Upcoming awards shine light on 'small but thriving' e-commerce sector

SA online shopping is gaining momentum. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
SA online shopping is gaining momentum. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – While electronic commerce only makes up 2% of the overall retail sector in South Africa, it is growing faster than the traditional retail sector, with even the smallest niche e-commerce businesses developing game-changing ideas.

This is according to the founder and CEO of PriceCheck Kevin Tucker, who told Fin24 that the E-Commerce Awards would raise awareness of some of South Africa’s most innovative and vibrant businesses.

The third and latest ceremony is expected to take place between late August and early September.

As an organiser of the E-Commerce Awards, the product comparison and product discovery platform boss said while he already had skin in the game, he was more interested in giving other e-commerce businesses an opportunity to shine during the event.

“As PriceCheck, we don’t make ourselves eligible for any awards. We are the host and organisers and we have 15 categoriesand we let the public decide. It is an opportunity to showcase e-commerce excellence. It is the third year we are hosting them in a row.

“In SA there is little opportunity to showcase and highlight the accomplishments of the sector.

Tucker said in SA there currently existed little opportunity to showcase and highlight the accomplishments of the e-commerce sector. While 17% of retail in UK is electronic and the sector was bigger in markets like China and the United States, South African e-commerce remained small.

"The awards raise awareness to smaller companies that no one has heard of. We have niche e-commerce companies and we want to accommodate everyone.

"We believe doing that reflects the character of PriceCheck," Tucker said.

The procedure starts with a nomination run, where the public is invited to submit nomination in June through the E-Commerce Awards website. The organisers check the nominees for relevance and we put the remainders up on the site again for voting.

The organisers tally the public’s votes by collating the data. In August the organisers present final candidates to the judges. Three nominees emerge for each category and one winner each. The winners of the awards to be announced between late August and early September.

Tucker said despite the small size of the South African market, there were payment methods as diverse as the retailers themselves. There is a lot of innovation and sophistication in the sector, he said.

“What we are still seeing as a drawback is a lack of product range. In the US if there is a need for DIY tools, you can go to Amazon and there is almost a guarantee of availability and delivery. The biggest game changer in SA will be when the inventory online is the same as it is offline,” he said.

Past winners and runners up for the awards include known e-commerce platforms including Takealot, Groupon, Zando, Superbalist, Travelstart and BidOrBuy.

In 2017, Fin24 reported that e-commerce in South Africa had grown to about R10bn during 2017.

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