Want to sell online in South Africa? We reviewed the top 10 online selling platforms in South Africa for you so that you can start selling easily.
It’s getting easier and easier to start selling online, but among the many options, which one is best for you? In this article, we review the best online selling platforms in South Africa, and analyze 10 different platforms to sell products online. Is it best to use an online marketplace in South Africa? Or to create your own website? We hope this guide will help you choose the best option for you!
Don’t feel like reading? Here is the summary: Gumtree is best to start quickly. The Facebook Marketplace is slightly more complicated but allows you to start building your brand. And creating your own website is the best investment for the long term.
Here are the best online selling platforms in South Africa, all reviewed below:
Let’s get started and review each option in detail.
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Summary table – How to sell online in South Africa
|Best to begin||Gumtree||
+ Easy to start selling
– No fraud or online seller protection
|Best to get serious||Facebook Marketplace||
+ Gives access the Facebook audience
– No payment or fulfillment options included
|Best to go pro||Your Own Website||
+ Full control
– More complex to set up and manage
Facebook Marketplace South Africa
One of the easiest solutions to start selling online in South Africa is to use the Facebook Marketplace. The Facebook Marketplace allows you to sell directly to customers, much like classified ads websites. Facebook introduced it in 2016 as a place for people and businesses to sell products within their local communities.
By being inside the Facebook ecosystem, the Facebook Marketplace gives you access to the extremely large Facebook audience. This audience can then discover and share your products. Another advantage is that people can easily check your Facebook page before buying, which is a factor of trust. Finally, if you’re planning to sell more than a few items, you can also start a Facebook Group or a Business page to build your brand.
The Facebook Marketplace is free to use, and there is no cost associated with listing and publishing your products. Yet, it does not offer integrated payment methods, so you will have to organize payment collection yourself. You are free to use any option of your choice, from cash to EFT or an online payment gateway like Payfast or Yoco.
How you deliver your products is also your own choice, as Facebook does not yet offer delivery options. You could for instance decide to deliver your products personally, or use the courier company you prefer.
Overall, the Facebook Marketplace is a great way to quickly start selling online in South Africa. The main downside is that it also does not yet offer rich marketplaces features, like payment collection or product delivery.
- Free to use
- Easy to start
- Limited features, no payment collection or delivery options
- Dependent on Facebook for traffic
Another option to sell online in South Africa is to sell products using the Takealot Marketplace. With 2 million customers, Takealot is the biggest marketplace in South Africa. Besides selling their own products, they also allow sellers to offer their own products on the platform. Using the Takealot marketplace South Africa allows you to tap into the active users, support and logistics offered by the Takealot sellers portal.
Takealot charges several fees to sell online through its platform. First, using the platform attracts a monthly fee of R300. Then Takealot charges a success fee for each sale: depending on the category, this commission will be between 5.5% and 15% on each item sold.
One of the advantages of the take a lot seller portal is that Takealot will send your products to your clients on your behalf. You first need to send inventory to Takealot, and then when a client places an order for one of your products, Takealot will send it to them. However, this service attracts a fulfillment fee from R15 up to R325 per item shipped depending on the weight and size.
Finally, if your products need to be stored in a Takealot warehouse for a period exceeding 35 days, the items will also attract a storage fee. This fee is based on the duration of storage: for instance, for small items, the cost is R32 per item per month if they are stored for 60 days or more.
Overall, using the Takealot marketplace comes at a price. Yet, getting access to the biggest and well-trusted marketplace in South Africa can be a great accelerator for your business.
- Payment and fulfillment done for you
- Large customer base
- Monthly fee even if no sales
- Comes at a higher price
Gumtree is the most popular Classified Ads website in South Africa. With more than 3.8 million visits and 1.5 million buyers per month, it is an excellent choice to sell products or services. It is also among the best selling sites in South Africa. It is a great option if you want to sell used products, like to sell your car online for free in South Africa, or other products to sell from home in South Africa.
