🤳 A Better Way to Sell on Social…

Plus: SA’s best-loved tech, dodgy farming & maintaining quality when your company grows.
January 30, 2024


More power? A Chinese tech company made a coin-sized battery that lasts 50 years without charging. It’s small now, but could do wonders for powering phones in the future.

In this Open Letter:

A New Way to Sell on Social

Checkers Sixty60 and its rapid grocery delivery have revolutionised how we shop for everyday items. Joined by PnP asap!, SPAR2U, and Woolies Dash, these services deliver our grocery favourites within an hour – and speaking to any of these retailers, that side of the business is booming. 

It's a remarkable convenience for consumers, but it's not without its ripple effects. 

One significant impact is the decline in foot traffic at the malls where these stores serve as anchor tenants. A decrease that affects the smaller retailers who rely on the flow of customers visiting the larger stores – a massive shift that’s hard to quantify without official data. 

A glimpse at the fleet of Sixty60 motorbikes zipping in and out of a Checkers store offers a clue:

  • If one bike manages 3 trips per hour, that could very well be 24 deliveries a day.
  • Multiplied by 20 bikes for some bigger stores, you're looking at up to 480 daily deliveries per store.
  • And that’s essentially 480 potential customers who no longer pass by the smaller shops on their way to the anchor tenant (up to 14’500 per month!).
They are getting their biltong on the app now grandpa

This is a significant blow to these small businesses and poses questions about the future of malls' business models – perhaps a major contributing factor to why Amazon has decided to launch its marketplace in SA. 

But that’s a story for another day.

Today is about how small businesses are adapting.

The Small Business Sales Revolution

While setting up an e-commerce store has become incredibly accessible with no-code and low-code platforms like WooCommerce, Webflow, or Squarespace, many are turning to social media spaces where South Africans spend an average of 3 hours and 44 minutes daily

With 40% of GenZ using platforms like TikTok and Instagram for product searches, and 26% of South Africans using social media to buy and discover products online, the potential to sell on social has become significant (and will likely continue to grow).

From clothes to furniture or even braai wood, small businesses and solopreneurs are increasingly harnessing social media to market their products and finalise sales. 

And it's not only new items but also second-hand goods that are finding a marketplace on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and various WhatsApp groups.

Future of commerce in Jozi? Chat-GPT seems to think this is it

However, a major pain remains in the payment process. While social media provides a certain level of trust and community verification, completing transactions securely and efficiently remains a hurdle. 

Social Sales, Solved and Optimised

That's where local payment startup WigWag’s checkout product comes in. They've tailored a solution specifically for small businesses and solopreneurs, allowing them to accept card payments online with minimal fees (as low as 2.55%). 

Sellers can send customers a payment link with a pre-set or adjustable amount and even integrate the delivery address into the payment process, streamlining the entire transaction and minimising the need for back-and-forth communication. What’s more, a simple interface makes it easy for sellers to keep track of their orders.

This gives the small business or solopreneur a single payment tool to use on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and email – basically everywhere you can imagine.

With online commerce set to keep on rising, expect to see more of your local small businesses sell online… we are watching this space.


🐄 Unlicensed to Thrill. SA AgriTech startup Livestock Wealth, which allows investors to invest in livestock and farmlands, has been accused of operating without a license and using another entity's license number by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.

🎧 Top Tech in SA. South Africans have voted for their favourite tech brands in a recent Analytico survey of 2’500 respondents. South Africans prefer Luno for crypto, JBL headphones, PCs for gaming, Huawei routers, Samsung Storage and Windows Defender (to keep those gaming PCs virus-free) — and The Open Letter for tech and startup news (we’re joking, that's not in there, but it should be).

🤝 Takealot Shakeup. Takealot has appointed a new CEO. Frederik Zietsman will take the helm (including Takealot.com, Superbalist, and Mr D.) from the 1st of February 2024. Outgoing CEO Mamongae Mahlare will move to the position of executive chair of Takealot Group.

📈 3x Good News. South Africa’s economy is expected to grow from 0.5% in 2023 to 1.5% in 2024 according to the Bank of America. This is despite national elections, interest cuts expected in the second half, and deteriorating public finances

🙊 No Jokes. Looks like you can't even make a joke about loadshedding anymore — at least not on social media. The CCMA recently ruled in favour of the Ford Motor Company when an employee made a joke about employees not needing to work due to Stage 6 Loadshedding.

🎤 Dealing with it Swiftly. X has blocked users from being able to search for “Taylor Swift” after AI-generated fake explicit images of the singer went viral. Crazy Town.


How to Maintain Quality When Your Team Grows

We’ve all seen it before. You have the world’s coolest product/service when you or your founding team are sweating away and doing it yourself.

But then, as soon as you get real momentum and bring new people on board, things start moving really fast… And quality can, naturally, suffer a bit.

Let’s gooooo

It’s a biggie, not just for startups. And a possible answer came from Netflix. Their years-long HR guru, Patty McCord, has explained a few times how they managed quality throughout rapid growth by focusing on culture.

3 Key People-and-Growth Insights

1. Teach everyone how the business works

A massive bone of contention, because management always seems to want to keep the financials and true goals hidden. Modern workplace psychology, however, tells us teams perform better when they have the full picture.

Netflix actually had weekly meetings where they discussed their acquisition numbers, returns, and profits – the works! They held nothing back because that gave them the ability to unlock Number 2…

2. Show everyone how and where they add value

When everyone knows how the business works, it makes it clearer how each person’s individual contribution adds to the overall picture. Which is a great internal motivator.

“Oh, if I do X, Y and Z, the organic subs go up, lowering our CAC and increasing our LTV, increasing profit. So, if I put in this extra effort, I qualify for this and that bonus…”

You could even structure reviews around it, showing and explaining to team members how their tasks fit into the big picture. It increases autonomy and ownership, motivates and creates a culture of accountability, where everyone is working towards the same goals.

3. Hire selfishly

The third part of this is realising that where a) what I’m good at doing and b) what I love doing meet, is where people will be most efficient. So, large corporates look at this and go “How can I develop my people more?”.

But you’re not a large corporate. As a startup, you actually can’t afford to develop anyone, you need the right people to help take the company where it needs to go.

So, you still focus on finding out what people love doing, but flip it around and look at what your business needs most. Then, only hire the people who really love doing the things you really need.

Got a people or hiring tip for growing startups? Hit reply and let us know…


We asked which blockchain products you’re most excited about, and it’s not much…

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 🪙 Bitcoin only (14%)

🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ 🏡 Digital title deeds (23%)

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ 🖼️ Tokenising other assets 17%)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 💳 Payments (12%)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🥱 I couldn't really care less (34%)


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