eCommerce

10 Most Profitable Products to Sell Online in South Africa

10 Most Profitable Products to Sell Online in South Africa

Are you ready to dive into the world of e-commerce and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit?

South Africa is a goldmine of opportunities when it comes to selling products online, with a market that is thriving and hungry for innovative offerings.

From fashion-forward clothing to cutting-edge tech gadgets, we have scoured the depths of the digital realm to bring you the top 10 most profitable products to sell online in South Africa.

Get ready for an exciting journey as we unveil these lucrative gems that are waiting to be discovered by savvy online entrepreneurs like yourself!

10 tried and tested products to sell online in South Africa to make money

  • Branded clothing and apparel
  • Handmade crafts and artwork
  • Custom jewelry and accessories
  • Natural skincare and beauty products
  • Food products like chutneys, preserves, and baked goods
  • Digital products like online courses, ebooks, and templates
  • Vintage and upcycled furniture and home decor
  • Pet products like treats, toys, and accessories
  • Candles and home fragrance products
  • Kids toys, clothing, and accessories

1. Branded Clothing and Apparel

ried and tested products to sell online in South Africa

Selling branded clothing and apparel online has become an extremely popular and profitable business model in South Africa.

With local clothing brands becoming more in demand, there is a large market for unique and trendy designs.

An online store selling branded clothing allows entrepreneurs to reach a wider customer base without the overhead costs of a physical retail space.

Some tips for starting this business include:

  • Research current fashion and clothing trends. Create designs that are relevant and on-trend.
  • Source good quality materials and manufacturing. Pay attention to details like stitching and fabric quality.
  • Create a brand identity with a logo, tagline, and color scheme.

Developing Your Product Line

When developing your product line, focus on:

  • T-shirts – These are bestsellers and easy to brand with your logo or design. Offer different styles and colors.
  • Hoodies and sweatshirts – Comfortable and casual options. Especially popular with younger demographics.
  • Hats and caps – An easy accessory to brand. Can use embroidery or printed designs.
  • Bags – Backpacks, totes, and drawstring bags can all be branded.
  • Tracksuits – Matching track pants and jackets are on-trend.
  • Scarves and bandanas – Versatile accessories that can use custom prints.

Make sure to have unisex and women’s specific options. Provide a range of sizes from XS to XXXL.

Setting Up Your Online Store

Some tips for setting up your online store:

  • Shopify and WooCommerce are popular ecommerce platforms to build your site. Offer options to buy directly or via payment plans.
  • High-quality product photos are essential. Invest in a good camera and editing software. Use diffused lighting and style shots.
  • Detailed product descriptions to highlight features and sizing info. Include fabric composition.
  • SEO optimization with relevant keywords and metadata so customers can find you.
  • Social media accounts to build your brand and engage with customers. Share new arrivals and style advice.

Marketing Your Clothing Brand

  • Influencer marketing – Send free products to social media influencers to feature.
  • Paid ads – Create targeted Facebook and Instagram campaigns.
  • Email marketing – Collect emails to send newsletters and sale alerts. Offer signup bonuses.
  • Marketplaces – Sell on platforms like Takealot to expand reach.

2. Handmade Crafts and Artwork

Handmade Crafts and Artwork

Handmade crafts and artwork are always in demand, making them excellent products to sell online in South Africa.

With sites like Etsy, local artisans can now easily reach a global customer base for their unique, handcrafted creations.

Some of the major benefits of starting an online handmade shop include:

  • Low startup costs – Can be run from home without a physical storefront.
  • High margins – Handmade items have good profit margins.
  • Unique offerings – Customers value one-of-a-kind, handcrafted quality.

When selling handmade products online, focus on highlighting the uniqueness and quality of your items.

Selecting Your Product Focus

Some top-selling handmade products include:

  • Jewelry – Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings made from materials like beads, clay, wire, gemstones.
  • Home decor – Wall hangings, pillows, baskets, ceramics like mugs and vases.
  • Clothing and accessories – Scarves, handbags, hats, fabrics like quilts and placemats.
  • Beauty products – Soaps, candles, lotions.
  • Paper goods – Cards, invitations, notebooks, planners.
  • Toys – Dolls, stuffed animals, puzzles.