Posting ads on Gumtree is free and very easy. If you manage a high number of ads, Gumtree also offers professional packages that can be very helpful. Like with the Facebook Marketplace, you can use the option you prefer for payment collection and delivery.
If you wonder how to sell online products, Gumtree is a great way to get your feet wet in the online selling world. The main drawback is that as there is no verification process of the buyers and sellers. It is thus recommended to remain careful, and follow the online safety tips suggested by the platform.
- Very easy to get started
- Biggest platform for classified ads in South Africa
- Difficult to build a brand on the platform
- No online seller protection
Bidorbuy uses an internet auction and online marketplace model, designed to buy and sell online in South Africa. To start selling products, you need to create an account and a first listing. Buyers can then place bids on your product. Alternatively, they can use a “Buy Now” button to get the product immediately if they prefer avoiding the bidding process.
For most categories, it is free to list your products on Bidorbuy. You only pay a success fee once your products sell, which goes from 2.5% for cars, up to 10% for categories like clothing or jewelry. It is also possible to buy enhancements to feature your ad in specific locations of the site, like on the home page, or at the top of relevant categories.
You can also create a bidorbuy store on the platform, which then attracts a monthly fee. The cost is R500 to R1000 per month depending on the options, but gives you a stronger presence on the platform to build your brand there.
Bidorbuy does not handle the shipping of the products on your behalf, but does offer help in the process. For instance, the bidorbuy system allows you to print packing slips and address delivery labels straight from the order page. This proves handy to save time and avoid mistakes.
Bidorbuy lets you use many payment methods, and is quite flexible in that regard.
By allowing you to put your products on auction, bidorbuy offers a different approach than other marketplaces in South Africa. This can be interesting depending on the products you sell, as it can increase your profits for high-demand items.
- Auction model which can increase profits
- Bidorbuy Stores available to build your brand
- Not much seller protection
- Bidorbuy Stores are quite pricey
OLX is another leading classified ads platform to buy and sell online in South Africa. Like with Gumtree, you can start selling anything very easily. If you are selling one of the best selling products in South Africa, you can make your first sales in a few hours!
Posting ads on OLX is free, and they offer enhanced ads if you would like to boost them and get responses even faster.
Overall, if you wonder where can I sell my stuff online for free in South Africa, OLX is one of the easiest places to get started.
- Very easy to use
- No sellers or buyers verification
The Makro online marketplace is another option to sell your products online in South Africa. With more than 1.5 million customer visits per month, Makro is one of South Africa’s largest omnichannel retailers. Getting started only requires creating an account and adding your products. Once approved, they will become available for sale on the website.
Unlike Takealot, Makro does not charge a monthly fee to list your products on the platform. They only retain a selling commission based on the category and the selling price of the product.
Regarding fulfillment, when you use the Makro marketplace South Africa, the products are not stored in Makro’s warehouse. Yet, they do take care of fulfillment for you. Once you have made a sale through the platform, you have to pack the order in an approved box. Makro will then send a courier to pick the order and deliver it to your client.
Overall, Makro is a great alternative to Takealot. It offers the advantage of not having to pay a monthly fee and preposition inventory in their warehouse. This allows starting with a lower budget and makes it fast and easy to start.
- No need to preposition inventory
- No monthly fee
- Smaller audience than Takealot
With 800 brands across 8 categories and more than 3.5 million visits per month, the online marketplace from Zando is a great option if you operate in the fashion and clothing niche. The Zando marketplace allows you to operate your storefront inside the Zando platform. The only constraint is that you should list at least 10 products on the platform, with a minimum recommended price of R140.
Zando charges a commission based on your selling price, as well as a flat delivery fee.
Like Makro, Zando does the product fulfillment on your behalf, and you do not have to pre-send your items to their warehouses. When an order is placed for one of your products, you just need to pack and send it to Zando within 36 hours, and they will then deliver it to your end customer.
You receive your payments within 30 days of month-end. Unfortunately, in practice, this means that it can lead to a 60 days payment delay after a sale, which is quite long.
Overall, Zando is a great option in the clothing niche, the main downside being that payments can be issued quite late.
