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Is Amazon SA a Threat or Opportunity for SA Businesses?

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Warrick Kernes
Warrick Kernes
Warrick Kernes, South African eCommerce Expert and CEO of The Insaka eCommerce Academy

Firstly, the fact that the largest eCommerce business in the world has come to SA proves that there is major growth still to come in eCommerce in SA. If that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t have come here. This sentiment is backed up by Discovery’s recent Spend Trend report which showed that last year’s growth in online shopping surpassed growth in brick-and-mortar sales.

For months I’ve been working with students at the Insaka eCommerce Academy to ensure that they are ready to start selling on Amazon as soon as possible because this gives businesses another channel through which to reach customers.


In business, the growth often hinges on the ability to reach customers. While I still teach my students the importance of expanding website and in-store sales, every business should also utilize marketplaces like Amazon. These platforms allow you to showcase your products to millions of shoppers.

So, while Amazon’s SA store launch is a threat for established marketplaces, it certainly represents a massive opportunity for those who are going to list their products on the marketplace and make the most of this opportunity.

Amazon’s arrival signifies a positive future for eCommerce in South Africa for both shoppers who will gain access to the ever-growing selection and for sellers who leverage the Amazon marketplace. This however isn’t the only benefit that online sellers will enjoy because companies like Takealot and Amazon bring a lot of first-time online shoppers into the market and those shoppers soon learn to trust eCommerce and enjoy the convenience that it offers, and I predict that the growth rate which eCommerce has experienced over the years will now start to accelerate.

However, even though the eCommerce industry is going to grow rapidly it is now becoming increasingly challenging for businesses to compete against these industry giants but at Insaka we are reminding our members that competition is nothing new and there will always be new competition that arises as time goes by so online sellers need to adapt. We’re also teaching our members to carve out their own value-adds to set themselves apart and to grow sales on their own platforms where they earn higher profits and build a customer database which they can sell to again in the future as this brings sustainability to their businesses.

By: Warrick Kernes, eCommerce Expert and CEO of The Insaka eCommerce Academy

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