- Company name: Shelf Life
- Spokesperson: Nick Herbert, owner
- HQ: Cape Town, South Africa
- Industry:Retail & eCommerce
- Website: shelflife.co.za
When you can corner a premium global market from the southern tip of Africa, you don’t need much more evidence about the Internet’s power to make the world a smaller place.
This is exactly what Shelf Life has done. The streetwear and sneaker store started life as a bricks-and-mortar shop – based in Cape Town’s Longmarket Street – in 2006. It added an eCommerce channel in 2009, introducing PayPal, the safer, easier way to pay and get paid online, during a site revamp in 2012. Today, it is one of a handful of suppliers around the world of limited edition sneakers from brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance and Asics.
When as few as 300 pairs of exclusive collectors’ item brands might be released globally, Shelf Life has real life customers queuing overnight outside its store to get their hands on the sneakers. Online, customers do the same, setting up alerts and automated bots to tell them when gear is launched.
However, savvy customers want to be sure they are buying the real deal, especially online. They often wait for months for new releases and, with limited edition sneakers retailing for up to R4 000 plus the bragging rights of owning a pair, trust and security are essential when selling these products online.
Peace of Mind
This is where PayPal comes in. When the Shelf Life online store was revamped in 2012, PayPal was a key building block in not only allowing company to sell to a global audience, but also, thanks to PayPal’s Buyer Protection, giving customers the peace of mind that if anything did go wrong, their eligible purchases are protected.
Of course, Nick Herbert, owner of Shelf Life, and his team pride themselves on only supplying 100% authentic sneakers. They undertake to personally inspect each item before it is shipped to ensure quality and customer satisfaction. In addition, however, PayPal’s Buyer Protection gives customers around the world extra layer of protection when purchasing such in-demand, premier products from a country they might never have visited.
“We stake our reputation on the authenticity of our sneakers,” said Herbert. “PayPal’s Buyer Protection is a way to prove that to our customers: if they don’t get what they ordered, PayPal can help them to get their money back. This gives them the confidence to buy from us.”
PayPal is also easier to use, and saves time as there is no need to retype the financial information that is already stored in the account, which is important when customers are working against the clock to ensure they get the right product in the right size.
“PayPal is simply the easiest way to make a payment online,” says Herbert. “Many of our customers only use PayPal for international payments, so we would lose foreign customers if we didn’t offer it.”
“Repeat business using PayPal also shows it works and that our customers are happy.”
PayPal also offers Shelf Life, a rapidly growing small business, several advantages. For a start, payments with PayPal can be made and accepted in most major currencies, making it very easier to deal with international customers. Also, the withdraw service is available for all merchants, even those who don’t bank with FNB.
Thanks to the bank-managed withdraw service offered by FNB, South African individuals and sellers can withdraw their funds from their verified PayPal account to any qualifying South African bank account, while shoppers can top up funds to their PayPal account if they are FNB customers.
According to Herbert, using PayPal also helps to protect the company from the credit card fraud it had previously experienced thanks to PayPal’s sophisticated fraud prevention tools. Finally, PayPal and Shelf Life’s accounting software programmes are compatible, further saving the company time and money on administration.
Shelf Life’s Nick Herbert loves PayPal because:
- It’s more secure
- It’s easier to use
- Customers expect it
- It makes outgoing foreign payments easier
- It helps build trust in the authenticity of Shelf Life’s products
- It can help boost online sales
What’s Next for Shelf Life and PayPal?
Local business is thriving, thanks to the sneaker culture gaining a foothold in South Africa over the past few years. Online sales still remain strong – this channel is both more profitable and allows Shelf Life to tap into a truly global market. Locally, Herbert is looking at a second bricks-and-mortar store, and is sourcing additional brands to meet demand both here and around the world, online.
To learn more about how PayPal can help your business sell more – and connect with your customers wherever they shop – go to paypal.com/za
 Conditions apply. Please check PayPal User Agreement.
4 Ways to Stop Worrying in 2019
If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how.
