Ask Justin Drennan anything about eCommerce and Tech Investments

rpm

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Justin Drennan is the founder and CEO of Parcelninja, which offers South African online shops an affordable outsourcing solution for all their fulfillment needs.

Drennan is also known in the South African ecommerce market as an active investor who has helped to build numerous local startups, including Superbalist, i-Pay, and Conversio.

We are giving you an opportunity to ask Justin anything about eCommerce and Tech Investments.

He will select the best questions to answer, and the top question will win an Amazon Fire 7 with Alexa.

There are some basic Ask Anything rules. A summary:

  • One question per post. If you have multiple questions, use multiple posts.
  • No personal attacks
  • No support questions (like “My online shopping package got lost …”)
  • No unsavoury questions
  • No trolling
  • No “Why don’t you answer my question?” posts
  • Keep it clean and civil, and ensure the discussion is constructive
Please post your questions in this thread. Justin will select and start to answer your questions at 12:00 on Wednesday 4 July.
 
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rpm

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How do you select which new tech businesses or startups to invest in? What makes them attractive as an investment opportunity, and also what disqualifies a business from getting an investment from you?
 

rpm

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What is the biggest challenge in South Africa when it comes to eCommerce fulfillment?
 

rpm

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Do you think the South African Post Office will ever gain the trust of online shops as a reliable delivery method for packages?
 

lexor

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Aug 11, 2007
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How did you manage to convince C5 Holdings to provide R20 mil in Capital on this new venture of yours ( even with your well established track record from creating WantItAll) ?
 

lexor

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How do you cope with having your brother and friend as business partners and be so successful - especially if everyone says never to go into business with friends and family ?
 

wizardofid

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Jul 25, 2007
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Hi Justin

Having done a lot of online shopping, when smaller players like Sybaritic and Kalahari just started and the online shops of the day you could count on one hand, today they are a dime a dozen, what differentiates online shops these days, is customer support, shipping and stock lead times, prices and general support, the market hasn't really evolved all that much from 18 years ago, in my personal opinion.Customer support in South Africa has always been poor, lead time from supplier still poor.There is always the issue of capital expenditure of having certain stock on hand.Online shopping from checking out and paying to delivery is constant uphill frustration, fraught with delays, stock shortage or poor support.

As an example sent off an email to an online store about an order made on the 20th which still hasn't shipped after the lead time to procure stock lapsed already, the response was supplier is awaiting new stock, considering the lead time has lapsed already, some online store of yester year would have sent out a automatic email informing of delays and such.This is no longer the case with large online stores like takealot or raru even kalahari email support was atrocious.Takealot has done away entirely with their email support unless they email you directly or contact them via social media accounts.The matter hasn't been resolved, and no closer to receiving my actual order, short of having to phone them, email support is likely going to take at least 3 to 4 working days to sort out, which to be honest is totally unacceptable.I could phone them, but that is a unnecessary additional expenditure on my part for some thing as simple as keeping clients in the loop.

One would expect large online stores would have live support and able to deal with support questions quickly and easily, however the general online shopping experience is some where between a rock and hard place, the only thing that really works well is the payment systems.

If I could focus and improve one thing it would customer support as that sort of binds every department together, if you could focus and improve one thing from the online shopping experience what will it be and why.
 

Venomous

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What is the most complex part of setting up an e-commerce concern?
 

Polymathic

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South Africa being South Africa as online shopping becomes more popular is there an increasing concern about security for packages and delivery vehicles?
 

Polymathic

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Whose holding ecommerce back more in SA, the banks or the mobile networks?
 

Just_Ice

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Amazon is absolutely dominant in the United States. South Africa by contrast has some decent online stores, but nothing close to what is seen in the US. With this in mind, what could we do in South Africa in order to raise online internet shopping in South Africa to the same standard and levels of uptake as that in America?
 

wizardofid

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I got involved in a heated debate this past weekend and a interesting topic popped up regarding wantitall.co.za most savvy users don't make use of wantitall.co.za due to the pricing used on the website being quite a bit more, then importing the item your self with various fees it is still a lot cheaper then what wantitall can offer it at.You can't help but wonder who is the sucker that buys from wantitall.Even with all the various fees attached to items imported, there is still room for adding profit, short of asking double the price or more, to me it ends up looking more like greed then filling a gap in the market to import goods.It's not like there is lots of red tape when buying internationally, and works the same as any other online shop.