Focus on your skills and interests to determine product selection. Offering a wide variety can appeal to more customers.

Product Photography and Descriptions

Essential tips for presenting handmade items online:

  • High-quality photos – Use natural lighting, solid backgrounds, multiple angles.
  • Detailed descriptions – Note materials, techniques, measurements, care instructions.
  • Be personal – Share your creative process and story. Customers connect with the maker.
  • Stylized shots – Show products in use via still life images.
READ ALSO  How to Sell Online in South Africa: Step By Step

Marketing and Selling Handmade Goods

Some approaches to connect with buyers:

  • Sell on Etsy – Leading marketplace for art and crafts. High existing traffic.
  • Social media – Share images and videos showcasing your process and products.
  • Craft fairs and markets – Get exposure by selling in-person at local events. Pass out business cards.
  • Wholesaling – Approach retail stores and galleries to carry your products.
  • Custom designs – Offer personalized or customized items.

Building relationships with customers is key. Offer superior customer service and communication.

3. Sell Custom Jewelry and Accessories

Sell Custom Jewelry and Accessories

Custom and personalized jewelry is a popular product that can be sold profitably online in South Africa.

With customizable options for engraving and unique designs, customers get to own special pieces that aren’t mass-produced.

Some benefits of selling custom jewelry online include:

  • Personalization – Add names, dates, quotes to create sentimental pieces.
  • Distinctive designs – One-of-a-kind creations stand out.
  • Good profit margins – High perceived value of customized work.
  • Wide customer appeal – Jewelry makes great gifts for many occasions.

When marketing and selling custom jewelry, focus on showcasing your unique designs. Offer options to tailor pieces to customer preferences.

Selecting Your Products

Consider selling customized versions of these popular jewelry products:

  • Necklaces – Engrave names, dates, sayings on pendants, charms, lockets.
  • Rings – Engagement and wedding rings can be designed collaboratively.
  • Bracelets – Add birthstones, charms with special meanings.
  • Earrings – Monogram or name earrings are bestsellers.
  • Watches – Engrave watch face and bands for sentimental pieces.
  • Cufflinks – Perfect to customize with initials for gifts.

Offer a range of material options like gold, silver, platinum, and gems. Have designs for both women and men.

Crafting and Photographing jewelry

To showcase your items:

  • Focus on high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
  • Take professional photos on mannequins or models. Use attractive backdrops and lighting.
  • Detailed descriptions of materials, sizes, and personalization options.
  • Provide images of customization, like engraved names and dates.

Marketing Your Business

Some marketing approaches include:

  • Paid ads – Target couples getting married and searching for wedding rings.
  • Offer discounts for referrals.
  • Gift guides and advice – Blog about meaningful custom gift ideas.
  • Social media posts – Share customer testimonials and before-and-after customization photos.
  • Collaborate with vendors – Cross-promote with wedding planners and florists.

Emphasize what makes your jewelry special. Combine beautiful visuals with a compelling brand story.

4. Natural Skincare and Beauty Products

Natural Skincare and Beauty Products

Natural and organic skincare and beauty products are hugely popular right now. Customers want safe products made from plant-based, non-toxic ingredients.

Selling natural beauty items online allows you to tap into the growing market of eco-conscious shoppers. Benefits of this business include:

  • Increased demand – More consumers want natural products.
  • Higher margins – Can charge more for organic, handmade items.
  • Lower overhead – Easy to start with basic equipment and ingredients.
  • Positive brand image – Aligns with healthy, sustainable living.

When selling natural skincare online, highlight how your ingredients and processes are eco-friendly.

Selecting Your Products

Some bestselling natural beauty products include:

  • Face oils and serums – Nourish skin with oils like argan, jojoba, or grapeseed.
  • Body lotions and butters – Use shea or cocoa butters, infused with herbs.
  • Soaps – Cold process or hand-milled soaps, scented with essential oils.
  • Lip balms – Made from beeswax, shea/cocoa butter, oils.
  • Deodorant – Use baking soda, arrowroot, coconut oil as the base.
  • Face masks – Clay-based masks with natural extracts and oils.