What if I can’t complete that piece of work in time? What if my home gets burgled while I’m on holiday? We all worry – some people more than others. A few of these worries are genuine concerns, but most are completely out of our control and are most likely never to materialise.
But still, they occupy our minds. And with the digital world now occupying even more of our time, we’ve been given even more material to worry about. Famines in far-away countries, children orphaned by a flood, if we simply turn on our TVs or look to social media, we can become completely overwhelmed by what we see. And it’s making us all desperately unhappy.
So, what do we do? If you’re a bit of a worry-wart, you have to acknowledge this and get proactive about managing your stress, anxiety and worrying levels. Here’s how:
Monitor and limit social media
We all know our phones are an addiction. And scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, you can compare your life to everyone else’s and add another huge worry to your ever-growing list: I’m not good enough/my life sucks. Which is why there’s a growing trend among Generation X-ers (and even some Millennials), to quit social media altogether.
“It was like breaking an addiction for the first few days, where I felt I was missing out, but after a few weeks I realised that the world carries on, and I was still in touch with those people I actually wanted to connect with. I felt lighter and happier,” says Caryn White*, a mother-of-two and small business owner. If you can’t quit social media for work reasons, then take it off your phone, and only access it on your desktop at specific times of the day.
We’re not advocating sticking your head in the sand: just limit which channels you absorb news from, and how often you do it. The last thing you need is to open up your phone on waking up and read about the latest catastrophe, which you are powerless to do anything about.
Pick a few trusted news sources and check them at specific times. Avoid the news on the radio in your car; rather listen to fascinating audio books or podcasts that lift your mood instead of making you worry.
Assumption or fact?
This simple concept is incredibly helpful when faced with a worrying situation. Your child has a strange rash, you’ve Googled it and you’re pretty sure it’s chickenpox. Now the whole family is going to get it, you’ll miss work, your boss will be angry, and you may lose your job. Is the fact that your child has chicken pox an assumption or a fact?
Is losing your job a fact or an assumption? They’re both assumptions. So, take your child to the doctor, get a proper diagnosis and then take the next steps from there (a good medical aid can also help ease the stress of the financial cost of doctors’ visits). This approach is a simple way to deal with worries that start to spiral out of control in your mind.
Write them down
Worrying can seem insurmountable if it’s all in your head. Instead, try this strategy from Qualified FAMSA Counsellor Lynette Blomfield:
- Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, until you calm down.
- Once you’re calm, write down the five most stressful things on your list. It could be increasing expenses, like a huge jump in medical aid costs per month.
- Brainstorm what you could do to change or eliminate the worry/problem (maybe you can move to a medical aid company that charges less each month?). If necessary, ask a good friend or colleague for advice.
- Focus on making progress, not ticking all your worries off and striving for ‘perfection’.
- Stay on course and come back to your list regularly.
Dealing with worrying is about being proactive. You’re the only one that can begin the process of reducing anxiety, so now’s the time to take some steps. If you don’t know how to begin doing this on your own, it may be best to see a qualified counsellor or therapist to get you started.
*name has been changed
Benefits Of Automated Cash Management
Every entrepreneur knows that cash is the lifeblood of a business, but few realise that the way one manages cash, can be the difference between success and failure.
Automated cash management has become a vital component of every cash-centric business, particularly in the retail trade. As much as the use of credit cards and online banking is encouraged, consumers remain sceptical and nervous of internet fraud and cybercrime and continue to prefer hard cash as the primary means of transacting.
The days of physical cash are not numbered. Current cash in circulation is approximately R140 billion, having grown from R119 billion in 2014, according to the South African Reserve Bank and according to a recent banking report, cash represents close on 90% of all transactions in South Africa.
If you run a business, some of this cash will find its way into your cash register (or, heaven forbid, the envelope you hide in the fridge until you make the trip to the bank). As a business owner, it is your responsibility to keep your cash safe, not just in the interests of profitability, but in the interests of the welfare of staff and customers who could be caught in the cross fire of armed robbers who almost always, get to know what you have been up to!