As the argument went on we agreed that the current pricing model really can't be sustainable in the long run, I have seen some people offering importing services, who then makes use of services them self to import goods that generally don't ship to South Africa and generally still works out cheaper then what wantitall charges.I do apologize for being a little straight to the point and a little brazen on the subject matter. So the question is does wantitall rely on consumer ignorance for it's business model to be sustainable in the long run or is there a specific reason why the current pricing model is used, how will wantitall react and adjust to a consumer rebellion.
 

shreez

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Oct 8, 2012
Messages
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Hi,

Despite Wantitall offering an outstanding variety of products, why is there more frequently than not, a price disparity between shipping the same item from Amazon.com yourself (including relevant import duties and shipping costs) and buying from the Wantitall website so large? Sometimes the item is several hundred percent pricier, and I would love to learn the reasons for this.
 

shreez

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I got involved in a heated debate this past weekend and a interesting topic popped up regarding wantitall.co.za most savvy users don't make use of wantitall.co.za due to the pricing used on the website being quite a bit more, then importing the item your self with various fees it is still a lot cheaper then what wantitall can offer it at.You can't help but wonder who is the sucker that buys from wantitall.Even with all the various fees attached to items imported, there is still room for adding profit, short of asking double the price or more, to me it ends up looking more like greed then filling a gap in the market to import goods.It's not like there is lots of red tape when buying internationally, and works the same as any other online shop.

As the argument went on we agreed that the current pricing model really can't be sustainable in the long run, I have seen some people offering importing services, who then makes use of services them self to import goods that generally don't ship to South Africa and generally still works out cheaper then what wantitall charges.I do apologize for being a little straight to the point and a little brazen on the subject matter. So the question is does wantitall rely on consumer ignorance for it's business model to be sustainable in the long run or is there a specific reason why the current pricing model is used, how will wantitall react and adjust to a consumer rebellion.
Nice one bud, you beat me to it.
 

COMPUTEK

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Apr 7, 2009
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I got involved in a heated debate this past weekend and a interesting topic popped up regarding wantitall.co.za most savvy users don't make use of wantitall.co.za due to the pricing used on the website being quite a bit more, then importing the item your self with various fees it is still a lot cheaper then what wantitall can offer it at.You can't help but wonder who is the sucker that buys from wantitall.Even with all the various fees attached to items imported, there is still room for adding profit, short of asking double the price or more, to me it ends up looking more like greed then filling a gap in the market to import goods.It's not like there is lots of red tape when buying internationally, and works the same as any other online shop.

As the argument went on we agreed that the current pricing model really can't be sustainable in the long run, I have seen some people offering importing services, who then makes use of services them self to import goods that generally don't ship to South Africa and generally still works out cheaper then what wantitall charges.I do apologize for being a little straight to the point and a little brazen on the subject matter. So the question is does wantitall rely on consumer ignorance for it's business model to be sustainable in the long run or is there a specific reason why the current pricing model is used, how will wantitall react and adjust to a consumer rebellion.
That's basically ALL I need answered :confused:
 

uph0n1c

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Aug 12, 2016
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Hi,

There’s a gap in a certain industry that I want to take. How do you begin/how do you start setting up a website/online service to fill this gap, as this will take a notable investment?
 

NetMpofu

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Feb 27, 2015
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The growth on internet user is growing in the country, but when you started it was still way less to the population of the country. With that hurdle in mind, how did you gather inspiration to move from a 9-5 to start your own company?
 
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deathstar444

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Mar 22, 2016
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Ecommerce the future what do you think?

Good Day, Justin

If i look at ecommerce i would say the market is really flooded with a lot of everything id say, i have been looking for something that no one else is doing yet, the one between the millions of everything that everyone is already doing or trying to do but i seem to be struggling to find that one.

What would you say would be one of the next big things or possible big things in ecommerce in south africa, which can make money but also improve the daily lives of south africans and create jobs for our fellow south africans?

Thank You
 
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