The growth of e-commerce in South Africa has allowed small businesses to operate without physical premises or store fronts. However, many e-businesses still need storage space for the goods they sell.
If you're in the e-commerce industry, the trick is to find a flexible storage solution that can easily adapt to changes in demand.
The growth of e-commerce in South Africa
With over half of all South Africans now having access to the internet, business owners have the opportunity to develop innovative online enterprises, or to take their existing operations either partially or fully online.
Although the e-commerce industry in South Africa is still small – accounting for an estimated 1% of South Africa’s retail sector – it has simply enormous growth potential.
As internet and smartphone use continue to increase, even people who've never had access to traditional landlines or PCs are likely to join the market for online products and services.
For consumers, the benefits are obvious. Online shopping is convenient. It also has potential advantages like lower prices; faster, more flexible delivery and – at least in S.A.'s crime-ridden communities – increased security.
In 2015, the most popular shopping categories with South African online shoppers were digital products – attracting a considerable 52% of purchases – followed by event tickets, travel and transportation, and then fashion.
The challenges facing e-businesses
Although overheads and other traditional business costs are usually way lower for many online businesses, they still need to handle issues like:
- delivery costs
- delays in the arrival of stock
- time wasted finding and packaging items once they've been ordered
- storage costs and the risk of damage to products in storage
- difficulty finding suitable storage options for small items or a diverse range of different items.
Even online businesses that offer services rather than products may need extra space to house their supplies and documents.
For smaller e-commerce businesses and startups, the obvious problem with traditional warehouse space is cost.
It can also be a problem finding a space that's small enough or that you don't have to sign a long lease to secure. In volatile markets, demand can change fast, leaving you paying for either too much or too little storage space.
When you first start an online business, there's always the option of a garage. But that may leave items and documents you store vulnerable to damp, dust, pests or theft – and your car has to go somewhere.
If you're looking for an affordable, flexible storage option for your e-business, two options are to consider renting a self-storage unit or using a valet storage service, like SpaceBox.
Advantages of using SpaceBox for e-commerce storage
Whether you need to store retail inventory, packaging supplies, business documents or other items, SpaceBox offers an affordable, flexible solution.
Some advantages of our valet storage service:
- we pick up items for storage and drop them off when and where you next need them
- instead of renting more space than you need, you pay to store items by the box or individually
- we offer sturdy, secure boxes at no extra cost (or use your own)
- you can expand or decrease your storage space in a flash
- we seal every box and our facilities are secure, giving business owners peace of mind
- you can manage your inventory or other stored items online.