Growth of e-commerce offers opportunities for SMEs to grow their businesses cost-effectively

Business Growth, eCommerce, Online platform for small business, Online store, Small Business, Small Business Challenges, Small Business Growth, Wonderbag -

Growth of e-commerce offers opportunities for SMEs to grow their businesses cost-effectively

A report by World Wide Worx and Mastercard predicts that e-commerce will grow by 25% in 2023 and that online retail will exceed 5% of total retail this year for the first time. All indications are that South Africans are shopping online more now than they ever have. This is supported by Brandmapp data which reveals that there has been a 25% increase in the last year in terms of the number of consumers who now shop online.

One of the biggest benefits of the growing consumer interest in e-commerce is the opportunity it provides for even relatively small brands to find a marketplace. Brand owners with the right product, priced correctly and who are prepared to adopt an agile approach can take advantage of opportunities via online marketplaces that larger retailers often miss because of their slower turnaround times.

Online marketplace, The SOOQ, was established in 2020 for this very reason and is an online e-commerce store that provides a platform for small businesses in South Africa, offering proudly local products including fashion, accessories, shoes, baby items, food and more in one easily accessible store. The name The SOOQ is from the Arabic name for “marketplace” and is inspired by the amazing marketplaces of the world and the excitement, mystery and surprises that marketplaces naturally encompass, explains Kayla de Jager, Chief of Sales of The SOOQ.

“In an economy that is struggling to grow amidst a myriad of challenges including persistently high levels of load shedding, The SOOQ was established to help small, medium, and micro businesses access markets without incurring huge start-ups costs. When the platform was established a mere 3 years ago, we offered just 3 of brands. Today, The SOOQ lists over 20 brands on their online platform, and in the process help these small businesses broaden their reach to access new customers nationally, as well as including them in opportunities with various corporate companies who are partners of the small marketplace for promotional or custom gifting.”  

Load shedding is one of the biggest challenges currently facing both businesses and households and all indications are that it is here to stay for the foreseeable future. The energy crisis has seen growing interest from consumers in load shedding solutions such as surge protectors to protect appliances, back-up batteries or solar power to keep security up and running, power banks to keep mobile phones charged and rechargeable lights as well as practical and cost-effective household solutions like a non-electric slow cooker. The SOOQ is following suit by providing customers with locally made “energy friendly” solutions one of these is the award winning slow cooking miracle Wonderbag listed on the The SOOQ is a great investment to keep stews, casseroles and soups simmering even once the power has gone off.

The idea for the product was borne during power outages that gripped South Africa in the winter of 2008 and the need for a cooking solution that is less reliant on electricity. How it works is that food that has been heated via conventional means is placed in a Wonderbag which allows it to continue to cook for up to eight hours without the need for further electricity using heat retention technology. Collins reveals that Wonderbag users reduce their fuel and electricity usage by up to 70%.

Wonderbag was one of 10 finalists in the Curt Bergfors Food Planet Award, the world’s largest environmental food award. It was also the only South African product to make the finalist list.

“The SOOQ will continue to support small and micro business owners manufacturing uniquely South African products so that they can grow and expand their businesses, we have many more exciting products coming to the store and look forward to welcoming more brands who get in touch with us” concludes De Jager. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published