Amazon plans to launch its e-commerce store in South Africa next year. According to leaked documents obtained by Business Insider (article only viewable as US VPN), the company will roll out its online presence in South Africa by February 2023. At the moment, Amazon is working on its e-commerce platform under the codename “Project Fela” where the company will launch its own marketplace and access to Amazon’s fulfilment service called Fulfillment by Amazon.
The document details other launch countries planned for a 2023 release too. This includes Belgium under the codename Project Red Devil, Colombia and Chile under the Project Salsa and Nigeria which is currently listed under the South African codename Project Fela.
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At launch, Amazon won’t release its Prime membership program alongside the majority of these e-commerce platforms. However, the document claims that the memberships will go live shortly after the introduction in each region. For example, South Africans who are already Prime members through the video streaming platform will get their own Prime service that will be designed around the shopping experience. This membership will combine the shopping and other entertainment platforms into one subscription.
The launch of Amazon in South Africa has been a long time coming. Reports of the rollout have been swirling online for years now as many believed the company was planning to build a warehouse in Cape Town to run its operations from.
Amazon has had a relatively small presence in South Africa. While shoppers can import products from the US and UK stores, the lack of a dedicated South African platform means we have to pay inflated import costs and high delivery fees. Many of the products available on the UK and US platforms also don’t ship to South Africa.
Amazon has been aggressively targeting new markets as it continues to invest in areas that can generate long-term growth. However, this expansion is going to cost the company a lot of money. Amazon recently invested $7 billion in India as the company expanded its presence in the region. The company expects to sell €3.94 billion worth of products on the new Belgium marketplace by 2027. It has similar projects for the other new regions including South Africa.
Of course, Amazon’s launch in South Africa will also impact all online shopping and directly affect South Africa’s biggest e-commerce store, Takealot. It will also challenge all online retail stores that sell products to South African customers. Many South Africans will have to ask the question “why buy from this store when I can get it from Amazon faster and cheaper”.
Source: Business Insider