Johannesburg Personal Shopper, a Lucrative Business Opportunity

Updated on 8 July 2024

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personal shopping the johannesburg runner

In the busy streets of Johannesburg, personal shoppers are changing how people buy their desired products. Personal shopping has provided a lucrative business idea for individuals who prefer to gain from the convenience and increased demand from consumers.

We spoke to Jabulile Ncgobo, to get in-depth insight into this emerging trend. Furthermore, we look into the origins, operations details, and possibilities that it offers to potential entrepreneurs.

What is a Personal Shopper?

A personal shopper is an individual who purchases items on behalf of another party. Personal shoppers aid people who are too busy or otherwise incapacitated from going shopping for themselves. The items can vary from groceries to clothes and shoes.

How Personal Shopping Started for The Johannesburg Runner

Often, it simply starts with an introduction, like a friend on social media, a WhatsApp group, or casual talk about bridging a gap between busy consumers and the retail market. For some people, like Jabulile Ncgobo, The Johannesburg Runner, the journey of becoming a personal shopper started as just a way to solve their shopping problems but eventually grew into viable businesses that they engage in. As Jabulile puts it so: “I noticed there was a need amongst my peers.

“People want trendy clothes without having to go through stores or stand in queues”, the runner explains.

Client Engagement and Service Mechanics

In essence, the work of a runner in Johannesburg involves acting as a third-party shopper who goes through various local stores searching for everything from clothes to household items needed by customers. These personal shoppers mostly use digital platforms like WhatsApp, and Facebook and use social media to reach clients. They create catalogues of available merchandise, negotiate prices, and organise delivery costs. “Transparency and reliability are non-negotiable,” Jabulile says. “Customers trust us to deliver quality goods within the agreed time frame. Hence, communication is important.”

Local Trends Boost Personal Shopping

South Africans often prefer locally relevant goods. A recent NielsenIQ study revealed, “55% of South African consumers prefer to buy locally made products, while 62% try to support small brands where possible. Personal shoppers can take advantage of this by investing in sourcing the latest, trendy products and services, and marketing efforts that are strategically tailored to their potential customers.

Safety and Convenience with a Personal Shopper

Personal shoppers in South Africa offer both safety and convenience. They provide valuable local knowledge, making it safe for customers to avoid potential risks that may arise while they’re shopping themselves. Also, personal shoppers enhance convenience by saving time, efficiently sourcing items, and handling tasks like returns or exchanges. They not only add a layer of security but also enhance efficiency by delivering your products and goods and giving customers a quality shopping experience

Challenges and Setting Fees for Personal Shoppers

Determining service fees requires striking a delicate balance between transportation costs, time used during purchasing, and administrative overheads. Most personal shoppers include their running fees in social media groups; for instance, if a customer is spending R 1 to R 1 800, the running fee is R 2 000. They go beyond that. However, there are many challenges, ranging from mismatched expectations to a lack of trust, unrealistic expectations, and poor communication.

“It was not easy at the beginning,” Jubulile says. “But consistent delivery and personalised service helped me gain credibility.”.

Marketing Strategies and Competitive Edge with Personal Shopping

Successful personal shoppers utilise a combination of social media marketing, word-of-mouth referrals, and customer testimonials in their attempts to grow their client base. “It is about making people feel secure and reaching their expectations,” says The Johannesburg Runner. “Customers want convenience and individualised attention from us.” To stay competitive, one must keep up with market trends, maintain a strong online presence, and constantly improve services depending on the customer’s feedback.

Insights and Future Prospects

For those thinking of starting personal shopping services, some useful advice is clear: “Start small, but start now,” advises an experienced personal shopper. “Discover your niche, respond to customers’ needs, and develop trust through consistent performance.”

In future years, it will be possible to expand beyond local boundaries. “I could see myself expanding regionally,” the entrepreneur envisions. “This allows for diversification into luxury items or speciality services.”

Therefore, when one sees a Johannesburg runner working as it is, it shows a big trend, which is driving entrepreneurship using digital communication and changes in consumer behaviour.
These runners are not just delivering goods. They are building connections that matter, building trust, and redefining retail experiences through individualised merchandising items. With evolving times, the Johannesburg Runner could shape the industry and become a blueprint for entrepreneurs’ success as global interconnections increase.

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