Thursday, April 30, 2009

South Africans are also creative and online

If you're living in South Africa and want to open an Etsy shop, there are a couple extra hurdles. South Africans can't open PayPal accounts and receive money (unless they have overseas bank accounts). So enter Setcom and 2CheckOut...

I haven't used Setcom, and 2Checkout is ok. Because Etsy isn't integrated with these payment solutions, only PayPal, you as a seller will have to generate links to direct people to sites where they can pay.

2Checkout has a "create invoice" page to send an email to your buyer, but you must first create your product and be careful with the weight, so that the shipping works out the same as on Etsy. There is a complicated weight set-up process, but once you have worked out your postage costs you should be fine. The other option (instead of the weight/shipping price table) is to just include the price of the weight into the Product in 2Checkout. The fees are ok - 5.5% + $0.49 per transaction (including shipping), $49 setup fee (obviously more expensive than PayPal, which is 3.9% + $0.30) but they do allow your customers to pay with their credit cards directly, and they don't need to sign-up. Downside: 2Checkout will only pay you in batches of $300 or $600, and you will probably get charged by your bank for an international deposit (Absa charges around R100 I believe).

I don't have personal experience with Setcom .. all I know at the moment is that other South Africans use it, like skinnylaminx, and are very successful. By looking at their site it seems like it is an alternative PayPal (so potential customers must sign-up) but the fees are quite high - 4.9% + R2.50 and then on withdrawal too - R8 (because I bet there are very few places you could use the cash, unlike PayPal).

I really think South Africa have stuff to offer the world, especially handmade stuff sold from the person who made it (a rare treat), so I hope other creative and crafty people are able to open their own stores despite all the extra complications. Actually I know they are - it's going to explode soon looking at the number of shops that have popped up since I started selling. A previous post on ZA Etsy shops.

Use the Etsy shop local flash app to browse active shops in your area (or in South Africa, Durban, Johannesburg, or Cape Town)

If you are starting a new shop, you might be interested in my experiences with promotion on Etsy, advice from buyers to sellers, or browse my other posts about Etsy.


  1. Nope, leaving at the end of the month. Then I need to source some African fabric stores in Cape Town :)

  2. If you plan on using 2Checkout, use this promo code: DACLAUD2CO for a free account.