Also consider haircare, perfumes, scrubs, and bath products.

Presentation and Descriptions

Effective presentation tactics:

  • Minimal, natural aesthetic for branding and packaging.
  • List all ingredients and explain benefits.
  • Highlight certifications – Vegan, organic, non-GMO etc.
  • Lifestyle photography – Show products in use.
  • DIY/tutorial videos – Increase engagement on social media.

Marketing Natural Skincare

Some marketing strategies include:

  • Content marketing – Blog about ingredients, recipes, tutorials, tips for going natural.
  • SEO – Optimize web content using relevant keywords. Rank highly in search engines.
  • Influencer marketing – Send free products in exchange for reviews and social media mentions.
  • Paid ads – Target interest such as “natural skincare” and “vegan beauty”.

Build trust by being transparent. Get certified organic/non-GMO ingredients if possible.

5. Food Products Like Chutneys, Preserves, and Baked Goods

Food Products

Homemade and artisanal food products like chutneys, preserves, and baked goods are winning over modern shoppers.

The appeal lies in their small-batch, handcrafted preparation using wholesome ingredients.

Selling food online provides home cooks and bakers a business opportunity without high overheads. Benefits include:

  • Low startup costs – Can be cooked at home with basic equipment.
  • Unique offerings – Handmade quality with distinctive flavors.
  • High demand – Sought-after by gift-givers and foodies.
  • Healthy perception – Seen as more natural than mass-produced goods.

When marketing handmade food items, play up quality ingredients and authentic preparations.

Selecting Products to Offer

Popular homemade food items buyers seek out include:

  • Jams, jellies, preserves – Made from seasonal fruit.
  • Chutneys and relishes – Contain spices and vinegar. Pair with cheese.
  • Baked goods – Cookies, cakes, breads, granola.
  • Sauces and condiments – Pesto, salad dressings, marinades.
  • Spice mixes and rubs – For seasoning meats or veggie dishes.
  • Pickled and fermented foods – Pickles, kimchi, hot sauce.

Offer gift sets and samplers so customers can try a variety.

Packaging and Product Shots

Essential elements for presenting food products:

  • Attractive labeling with your logo, illustrations, color scheme
  • Quality packaging – Glass jars and bottles, kraft boxes
  • Appealing photos – Style as still life images, use natural lighting
  • Printed ingredients – List all ingredients and nutrition facts

Marketing and Selling

Some approaches to generate sales:

  • Sell on online markets like Takealot which have existing traffic
  • Promote gifts and gift sets for holidays, birthdays
  • Offer subscriptions – Monthly product deliveries
  • Free samples and tastings – At local markets and fairs
  • Contests and giveaways – To gain email signups and social followers
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Provide excellent customer service. Get feedback for product improvement.

6. Digital Products Like Online Courses, Ebooks, and Templates

sell Online Courses in south africa

Creating digital products like online courses, ebooks, templates, and guides has become a popular online business model. The benefits include:

  • Low overhead costs – No physical inventory needed.
  • Scalable – Products can reach a global audience.
  • Passive income potential – Make money while you sleep with digital downloads!
  • High margins – Low costs mean increased profitability.

If you have specialized knowledge or teaching skills, creating online courses can be extremely lucrative.

Read also: 10 Proven Ways to Build Passive Income in South Africa

Selecting Products to Create

Consider making:

  • Online courses – Structured lessons teaching a skill or subject via video. Upload to platforms like Udemy.
  • Ebooks/Guides – In-depth information product in PDF format.
  • Templates and planners – Editable documents for budgets, meal plans, social media.
  • Worksheets and checklists – Useful tools and resources.

Choose topics based on your expertise and audience needs. Offer a mix of paid and free content.

