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My 5 Favourite South African eCommerce Stores in 2014 and Why

Being a voracious eCommerce news and trends junkie, there are a few online stores I follow on a regular basis. The below is a concise list of online stores in SA that are at the top of their game through a combination of eCommerce functionality, logistics and fulfilment, catalagoue presentation and navigation (UX), community building and online marketing/social media.

In no particular, they are:

yuppiechef-logo

Yuppiechef.com | No surprises here, these guys are at the pinnacle of ecommerce in SA and quite possibly the world. Launched in 2006 they’ve grown into a online behemoth whilst still retaining their obsession with customer service and customer satisfaction. You’ll find their website is laid out in a easy to navigate manner, with enough white space and subtle design elements that lend to a luxurious feel. However, they’re back end systems and processes are where they really shine. Having built a WMS (Warehouse Management System) from the ground up means that it is perfectly tailored for the their business. Here’s an interesting article about the WMS along with some video interviews with chief of operations Noel Ross-Gillespie. You’ll find that they’re doing next to no above the line marketing and promote themselves predominantly through social media and online means. Their thriving online community of aspiring pastry chefs, cooks, braaimasters and the like is testament to how well they’re doing in this sense. In 2013 Tiger Global Management LLC, who hold varying stakes in some of the biggest online players in SA, invested an undisclosed sum into Yuppiechef; which could prove one of their smartest investment as these guys were profitable long before any whispers of a global venture firm pumping in, what I can only assume, would be an 8 digit investment figure.

Mr Mantality and Yuppiechef Marketing Director, Paul Galatis a couple of years back.

Mr Mantality and Yuppiechef Marketing Director, Paul Galatis a couple of years back.

 

superbalist

Superbalist (formerly CityMob) | Being a lover of design and UX driven websites, read “pritty” things, Superbalist is very easy on the eyes. Their website is a breeze to navigate and is very adept at sucking you deeper and deeper into their categories. Below you can see that their visitors are engaged on the site for an average of 4:55 which by comparison is 10s longer than Yuppiechef’s visitors amazingly. But much like Yuppiechef the speed of the website makes it a pleasure to sift through the mountains of cool sh!t on offer. So in terms of an online store that is doing conversion marketing correctly, you’d do well to follow these guys.

alexa-superbalist

 

logo-iwarehouse

iWarehouse | Now these guys you might not have heard of, but I can assure you they’ll be climbing the eCommerce ranks and featuring a lot more in the months and years to come. They’re a camping, hunting and outdoor store that sells just about everything you could imagine around the aforementioned. Boasting a good solid website that’s easy to navigate with descriptive product pages, and big bold imagery it what makes them stand out. Their customer service and fulfilment looks to be one of their strengths too – and is the lifeblood of any sucessful ecommerce business.

 

logo-ormsdirect

Orms Direct | Traditionally they haven’t always been an ecommerce store, and started out as a bricks and mortar store before the “bricks to clicks” transition. But aside from their no frills, expansive online store, their community based approach to helping fellow photographers and videographers is nothing short of brilliant. Whether it be gear reviews, holding exhibitions or promoting photographers, these guys are doing community based market right – and giving amateur and professional photographers a like, a helping had at the same time.

 

logo-netflorist

NetFlorist | Almost as old as Mrs Balls Chutney, yet still fresh and boasting a world class website, NetFlorist take what I can imagine to be a very tricky business model (bah, perishables!) and make it work – beautifully! Their website is easy to navigate and well laid out to ensure you find that perfect gift of hamper. At checkout you can then personal the greeting card to give that personal touch. What really makes these guys stand out (and Superbalist does the same) is their product photography. Visit any of their product pages and you’ll see every product is professionally photographed, and bursting with vibrant color. The photography alone woos you… I’ve used NetFlorist on a number of occasions for both business and personal use and they don’t disappointment.

Well there you have it, my concise list of eCommerce stores to keep an eye on in 2015.

PS. In case you were wondering, Superbalist is pronounced “Superb-a-list”. Not “Super-balist” which sounds like something you might find on an oil tanker. 😉

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Mr Mantality

Mr Mantality

Lover of gadgets, men's culture, cool stuff, Earl Grey tea and all things manly. An optimist in his prime. When he's not keeping the wheels turning at Mantality HQ you'll find him trawling the web, and visiting trade shows to find the newest and coolest gadgets. During his down time he's usually with his 2 dogs, on the golf course, cycling or basking in the literary company of Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis or Martin Amis whilst drinking espresso strong enough to strip paint.

2 Comments

  1. January 25, 2016 at 12:42 pm — Reply

    iWarehouse is no more!

    • April 8, 2016 at 10:08 am — Reply

      What a shocking discovery! iWarehouse had all the hallmarks of a great online store, good customer service, wide ranged etc plus a walk-in store. Sad indeed!

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