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7+ Best Ecommerce Websites In South Africa To Visit In 2024

January 11, 2024
Written and researched by experts at Avada. Learn more about our methodology

Key Takeaways

  • Ecommerce is booming in South Africa, with online sales expected to reach R225 billion by 2025.
  • This article compares the top ecommerce websites in South Africa, including Shopify, Portmoni, WooCommerce, Wix, Ecwid, Shopstar, Magento, and Prestashop.

In this blog, you will learn about the top ecommerce websites in South Africa and how to choose the best one for your online business.

Top 7+ Ecommerce Websites In South Africa To Visit In 2024

1. Shopify

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Shopify is known as a user-friendly platform for building your online store. It operates on a subscription model, providing the tools and hosting your store online. This allows you to have your store without the technical hassle of creating a website from scratch.

Main features

Shopify comes equipped with all the essential features for running an online store. They offer a range of attractive templates, so you can choose the design that suits your brand. 

Additionally, there’s a marketplace where you can find and install various apps to expand your store’s capabilities. Shopify also provides a dashboard for tracking your sales and customer activity, giving you valuable insights into your business.

However, it’s worth noting that some advanced features may require additional plugins, which can either be free or paid. Also, if you plan to manage your store using a mobile device, you must install the Shopify app.

Pros

  • Ease of Use: Shopify is beginner-friendly, making it accessible for those without technical expertise.
  • Comprehensive Features: It offers a wide range of built-in features and the option to enhance your store’s functionality with apps.
  • Data Insights: The platform provides valuable data and analytics through its dashboard.

Cons

  • Cost: Shopify’s pricing, with monthly subscription fees, can be relatively high, and they also take a percentage of your sales.
  • Additional Costs: Some advanced features may require paid plugins, adding to the overall expenses.
  • Mobile Usability: Working on your store via a mobile browser is less convenient than using the dedicated Shopify app.
  • SEO Limitations: Shopify may be better for those prioritizing search engine optimization (SEO).

2. Portmoni

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Portmoni is a South African eCommerce platform that empowers numerous online stores, emphasizing simplicity and accessibility through mobile devices.

Main features

  • Built-in standard eCommerce tools, such as discounts, product reviews, and cart recovery, eliminating the need for extra plugins.
  • Seamless integration with local payment gateways like Payfast and Yoco.
  • Unique features tailored for the South African market, including one-click WhatsApp integration for customer communication.
  • Mobile-friendly interface, eliminating the need for a separate mobile app.
  • Template-based site customization, though options are more limited compared to other platforms.
  • Various pricing packages, starting at R90 per month, with the advanced option offering integration with Facebook Marketplace and Google Shopping.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing makes it an excellent choice for small businesses.
  • Easy accessibility from mobile devices without the need for app installations.
  • Free domain is included in all professional packages.

Cons

  • Limited customization options compared to some other platforms.

3. WooCommerce

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

WooCommerce stands as one of South Africa’s top eCommerce website builders. It operates as an open-source plugin designed for WordPress, enabling any WordPress site to transform into an online store.

Main features

  • A wide range of themes to choose from, making it user-friendly and customizable.
  • With some guidance from documentation, setting up your eCommerce store is feasible, even if you’re a DIY enthusiast. If you already have a WordPress site, installing another plugin is as simple as installing it.
  • A thriving community of developers is available if you require assistance customizing your eCommerce site.

Pros

  • Open-source, meaning no setup or monthly fees are involved in using the platform.
  • Access to a substantial developer community for support and guidance.

Cons

  • Limited platform support, leaving you to seek answers on forums and online when you have questions.
  • It would help if you handled your site’s hosting independently, which can be intricate and costly for medium and large WooCommerce sites.
  • Basic features are provided, and many standard eCommerce functionalities require additional plugins, which may need more performance and security guarantees, as they are community-contributed and untested.

4. Wix

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Wix is a well-known website builder offering an eCommerce add-on, making creating your own online store simple.

Main features

  • Wix is user-friendly and comes with an uncomplicated eCommerce website builder.
  • You can expand its functionality by adding extra tools from their marketplace.
  • There’s a wide variety of templates to choose from, and customizing your online store’s design is a breeze.
  • They provide an integrated payment processing solution called Wix Payments.

Pros

  • Easily extends existing Wix websites, making it a convenient choice if you already have a website with them.
  • There are no transaction fees, only a monthly subscription cost.
  • The business package starts at $20 per month, with a full business suite option at $42 per month, which includes dropshipping integrations and product reviews.

Cons

If you’re starting from scratch, Portmoni or Shopify might be more suitable options, as Wix has a few unique features that differentiate it from other solutions.

5. Ecwid

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Ecwid is an excellent choice if you already have a website and want to enhance it with eCommerce capabilities. With various ecommerce websites in Pakistan and South Africa are supported yearly, Ecwid has become a popular choice in this region.