Creating Your Products

Some tips for making quality digital products:

  • Outline the course – Plan modules and lessons before filming.
  • Engaging videos – Use visuals, good lighting and editing.
  • Actionable advice – Include step-by-step instructions, tutorials, and tips.
  • Visually appealing – Use nice fonts, colors, and graphics for ebooks and templates.
  • Good writing – Write helpful, clear content.

Marketing Digital Products

Promotion strategies:

  • SEO optimization – Optimize website copy and filenames for search.
  • Free samples – Give away an introductory module or partial ebook.
  • Webinars – Teach lessons live and promote paid offerings.
  • Affiliate marketing – Recruit others to promote your products.
  • Retargeting ads – Remarket to site visitors who left without buying.

Building an email list and community around your brand boosts sales. Provide top-notch customer service.

Read also: How to Earn Selling Online Courses in South Africa

7. Vintage and Upcycled Furniture and Home Decor

sell Vintage and Upcycled Furniture and Home Decor online in south africa

Vintage and upcycled home furnishings are rising in popularity. More consumers now value unique, eco-friendly designs over mass-produced products.

An online store selling refurbished and renewed furniture and decor allows you to tap into this growing market. Benefits include:

  • Environmentally-friendly – Reduces waste by giving used items new life.
  • Cost-effective inventory – Source secondhand goods to refurbish and resell.
  • Distinctive offerings – Vintage and antique pieces have one-of-a-kind appeal.
  • Artistic self-expression – Repurposing furniture is a creative outlet.

When marketing upcycled goods, highlight their historic and environmental appeal. Share your creative process.

Selecting Products to Upcycle

Some top-selling vintage and renewed home goods include:

  • Furniture – Dressers, tables, couches revived through painting, stenciling, new hardware.
  • Lighting – Vintage lamps restored with new wiring, lampshades, and bulbs.
  • Decor – Mirrors, artwork, vases, pots repainted or decorated to refresh them.
  • Textiles – Pillows, blankets, and throws made from vintage fabrics or reclaimed materials.
  • Storage – Baskets, trunks, crates stained or stenciled for a renewed look.

Focus on pieces with good bones that can be given new life through refinishing techniques. Look for unique,quality secondhand goods.

Restoration Process

To revive vintage items:

  • Deep clean – Remove grime, dust, and stains through cleaning.
  • Repairs – Fix any broken parts, replace hinges, stabilize wobbly legs.
  • Sanding – Smooth any rough finishes in preparation for painting or staining.
  • Paint and finish – Apply new color, stain, or artistic designs.
  • Reupholster – For couches and chairs, replace worn fabric.
  • New hardware – Update knobs, pulls, handles.

Photographing and Listing Items

To show off vintage goods online:

  • Shoot products in natural lighting against clean backdrops.
  • Capture the unique details with close-up photos.
  • Style using props and accessories to help set the aesthetic.
  • List dimensions, materials, age, and history if known.
  • Note the restoration techniques used to revive the piece.

Marketing Strategies

Some ways to promote your vintage shop:

  • List on Etsy and Takealot Marketplace to tap into existing audiences.
  • Share the restoration process using before-and-after photos and videos.
  • Collaborate with local artists and artisans by featuring their work.
  • Host DIY workshops on refinishing techniques.
  • Offer free pickup of used furniture to source inventory.

8. Pet Products Like Treats, Toys, and Accessories

Pet Products Like Treats, Toys, and Accessories

Pet owners are eager to pamper their furry friends, making pet products a profitable segment to sell online in South Africa.

Offering natural, high-quality pet treats, toys, and accessories allows you to tap into this growing market. Benefits of selling pet products online include:

  • Recurring demand – Pet supplies need continuous replenishment.
  • High margins – Pet owners willing to pay more for premium items.
  • Scalability – Easy to reach wider customer base through ecommerce.
  • Low startup costs – Many pet products can be handmade.

When marketing your pet products, emphasize how they enrich pets’ lives and support health.

