In 2017, Google Shopping is expanding to no less than 14 new countries. While some of these countries are still in beta, as of February this year, Google Shopping has been rolled out in South Africa, opening new opportunities to online retailers.
The current online retail Landscape in South Africa
South Africa has the second largest economy in Africa (after Nigeria) and is one of the few countries in the region whose income level has been rated as “upper middle” by the World Bank.
By many standards, South Africa is an emerging economy, and South African eCommerce makes no exception.
In 2017, South Africa’s electronic retail revenue is slightly bigger than $2.6 billion – a rather small number for a country that has more than 50 million inhabitants.
However, the revenue is expected to grow significantly, by 15%, up to $4.7 billion in 2021. The most sought after products are “Electronics and media”, a category with a market share of $950 million.
As for user penetration, it rests somewhere around 47%. It is also expected to grow up to 60% by 2021.
2016 was an excellent year for eCommerce in South Africa: for the first time in the country’s history, online retail reached 1% of overall retail, which indicates great potential in terms of both opportunity and growth.
45% of online shoppers come from Gauteng, one of the country’s 9 provinces. Gauteng is South Africa’s economic engine and a highly urbanized and industrialized area.
Although South Africa’s electronic retail is nowhere near the level of sophistication and magnitude characteristic to Western eCommerce markets, the country should not be ignored.
Online shopping is growing steadily year-to-year and will probably cover more of the country, as Internet infrastructure spreads throughout South Africa.
How to get started with Google Shopping in South Africa?
Start today when there's less competition in Google Shopping to make your life easier. It will be much easier, especially if you are a smaller brand, to get visibility.
- Request your Google Merchant Account and start creating your feed according to Google's Shopping Feed Specifications.
- Upload it to Google Merchant Center as soon as possible. Google will review it and in case is not compliant to their specifications, will send you a long list of errors and disapprovals. Fix the Google Merchant Center disapprovals.
- As soon as your feed is approved start optimizing it:
- Beginner feed optimizations for Google Shopping
- Expert feed optimization tips
- Don't forget to optimize attributes such as your product titles, the images that show up in the listings, add the product types to the list of fields and use custom labels to organize your products.
- Nailing the Google Product Category is an important element for success as well as having the GTINs accurate.
- If you can't measure it you can't manage it. See how each individual product is performing in Google Shopping and adjust your bidding strategies based on it.
Good luck with your Google Shopping campaigns in South Africa.
If you have questions get in touch with us for a feed management consultation. We can help you get your feed ready and optimized in no time for Google Shopping in South Africa.