BidorBuy South Africa’s eBay

Online auctions

We’ve all heard of the international online auction giant eBay. eBay is the world’s largest trading community where millions of people buy and sell millions of items every day. Yet despite its global reach eBay has failed to penetrate the South African market.  The worthy South African alternative to eBay is bidorbuy. 

While eBay dwarfs bidorbuy in terms of global market share, bidorbuy currently enjoys market domination in the South African online auction marketplace. bidorbuy was founded in August 1999 and is currently the largest internet auction website operating in South Africa. bidorbuy generates an average 11,000 million page impressions and receives over 430,000 new visitors to the website monthly. There are currently around 240,000 registered members with approximately 12,000 members actively trading in any given month.


Some of the many features offered by bidorbuy that are similar to eBay include the Buy Now listing where an item can be sold at a fixed price, the Rating System where buyers and sellers rate one another on the transactional experience, an Automatic Bidding feature where the system bids on a bidders behalf up to a maximum pre-defined amount, and the very significant Verified Users status (South African sellers apply to become verified after completing a stringent verification and identification process). 

The benefits of a common marketplace

Although bidorbuy shares many features with eBay, the benefits for a South African user to use a local site like bidorbuy far outweigh those of using the international eBay. South African’s have bought into the success of bidorbuy while fully appreciating the potential that the Internet holds for local e-tailers. The bidorbuy community is very strong and provides an active forum where buyers and sellers can exchange ideas and discuss concerns from a similar local perspective where they share the same economy and are faced with similar challenges. This forum is properly run and well moderated and has become a very popular ‘hang-out’ and social networking platform for local South African e-tailers and online shoppers.

Faster and more secure payments

It is exorbitantly expensive to make an International transfer for goods bought overseas especially for lower valued purchases. In South Africa Internet banking is widely accepted for buyers as one of the safest methods of making payment for purchases concluded online. Since both the payer and payee are located in South Africa there is a greater recourse should a problem arise during the transaction. South African FICA and FIAS regulations provide a further safeguard to buyers and sellers by ensuring that the identification and whereabouts of the individual is available on record should any recourse become necessary. 

South African sellers are unable to receive funds (nor does PayPal offer South African Rands as a currency option) from international buyers, thus making it very difficult for a South African based seller to trade on eBay. bidorbuy has a similar local payment system to eBay’s PayPal called bobPay. bobPay is a payment facility created specifically for bidorbuy sellers enabling them to receive payments made by credit card.


Local delivery can save the day

It goes without saying that there are many obvious benefits to shipping products locally as opposed to having to ship something outside of the country. The cost of sending an item abroad can become momentous. Not to mention the extended time that it takes for a buyer to receive an item. Another noteworthy benefit to trading locally is that there are no risks on the bottom line as a result of volatile fluctuations in the exchange rates and there are also no potential complications with exchange control regulations. Often buyers also forget to take into account the additional costs and complications of buying from an overseas seller resulting from customs duties and VAT.   In addition, the South African law offers much greater protection to South African buyers and sellers in the unlikely event that a transaction is faced with complications or disputes.

bidorbuy facilitates profitability

eBay generates revenue from a number of fees including a fee to list a product and a fee when the product sells, plus there are several additional optional fees all based on various factors and scales. These fees add up and quickly become a deterrent to anyone who wants start up a business selling on online auctions especially when new to selling online where profit margins are low. The upfront listing fee can take quite a chunk out of seller profits. Listing on bidorbuy is just as easy as listing on eBay with the significant difference being that sellers do not pay anything until the item actually sells. There are options to upgrade a listing by enhancing it so that it appears on homepage or to promote it in a specific category, but these enhanced listing fees are optional.

bidorbuy hosts two promotional auctions called the Crazy Wednesday and Snap Friday Auctions. These promotional days offer new sellers an effective way of getting noticed and getting a good price on items. With up to 65,000 items being listed during these peak periods, many regular buyers (‘bidorbuyers’) eagerly anticipate these promotions and bidding becomes furious and as a result helps to raise seller’s profiles and profits very quickly.

A big fish in a small pond

While eBay dominates the online auction market and has millions of trades taking place daily, it becomes a very difficult environment for new sellers to enter into. With so many sellers in one place there seems to be just too much competition on eBaybidorbuy provides a local platform whereby sellers can quickly set up a competitive online South African business, and there is far less competition for sellers listing niche products on bidorbuy than trying to sell the same product on eBay. In comparison to eBay, bidorbuy may seem like a small pond – but with an average turnover of over R10 million from more than 200,000 listings resulting in over 30,000 transactions per month, it certainly seems like a pond large and worthy enough to be fishing in.


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