Home Science Technology Amazon officially opens in south Africa with no products

Amazon officially opens in south Africa with no products


Amazon’s retail operations in South Africa were launched on Tuesday with little fanfare, with the US e-commerce giant offering a number of incentives to consumers, including competitive pricing, free delivery vouchers and a “Today’s Deals” specials tab for added discounts.

But many South Africans who have been eagerly awaiting the megaretailer’s launch will be disappointed to learn that none of the Amazon-specific products and services that accompany its retail operations in other markets is available locally.

There are no listings for the Kindle e-reader, Fire TV, smart TV device, Ring video doorbell or Alexa voice assistant-capable Amazon smart speakers. Ironically, a quick search on South African e-commerce site takealot.com, which is seen as Amazon’s most formidable rival in South Africa, shows multiple listings of Amazon products including the Echo Dot smart speakers as well as an assortment of Fire TV sticks, Fire tablets and more.

None of Amazon’s digital services is available either, including Amazon Music or the much-anticipated Amazon Prime, which bundles its e-commerce offering and various digital services into a single subscription plan. Only Amazon Prime Video is available to South African consumers, though that was launched here years ago.

A like-for-like comparison shows that Amazon’s South African offering is similar to Takealot’s. But the large number of listed products on amazon.co.za labelled as out of stock – this includes most smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S24 range and the iPhone 15 range, for example – suggests that Takealot leads, for now, in terms of its product offering.

Nothing about Amazon’s offering screams Amazon, especially given its own products are not available.

Amazon is offering free delivery to customers on their first order with no minimum spend requirements. The offer only applies to the standard delivery option and not the “priority” or “same day” options. Only items shipped by Amazon and not third-party sellers qualify for the offer.

Thereafter, delivery is only free subject to a $26.8 minimum spend (matching Takealot). The returns policy is also strikingly similar to Takealot’s.

“Amazon, as well as commercial marketplace sellers on amazon.co.za, offer returns for most items within 30 days of receipt of shipment. We will issue the refund, for a product shipped by Amazon, within a maximum of 14 days and confirm it with an automated e-mail,” Amazon said.

The company has partnered with a number of local logistics service providers for fulfilment. Going through the order process on the Amazon website reveals that other than direct delivery via courier, customers have the option to pick up their goods from various pickup points, including those operated by Pargo, the Courier Guy (Pudo) and TCK Kiosks.

TechCentral asked Amazon to comment on the lack of Amazon-branded products on amazon.co.za and when Amazon Prime will be launched but had not received a response by the time of publication.

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