- Focus on a niche means a more qualified audience
- No need to pre-send your products to Zando
- Payment can take up to 60 days
The Loot Marketplace is another leading online marketplace in South Africa. It allows offering your products to millions of online shoppers in South Africa through the Loot ecommerce platform.
Like Takealot, Loot charges a commission as a percentage of your selling price. They also add a fulfillment fee based on the size and weight of the product sold, and a storage fee for any overstocked items in the Loot warehouse. Storage is free for fast-moving items.
Loot deliver your orders for you to your clients, taking the headache out of order fulfillment. Sending upfront stock to Loot is optional, although it is recommended for popular and fast-selling items.
Finally, regarding payment, your balance from your Loot Seller Portal is paid out to your bank account twice per month.
Overall, compared to Takealot, Loot removes fixed costs and the obligation to store inventory in their warehouses. It is a smaller marketplace, but can be a great place to start.
- Payment and fulfillment done for you
- No fixed costs or obligation to send upfront stock
- Smaller reach than takealot.com
Hello Pretty is an online selling platform in South Africa focused on locally made design and craft products. The platform allows you to create your own store in the marketplace and list your products. They will then appear when people search on Hello Pretty for relevant items.
There are different options for the fee structure. You can create a store for free and only pay commissions (15% commission + 5% payment processing). Paid plans are also available, and include extra features and reduced commissions.
Payments are processed by Hello Pretty, which offers online sellers protection and can increase trust for your buyers.
You will do the delivery of your orders. Yet, the platform includes integrates with many of South Africa’s major couriers to ease the process.
Payments are sent every week, so you do not have to wait too long to receive your money. However, all payouts incur an R10 fee.
Overall, Hello Pretty is a great platform to start selling goods online in South Africa. This is especially true if you are in the locally made design and craft niche, as you reach an audience that is looking for that type of item. This might allow you to charge more, and can be a win-win even if the fees on the platform are more expensive than most other marketplaces.
- Your own store on the platform
- Focused on local products
- More targeted audience
- More expensive fees
- Payout fee of R10 to receive your money
Your Own Website
Finally, to start selling online in South Africa, you can create your own website and online store. When you create your online store, you will be able to fully customize your site, and design it exactly as you like.
If you design your site yourself and host it on a cheap hosting service, the cost will be very low. It will be free to create and cost only R30 to R50 per month for the hosting. Yet, doing everything yourself can be quite complex. What we recommend is to use a website and online store builder, like Portmoni or Shopify. For between R100 and R300 per month, you will get a fully customizable website, with a reputable company that will keep it up and running for you.
Having your own website also gives you full control over how you receive payment from your clients. You can for instance accept cash, EFT, or online payments through payment gateways such as Payfast or Yoco. If you use a website builder, those gateways are usually already integrated by default with your website. This makes it very easy to start accepting credit and debit card payments.
For the delivery of your products, you will also have the full choice of the suppliers you would like to use, such as courier companies.
The main downside of having your own website is that your traffic and reputation start from scratch. You will have to promote your website yourself and drive traffic to it.
- Fully own your brand and traffic
- Customize to your wishes
- All the options you choose
- Need to promote your site yourself
- Can become technical if you don’t use a managed service like Portmoni or Shopify
Picking the right solution for your own needs will depend on a variety of factors, but here are our top 3 recommendations to sell online in South Africa.
To get started quickly with little friction and set up cost, Gumtree is the ideal solution. You will be able to start selling in a few minutes, without any barrier to entry.
Second comes the Facebook Marketplace, also very easy to set up and where you can use Facebook Pages to start building your brand. This will give you the advantage to get access to the Facebook audience, who can then discover and find your products.
And finally, to fully own your brand and build a long-term asset that you fully own, nothing beats having your own website with an online store module. You will be able to build your brand, and fully control your business. Your online store will even become a valuable asset that you could resell in the future. Just use a website builder south africa and you will be selling online in no time!
Wondering what to sell in South Africa or which products to sell from home South Africa? Check out our guide on how to find the best products to sell online.
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