Selecting Products to Offer

Some top-selling pet products to consider:

  • Natural treats – Jerky, biscuits, and chews made from quality ingredients.
  • Toys – Interactive feeders, balls, plush toys, ropes. Vary textures.
  • Grooming products – Shampoos, toothpaste, brushes tailored for pets.
  • Accessories – Collars, leashes, bandanas, clothes.
  • Pet beds and furniture – Cozy donut beds, crate mats, stands.
  • Training aids – Clickers, treat pouches, calming aids.

Cater to different pet species – dogs, cats, small animals. Have products for all life stages.

Product Photography and Descriptions

To showcase pet products online:

  • Shoot treats and accessories modeled by pets. Use natural light.
  • Include multiple angles and close-up detail shots.
  • List materials and dimensions. Note if products are organic.
  • Highlight safety – No harsh chemicals, choking hazards.
  • Show the products in use – Pets playing with toys, wearing accessories.
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Marketing Pet Products

Some promotional strategies:

  • Run paid ads targeting pet-related keywords.
  • Build SEO traffic by optimizing pet supply content.
  • Partner with rescues and donate a percentage of profits.
  • Share pet photos and videos demonstrating products on social media.
  • Offer free samples for product reviews and referrals.
  • Attend local pet fairs and expos to gain customers.

Provide excellent customer service. Let shoppers customize products.

9. Candles and Home Fragrance Products

sell Candles and Home Fragrance Products online in south africa

Home fragrance products like scented candles, room sprays, and essential oil diffusers are extremely popular items to sell online in South Africa.

Customers seek out appealing scents to set the mood in their living spaces.

Handcrafting fragrance products allows you to turn this demand into a profitable business with:

  • Inexpensive supplies – Candle/soap making doesn’t require major investments.
  • Creativity – Blending scents and designing packaging is an artistic outlet.
  • Gift potential – Candles make great personalized gifts for any occasion.
  • Recurring sales – Consumable products mean repeat customers.

When marketing handmade candles and home fragrance goods, evoke how your products create ambiance while using quality ingredients.

Selecting Products to Offer

Some bestselling options include:

  • Scented candles – Soy, beeswax, or paraffin candles in attractive containers.
  • Reed diffusers – Essential oils diffused through rattan sticks in decorative bottles.
  • Room sprays – Refreshing linen sprays, pillow mists.
  • Incense and oil burners – Set the mood with aromatic smoke or warm scents.
  • Sachets and potpourri – Dried herb and floral mixes in drawstring bags.

Also consider bath bombs, soap, and essential oil roll-ons.

Creating Your Products

Follow these tips when blending and designing home fragrances:

  • Use essential oils and natural ingredients for scents. Research appealing aroma combos.
  • Make sure scents are safe and non-toxic when burned or heated.
  • Use soy wax for clean-burning, eco-friendly candles. Ensure proper wick size.
  • Appealing, on-brand container designs that complement scents.
  • Gift-worthy packaging like boxes, ribbons, and tags.

Photographing and Listing Products

To showcase candle and home fragrance products online:

  • Shoot lifestyle images of items in use – lit candles, diffuser mist.
  • Clean, light backgrounds to make scents pop.
  • Share details like scent notes, ingredients, burn times.
  • Stylize with flowers, linens, decor items that match the fragrance.

Marketing Your Business

Some promotional tips:

  • SEO optimize product content with relevant keywords so customers can find you.
  • Leverage influencers and collaborate on signature scents.
  • Promote seasonal scents – pine and spices for winter, citrus and florals for spring.
  • Offer gift sets and subscriptions – Monthly candle deliveries.
  • loyalty rewards – Points, promo codes for repeat purchases.

The customizable possibilities of home fragrances provide an always in-demand product line.

10. Sell Kids Toys, Clothing, and Accessories Online in South Africa

Sell Kids Toys, Clothing, and Accessories Online in South Africa

Products for kids like toys, clothes, and accessories represent a fun, rewarding online business opportunity in South Africa.

Parents and gift-givers are always seeking cute, high-quality items.

An online store with children’s offerings allows you to tap into this demand. Benefits include:

  • Inexpensive to start – Many kids items are easy to handmake.
  • Year-round demand – Holidays, birthdays, events keep sales steady.
  • Fun to create – Make playful, imaginative products.
  • Low competition – Less saturated than mainstream markets.

