We might be in the midst of a global pandemic and recession, but South Africa’s resilience and entrepreneurial nature continues to look for solutions instead of challenges.
One such initiative is the inaugural Ecommerce Day, which will take place on 10 March 2021. To grow the local ecommerce sector, some of the biggest players in the industry are banding together to help local entrepreneurs start or expand their ecommerce businesses.
Black Monday and Cyber Friday have helped consumers become more familiar and comfortable with online shopping, which has given the industry a significant shot in the arm, but there is still a need amongst ecommerce businesses to understand how to improve their sales and marketing, reach customers, leverage networks, and build better businesses geared for future growth.
“To give smaller ecommerce retailers the best chance of success, it’s vital that established stakeholders in the industry collaborate to provide them with the support they need to grow, as well as remove any unnecessary barriers to entry,” says Tom Stuart, chief marketing officer at Lulalend, and one of Ecommerce Day’s partners.
Through various events, including webinars, podcasts and expert panels, as well as demos and special offers, Ecommerce Day will not only connect ecommerce entrepreneurs to each other and a wider network of ecommerce experts, but showcase the tools and innovations available to build sustainable businesses.
“We’re backing this initiative because we understand just how important ecommerce is in South Africa, with many leveraging digital platforms and ecommerce tools to be able to continue trading and interacting with their customers online,” says Athena Turner, xneelo’s brand manager.
“The benefits of ecommerce include lower startup costs and the ability to reach a wider market. It’s also possible to start your new venture as a side hustle, trying out your ideas before investing all your time and resources. But within all of this opportunity lies a skills gap, and because the industry is so new, we don’t have a cohesive community. Ecommerce Day is the first step towards changing that.”
Ecommerce will play a large role in South Africa’s future economic growth
“Over the past five years, the ecommerce sector has seen a steady and predictable growth trajectory of between 25% and 30% per year,” says Colleen Harrison, Head of Marketing at PayFast.
This trajectory has been accelerated by COVID-19, with January 2021 seeing a 100% year-on-year increase in total payment volumes processed for the month. With the sector’s growth already fast-tracked by between three and five years, both small and large players alike have a unique opportunity to take the industry as a whole to the next level.
“By creating a nationwide community of online sellers, Ecommerce Day helps address the challenges that online entrepreneurs are currently facing,” says Anne-Marie Green, marketing manager at bidorbuy.co.za.
“Ecommerce Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on our achievements as a sector, but more importantly, we need to celebrate and support the thousands of small businesses that are the backbone of ecommerce,” she adds. “As online entrepreneurs tend to work remotely, they’re not always aware of innovations happening within their industry, or of the support that’s available to help them grow their offering and increase sales.”
This is precisely what Ecommerce Day has been created for – to combat silos within the industry and provide entrepreneurs with the tools and expertise they need to grow their businesses.
“As an industry we’ve experienced excellent gains, but we now need to ensure that this momentum continues through 2021,” confirms Cheryl Ingram, the director of The Digital Media Collective. “A dedicated day that drives increased awareness for the channel supported by all parties across the industry can only be a positive thing.”
To view all the Ecommerce Day events, promotions and funding opportunities available on 10 March 2021, visit www.ecommerce.co.za/day.