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    Thursday, May 9, 2024

    Amazon Launches Online Shopping Service in South Africa

    Amazon launched its online shopping service in South Africa on Tuesday, challenging a number of online retailers dominated by Naspers’ Takealot.com.

    In June 2022, Amazon announced it would expand to five African, European, and South American countries: Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Nigeria, and South Africa. Two months later, Amazon registered the domain names ”Amazon.com.ng” and “Amazon.co.za” for its African project, codenamed “Project Fela.”

    Meanwhile, the eCommerce player, which had planned to launch the marketplace in February 2023, later delayed it until the end of 2023.

    However, in October 2023, it announced that its launch would be postponed until 2024 and that independent sellers in South Africa, including small and medium-sized businesses, could register on the Amazon seller platform.

    At the time, Amazon was said to be hiring for the launch of its marketplace in South Africa, including advertising and managerial positions. Upon launch, Amazon promised “hassle-free returns within 30 days via convenient options, including home pickup and self-drop.”

    With the launch, status updates on WhatsApp will be available for tracking orders, and customer service will be available via phone, email, and live chat.

    Per Robert Koen, Managing Director of sub-Saharan Africa, Amazon, “From today, customers can count on Amazon.co.za for a stress-free shopping experience, fast and reliable delivery, access to 3,000 pickup points, 24/7 customer support, and easy returns.”

    Koen confirmed that the launch will coincide with thousands of independent sellers in South Africa, after opening registration for them in October 2023. International brands like Apple and Sony debuted on Amazon.co.za with local brands like Masodi, Tiger Lily, Amanda-Jayne, and King Kong Leather. Products include small kitchen appliances, home appliances, sporting goods, and consumer electronics.

    Amazon has also partnered with a local brand, goGOGOgo, to package eligible products in handcrafted gift bags for customers. Jane Simmonds, Founder of goGOGOgo, acknowledged that it is an opportunity to broaden its reach and make a significant impact.

    Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa’s Minister of Small Business Development, emphasised the launch’s opportunities, stating that it “will create jobs and contribute to the government’s objective of repairing the legacy of poverty and inequality.”

    The launch of its service comes at a time when South Africa has seen a sharp rise in online shopping after the pandemic created an opportunity for e-commerce to finally take hold, with retailers doubling down on investments in response.

    Amazon.co.za will offer same-day delivery and next-day delivery with more than 3,000 pickup points. Shoppers will get free delivery on first orders, followed by free delivery for subsequent orders above 500 rand ($27.07), it said in a statement.

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