When marketing children’s goods, emphasize magical, whimsical elements that spark joy and creativity.

Selecting Products to Offer

Some top-selling kids items include:

  • Toys – Plush animals, dolls, puzzles, blocks, arts and crafts.
  • Apparel – T-shirts, pajamas, dresses, accessories like hair clips.
  • Nursery decor – Mobiles, wall hangings, bedding, hampers.
  • Books – Offer personalized names and characters in stories.
  • Games – Memory matching card games, marbles, jacks.

Focus on high-quality materials and safety. Include age-appropriate items.

Creating Your Products

Follow these tips:

  • Use soft, organic fabrics – Cotton, bamboo, hemp, wool felt.
  • Vintage and upcycled materials add charm – handkerchiefs, buttons, ribbons.
  • Safety first – Avoid small parts, toxic paints, sharp edges.
  • Whimsical packaging – Delight kids with stickers, paper craft envelopes.

Photographing and Listing Kids Items

To showcase children’s products online:

  • Shoot colorful, fun lifestyle images.
  • Get kids modeling and interacting with products.
  • Use natural light and clean, solid colored backdrops.
  • Note materials, care instructions, and safety.

Marketing Your Shop

Some ways to promote your products:

  • Reach parents on social media – Instagram, Facebook parenting groups.
  • Collaborate with mom bloggers and pay for sponsored posts.
  • Partner with local schools, libraries and charities. Donate a percentage of sales.
  • Attend craft fairs and markets. Hand out business cards and deals.
  • Offer free shipping and discounts around holidays.

Kids clothing, toys, and nursery decor allow you to tap into devoted gift-givers looking for unique, high-quality items.

By emphasizing imagination and whimsy, your handmade products can gain interest in this specialized market. The year-round gifting opportunities provide stable demand.

Key Takeaways

Some of the major key takeaways from these articles on successful products to sell online include:

  • Handmade and vintage items are popular for their uniqueness, creativity, and character. Shoppers value quality craftsmanship.
  • Personalized and customized products allow you to provide special tailored pieces, like monogrammed jewelry or engraved gifts.
  • Eco-friendly and natural ingredients are appealing – think organic skincare, non-toxic home goods, sustainable materials.
  • Offer variety and diversify into related products. Provide gifts sets and bundles.
  • Great photography and descriptions are essential – highlight details and styled lifestyle shots.
  • Leverage social media and influencers to showcase your brand story and products. Collaborate on giveaways.
  • Take advantage of holidays, events and seasons by promoting relevant gifts and themed items.
  • Excellent customer service and communication helps build loyalty and repeat business.

Final Points!

In conclusion, some of the top opportunities for starting an online business in South Africa include:

  • Selling handmade and artisanal goods like jewelry, pottery, soaps, candles. Shoppers value the uniqueness and craftsmanship.
  • Offering personalized products and custom services – monogramming, customization allows you to provide one-of-a-kind items tailored to the recipient.
  • Catering to eco-conscious consumers through upcycled, natural, and non-toxic products.
  • Providing specialty offerings for kids and pets – these devoted buyers and gift givers represent underserved niches.
  • Creating digital products like online courses allows for passive income and global reach.

The key is identifying a profitable niche based on skills and interests. Use enticing visuals and storytelling to market products.

Provide stellar customer service.

Take advantage of holidays and events for gifting occasions. With the right business plan and execution, these products offer low startup costs and high sales potential.

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About the author

Kevin is a location independent freelancer, blogger, and side hustler located in South Africa. Originally from Kenya, he worked as a digital marketing developer for 5 years before making the leap to full-time freelancing.

Kevin has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine and The South African for his work promoting freelancing and side hustles in South Africa. When he's not working with clients or updating Freelancian, you can find him exploring new destinations as a digital nomad.

Want to share your own freelancing or side hustle story? Have a question for Kevin? Just want to say hello? You can contact Kevin and the Freelancian team at:

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