Main features

  • Ecwid offers flexibility by allowing you to integrate your online shop into your current website, Facebook, or as a standalone starter shop on the Ecwid platform.
  • It seamlessly connects with social media to assist you in selling your products.
  • As your business expands, their higher-priced packages provide all the necessary features for a fully functional eCommerce site.

Pros

  • A good solution for adding eCommerce features to an existing website.
  • No transaction fees.
  • An essential eCommerce website can be created for free.
  • The starter package costs 15€ per month, while the unlimited package, which includes point-of-sale integration and a custom shopping app, is priced at 99€ per month. The business plan features Google Shopping and abandoned cart recovery and is available for 35€ per month + VAT.

Cons

  • While it’s a valuable add-on for existing websites, Ecwid may be less integrated than other options.
  • Costs can increase significantly as you require more advanced features, starting at 35€ per month.

6. Shopstar

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Shopstar is a South African eCommerce platform that lets you create and manage your online store.

Main features

  • Shopstar covers most standard online store features, including order management, social media integration, and sales analytics.
  • A notable advantage is their in-house payment gateway, Shopstar Pay, which allows you to accept Visa and Mastercard payments directly from your Shopstar account.

Pros

  • Offers a local payment gateway for quick setup.
  • You can enable Shopstar Pay to accept card payments.
  • Transaction fees for Shopstar Pay are on the higher side, with a 3.5% commission on the order total, plus R1.5 per transaction (excl. VAT).

Cons

  • The platform’s interface could be more user-friendly compared to others and can be challenging to navigate on mobile devices.
  • Some features, like discounts, may need to be revised.
  • Pricing is based on the number of products in your store, starting at R220 per month for 1-25 products and going up to R1,050 per month for unlimited products.
  • A mid-sized store with 101-200 products incurs a monthly fee of R740.
  • Shopstar does not charge transaction fees, but the pricing structure can make it expensive as your product range expands.

7. Magento

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Magento is an open-source eCommerce platform for big businesses like Nike and Coca-Cola.

Main features

  • Magento is highly potent and can be tailored to your specific needs.
  • However, setting up and maintaining it requires the expertise of a specialized developer.
  • There’s no official support for the open-source version, but they do offer paid plans for enterprise-level hosting and maintenance.

Pros

  • Magento is a robust eCommerce platform that is available for free.
  • It’s highly customizable and versatile.

Cons

  • Due to its complexity and costs, Magento may not be suitable for small businesses.
  • It’s better suited for larger companies and enterprises.

8. Prestashop

ecommerce website south africa

Overview

Prestashop is another open-source eCommerce platform, and you can host it independently. This free eCommerce website builder in South Africa can assist you in quickly starting your eCommerce website.

Main features

  • While it offers a user-friendly interface for setting up a demo shop, the basic features are limited.
  • Expanding your online store may require purchasing costly extensions, and customizing it demands specialized programming skills.
  • The company doesn’t provide direct support, so you’ll need to contact Prestashop forums and the community for assistance.

Pros

  • Prestashop is open-source, meaning it’s freely available.
  • It provides a user-friendly interface for setting up a demo shop.

Cons

  • The base open-source package has limited features.
  • Purchasing extensions can be expensive when you need additional functionalities.
  • Prestashop is relatively more complex and challenging to use compared to other open-source options.

Ecommerce Websites In South Africa: Summary

No.Business nameMain products
1ShopifyJewelry
2PortmoniSEO Services
3WooCommerceVarious
4WixWebsite Builder
5EcwidMultichannel Selling
6ShopstarEcommerce Integration
7MagentoEnterprise Solutions
8PrestashopDiverse Products

FAQs

If you are new to ecommerce and want to create your online store quickly and easily, Shopify or Wix are your best options. Both hosted solutions offer simple, intuitive interfaces, high-quality templates, and 24/7 customer support. They also have large app stores that allow you to add features and functionality to your store without coding.
If you have technical skills and want to create a large-scale or complex online store, WooCommerce or Magento are the best options. They are both open-source solutions that offer complete customization and control over your store’s appearance, functionality, and data. They also have large extension stores that allow you to extend your store’s capabilities with thousands of features and integrations.
If you want to cater to the South African market and offer local payment options, Portmoni is the best option for you. It is a local ecommerce platform that is tailored to the needs of South African online sellers. It offers affordable and transparent pricing, multiple payment options, social media integration, email marketing tools, analytics, reporting, and good customer service.

Bottom line

Here are three top choices for the best e-commerce platforms in South Africa. If you want to start smoothly, Shopify is a good pick. It’s solid and flexible, but it can be a bit pricey. 

Portmoni is another good choice for building an ecommerce website in South Africa. It’s user-friendly, affordable, and connects well with local South African suppliers. However, it may offer fewer design options than some others.


Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.