South African online retailer, Kalahari.com says it is confident it can give Amazon a run for its money should the world’s largest e-commerce company make a play in South Africa.
An often quoted statistic points to approximately 1.2 million online shoppers in South Africa.
During a panel discussion at the uAfrica eCommerce Conference held in Sandton on Wednesday (9 September), Liz Hillock, head of marketing at Kalahari.com was asked if the online retailer could effectively compete in the event that Amazon makes a bigger play in South Africa.
“It’s something we constantly have to evaluate,” Hillock said, “but I think that there are many ways we (Kalahari) are able to differentiate.”
Amazon has a presence in South Africa, in Cape Town, where it hosts a development team that is focused on software development and technical support for the compnay, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and a support team for Amazon Web Services (AWS) users across the globe.
In April, the firm also announced that it would expand its Android-based app store to include South Africa.
Hillock noted that Kalahari was proudly South African in both its brand and products. She pointed out that the site’s best selling book items, in particular, come from local authors, and cover local content.
Additionally, Hillock pointed out, Kalahari’s delivery network, warehousing and understanding of the South African market, gained over many years of operation, are invaluable to affirm its position.
“According to our own data, Amazon’s physical presence in South Africa has actually decreased,” the marketing head said, conceding that the global giant’s digital footprint remains large.
In a 65,000 respondent survey conducted by uAfrica, Kalahari.com was voted as South African’s favourite online retailer.