability to analyse past and present sales trends and identify opportunities for improvement.

Logistics Tools

A proper logistics system plays an important role in making sure you meet your customer’s expectations regarding delivery speed and reliability. Logistics company DSV can be integrated into your e-commerce store for logistical services. This way, your customers know a trusted brand is handling their deliveries and you can run your business without worrying about deliveries.

These e-commerce tools for South African SMEs will add more value to your business. Better analytics means you can keep track of products. Customer service is better with the help of external platforms and marketing and sales are streamlined to bring in more profit. Your internal organisation and content creation are better leading to better creativity and quick turnaround of tasks or projects. And most importantly, a good logistics partner ensures your customers always receive their goods on time.

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