SA startups should look to e-commerce sites for boosted business – Tucker

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South African entrepreneurs and SMEs should look to partner with existing e-commerce sites to boost their business, with e-commerce the key to the country’s economic development, according to Kevin Tucker, founder of PriceCheck.

While the South African government believes entrepreneurship and SMEs are the catalyst to achieving economic growth and development, Tucker says this is still missing a trick – e-commerce, he says, presents an “exciting solution for fast-track growth”.

Tucker argues that rather than building out their own online sales platforms, entrepreneurs and small businesses should focus on establishing partnerships with existing e-commerce sites.

By doing so, businesses with limited resources can maximise their reach without the burden of having to spend on their own bespoke infrastructures – from the online platform, to payments and delivery solutions.

“E-commerce represents a fundamental change in the way that trade is conducted, and offers up a new, more efficient way to connect producers and merchants directly to customers around the country and in fact the world, bridging the gap between demand and supply. This presents major potential for the expansion of small businesses, improved global competitiveness and economic growth,” says Tucker.

Similarly, partnering with existing platforms will allow small businesses to better compete on pricing, he says.

“This broader market reach comes with improved overheads – when compared to traditional brick and mortar operations – as the majority of required functions can be automated or outsourced. A small local manufacturer, for example, now has the option to expand nationally or even internationally without having to open physical shops or factories across the country or in major international cities.”

In this way, Tucker says e-commerce will prove a key driver of entrepreneurial success in South Africa, and in turn, will spur economic development.

“This is just one of the ways that the establishment of a strong e-commerce sector can drive entrepreneurship and the success of SMMEs which is a vital sector for economic growth due to its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – currently at around 40 per cent – and its ability to create much needed employment opportunities.”

Tucker launched African price comparison site PriceCheck in 2006, before selling it to Naspers. Disrupt Africa reported in late 2015 Tucker, alongside Silvertree Internet Holdings, reacquired the company from Naspers, for an undisclosed sum.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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