A Guide to Amazon South Africa’s Marketplace

May 17, 2024

Overview

Since Amazon has launched its highly-anticipated online marketplace in South Africa, we have put together a comprehensive guide to mark this exciting arrival. This guide by SME South Africa will help you navigate the marketplace, find out how to become a seller and how Amazon compares to other e-commerce companies in South Africa.

What is Amazon?

Amazon is a global technology company that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and artificial intelligence. It is one of the world’s largest online retailers offering a vast range of products, services and digital content to millions of people around the world.

Founded in 1994 by billionaire Jeff Bezos, the company was originally launched as an auction site and was considered an early competitor to Yahoo! Currently, the company is worth $ 1,95 trillion and has over 9 million sellers worldwide.

Do we have Amazon in South Africa?

Last week, the multinational tech company expanded its presence in South Africa by launching its marketplace, marking a significant milestone for small-medium enterprise (SME) owners and independent entrepreneurs in the region. Before this launch, the company primarily focused on providing services through Amazon Web Services (AWS) in South Africa, including offerings such as data storage, analytics, and machine learning tools that cater to the evolving needs of local businesses. Additionally, the organisation is establishing its South African headquarters in Cape Town. 

Will Amazon South Africa Sell International Products?

Amazon brings to South Africa its vast catalogue of products featuring 20 categories such as toys, home appliances, electronics, and loadshedding products. Products are from international partners such as Apple, Sony, HP, Lego, Maybelline, Pampers, and Johnson’s.

Will Amazon South Africa Sell Local Products

The company will also stock products from local companies such as Amanda-Jayne, King Kong Leather, Masodi, and Tiger Lily.

Additionally, the company has partnered with the non-profit organisation goGOGOgo to offer customers a chance to receive their products in handmade gift bags.  Customers can receive eligible items in these bags should they choose this option. 

Selling On Amazon 

What is The Amazon South Africa Marketplace?

Amazon South Africa’s marketplace is an online market platform where sellers can list and sell their products or services, and buyers can browse and purchase those offerings. It’s like a virtual shopping centre where multiple vendors sell their goods or services to customers who visit the website or app.

On the Amazon South Africa marketplace, sellers from South Africa can showcase and sell their products. Customers can explore a vast array of items, from electronics to clothing to books, all in one convenient place. According to Amazon, more than 60% of the items sold in its stores globally are from small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)

How do I start selling on Amazon South Africa?

To become a seller on Amazon South Africa, you must first choose the plan that works for you and your business. The individual plan is ideal for businesses selling less than 40 units monthly and in no specific category. The professional plan is perfect for SMEs that sell more than 40 units a month. This plan provides access to APIs, programmes, tools and specific categories for selling.

The first step is to go to https://sellercentral.amazon.co.za/ and log in with your Amazon account, if you don’t have one, click ‘create account’ to quickly register. Next, you start the Selling Partner Registration by clicking ‘begin’ and completing the five tasks: business information, selling partner information, billing, store, and verification.

After submitting the required documents, the verification process may prompt a video call, which can be conducted instantly or scheduled at your convenience. Once verification is complete, you’ll receive an e-mail notification, and if further documentation is required, you’ll be informed.

Verification typically takes up to two days, and upon completion, you’ll be notified via e-mail. Additionally, you’ll need to schedule a video call to confirm your identity in person by presenting your identification documents. Finally, to formalise your presence on the platform, sign into your Seller Central account and activate two-step verification.

Upon successful verification, you’ll gain access to Seller University resources, enabling you to list your products swiftly. Moreover, you’ll automatically enrol in the Amazon Easy Ship fulfilment programme, leveraging Amazon’s extensive delivery infrastructure throughout South Africa.

Amazonsa Vs Other Online Marketplaces

Amazon’s reputation and marketplace are renowned globally, but it’s essential to assess its offerings in comparison to existing marketplaces available within South Africa. In this comparison, we’ll delve into Amazon South Africa, Takealot, BobShop (previously Bidorbuy), and the Makro Marketplace to highlight their respective strengths, weaknesses, and unique features. By examining these platforms side by side, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of how they serve the needs of South African entrepreneurs and businesses.

Amazon South Africa vs Takealot

Amazon South Africa vs BobShop

Amazon South Africa vs Makro Marketplace

Summary

Amazon stands out among its competitors in several key areas. With a massive audience reach of 310 million potential customers, compared to its biggest local competitor Takealot which has an audience reach of 17,5 million.  

Additionally, the tech company edges out its competitors with its various seller programmes. With its fulfilment and merchant-fulfilled network programmes forming part of an array of seller programmes and tools. Local competitors Takealot and BobShop also have programmes and tools but fall short in comparison to Amazon. 

When it comes to payment processes, the e-commerce platforms are equally matched. Amazon, Takealot and BobShop utilise in-house payment platforms to transfer fees to sellers. However, BobShop and Makro fall ahead of the others by allowing for direct transfer of funds to sellers. This is also because the two companies take very little fees from the sellers. 

Lastly, when it comes to shipping options, Amazon, BobShop and Makro leverage local courier services. Takealot stands out because it has its own delivery system, resulting in faster delivery times. Also, the verification of BobShop outranks the others with its immediate verification. 

Overall, Amazon’s comprehensive approach to seller support solidifies its position as a leader in the e-commerce landscape.

Advantages Of Using Amazon South Africa's Marketplace

Selling on the Amazon South Africa marketplace offers a lot of advantages for entrepreneurs and SME owners. Firstly, it provides access to a large customer base, both locally and internationally. Secondly, the company’s trusted platform gives SMEs credibility and legitimacy, helping to build customer trust and loyalty. 

Shipment and Delivery

Amazon’s robust logistics and shipping infrastructure also ensure that products are delivered efficiently and by trusted courier partners, reducing the burden on SMEs to manage these processes themselves. Furthermore, the e-commerce platform’s suite of seller tools and analytics enables SME owners to optimise their listings, pricing and marketing strategies for better impact. 

The platform’s fulfilment services allow SMEs to outsource storage, packaging, and shipping, freeing up resources to focus on product development, marketing and customer service. This allows SMEs and entrepreneurs to scale quickly and efficiently, without having to worry about investing in costly infrastructure and logistics. 

Competing Against Corporate Giants

Selling on Amazon South Africa’s marketplace gives SME owners the chance to potentially compete against larger enterprises. The marketplace has an algorithm that prioritises products based on relevance, price and customer reviews, meaning that SMEs with good reviews and relevant products can outshine large brands with low prices. 

By leveraging Amazon’s expertise and resources, SMEs and entrepreneurs can accelerate their growth, increase their online visibility and build successful and sustainable e-commerce businesses.