Awaiting Amazon SA | Your top 6 questions answered

Maximizing Your Marketing with AI: 20 Tools to Try
The countdown has begun to Amazon’s launch in South Africa! Excitement, anticipation, apprehension and lots of questions are all legitimate responses. And Phil Collins’ lyrics, Can you feel it coming in the air tonight?could very well be Amazon’s interim slogan as e-commerce businesses and consumers await its arrival. 

Amazon hitting our shores is a big deal for the South African online marketplace. For now, we are all watching Takealot – ‘SA’s leading online store’ and Amazon’s most prominent local competitor – innovate its offering, optimise its advertising and improve its platform.  

So, as an e-commerce business owner, what should you be aware of (and be doing) in the months leading up to Amazon’s expected launch in South Africa in Q1 Of 2023? 

We answer 6 of the most popular questions currently being asked:

#1 Should SA online retailers be worried about Amazon’s arrival?

The flip side to this question is, ‘What will Amazon’s impact be on local players?’ Although Amazon seems to have all the bells and whistles and will be impossible to ignore, a helpful approach is to embrace the maxim, “Competition is a good thing!”   Competition has the potential to force-grow innovation, stimulate creativity, improve current practices and boost niche problem-solving solutions. That is the optimistic viewpoint.

Amazon and SA retailers

But a realistic perspective should also feature; local online retailers who import their products are likely to face a challenge in the face of Amazon’s stronger position to import products (computers, cameras etc) from overseas. 

Where South African online businesses have the upper hand, however, is with products that do not yet feature on Amazon’s radar: products made specifically for the South African market or products that are locally made at a lower cost. South African consumers are also loyal to local businesses that offer quality products and provide excellent service. Leverage that. 

#2 How will Amazon benefit the South African consumer? 

Amazon’s impressive logistical infrastructure is state-of-the-art and its international purchasing power is streaks ahead of that of local businesses. This means that South African consumers are likely to pay less for imported products and also have access to new products and brands that are not currently available in SA.

Amazon SA and the South African consumer

But when it comes to local delivery services, it is likely that Amazon’s delivery turnaround time will be the same as that of Takealot and standard couriers until it has navigated the local waters and developed its exclusive Prime 1-day delivery service in SA. 

#3 Will all Amazon products be available in South Africa?

In a quest to be all things to all people, the scope of Amazon’s product offering is vast; more than 12 million products.

And according to Amazon’s mission statement, its “vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” 

But the initial expectation is that when it launches in SA, Amazon will only begin with its most popular online products – kitchen accessories, technological products, books etc. 

Right now, Amazon is negotiating global vendor contracts and approaching ‘local hero’ brands (wholesalers) to onboard. It will then open up its seller central portal (sell directly to the customer) and then open its brand registry. 

#4 What is the state of South African online shopping?

South Africans are creatures of habit, but there is no doubt that Covid-19 has changed our online consumer psyche, stimulating a growth trajectory for e-commerce businesses. What we are seeing post-Covid-19 is that although consumer behaviour is still largely in-store, a new hybrid shopper has emerged and there has been an 18% increase in online shopping during this time. Store retailers are tapping into the online market (thank you Checkers Sixty 60), and brands have woken up to digital. 

Amazon Sa and online shopping trends

With this in mind, and to compete with Amazon when it launches in SA, local entrepreneurs will need to focus on making a name for themselves in areas where a global, impersonal company can’t. 

Optimising your website, showing up creatively on social media, adding personal delivery notes that tell your brand story and building up your customer reviews will help you connect with your customers and keep them coming back. It’s always the little things that matter. 

#5 What should you be doing right now to prepare for Amazon’s launch in SA?

There are a number of preparatory considerations and actionable steps to start putting in place right now to become familiar with the Amazon ecosystem and how it works.

But here are a few basic marketing considerations to get you started:

  • Run the numbers (use the Amazon calculator) to estimate the cost and profitability of selling a product on Amazon.
  • Determine your product’s life cycle strategy. (Will it work on Amazon?). 
  • Consider your Amazon account options – a seller (where you have full control) or a vendor (which is by invite only and where Amazon determines the price). 
  • Get in early to claim organic ranking.
  • Use FBA to sell globally and take advantage of Amazon’s global fulfilment network.

#6 Who should you partner with on your Amazon journey?

Good question! And you have come to the right place. Since 2019 we have been helping customers – across various industries in North America and Europe – optimise their listings on the Amazon marketplace and grow their businesses. And as a local Verified Amazon Ads Partner, we are ‘in the know’ and uniquely positioned to assist you with all things ‘Amazon’ when they launch in South Africa. As a performance-driven Digital Marketing Agency, our slogan is, “We partner with you to grow your business.” 

And sticking with Amazon’s actual slogan – Work Hard | Have Fun | Make History – that is precisely how we intend to partner with you going forward.  


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