According to Richard Phillips, joint CEO of Cash Connect Management Solutions, cash automation is the way to go. “Automated cash handling saves money and time, allowing retailers to focus on their core business and greatly improves their risk profile,” he says. And don’t think your enterprise is too small to automate, as cash, whether small or large in volume, remains high on the criminal agenda.
But the real commercial advantages of cash automation are often hidden by safety and security considerations. The advantages of an automated cash handling solution are and should, do much more than giving your cash a safe ride to the bank. Just have a look at what the Cash Connect solution, arguably the most advanced of its kind in the local market could do for you:
1. Increased business efficiency
Bill Gates once said that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. It is certainly true for automated cash management. It’s fast, accurate and error free. It eliminates all staff touch points associated with manual reconciliations and banking, which gets rid of shrinkage and double count supervision. It lowers insurance and other overhead and back-office costs, along with your exposure to crime, both in store and en-route to the bank.
2. Improved cash flow
With the right solution, your cash will reflect in your bank account on the same day that the cash-in-transit company collects from your premises. Cash Connect goes even further with its Instant Access feature, which allows access to the cash while still in the vault, converting the retailers’ cash into value whenever they need it.
3. Business continuity
Cash Connect guarantees the cash from the time it is deposited into the cash vault, whilst in transit and until the cash reflects in your bank account. This means that from a cash flow point of view, your business can not only survive most crises, but that business continuity is guaranteed.
4. Cost savings
In a manual cash handling environment, the combination of all the elements required to give effect to realising value in one’s bank account will vary with the actual monthly cash turnover; But on R1,5 million of cash receipts a month, the cost will be somewhere in the region of 135 basis points.
A corresponding integrated automated cash management service will cost in the region of 70 basis points.
As a matter of interest, card transactions cost the retailer anything between 300 and 500 basis points – reinforcing why, for the retailer, cash is the preferred medium of payment.
5. Access to alternative funding options
Imagine applying for a business loan, getting funding approval in one hour and having R1,8 million paid into your bank account within 24 hours. Far from a pipedream, this is what Cash Connect recently did for one of its retail supermarket clients under its Cash Connect Capital offering. You too can get fast, flexible, hassle-free, and unsecured growth finance when you need working capital to boost your business.
Having grown Cash Connect from an entrepreneur’s start-up to the success it is today, the Cash Connect team remains driven by the desire to empower and enable South Africa’s SME community and retail sector, by creating a trading environment that takes businesses from a place of safety to a place of growth.
And in today’s modern world, that is exactly how entrepreneurs should think about cash management solutions and how they can improve business efficiency and cash flow.
How To Get A Tax Clearance Certificate In South Africa
This post is for you if you need a Tax Clearance Certificate from SARS. We explain everything you need to know about Tax Clearance Certificates in South Africa: from why you need one to apply for most Tenders, Contracts or RFQ’s to how to get yours as quickly as possible.
When applying for Tenders, Contracts and RFQ’s in South Africa, chances are you need to submit a Tax Clearance Certificate. In this piece we’re explaining the why, the how and the where on getting a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa.
We’ve asked our team of specialists at Company Partners to answer frequently-asked questions they get from South African entrepreneurs on Tax Clearance Certificates. Company Partners is a local company who specialises in fast-tracked company documentation like Tax Clearance Certificates.
Here are the questions SA entrepreneurs have on Tax Clearance Certificates and our expert’s answers (you can just skip to the FAQ’s you’re interested in):
- The definition of a Tax Clearance Certificate
- Why do I need a Tax Clearance Certificate for Contracts, Tenders or RFQs?
- How to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa
- Where to get a Tax Clearance Certificate
- Is a Tax Clearance Certificate compulsory in South Africa to apply for Tenders?
- The fastest way to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa.
Expert tip: if you’re interested in getting a fast-tracked Tax Clearance Certificate, just call Company Partner’s toll-free number 0800 007 269 or visit their Tax Clearance Certificate page here.
1. The definition of a Tax Clearance Certificate
A Tax Clearance Certificate is essentially a piece of official documentation that your business can get from SARS as proof that you have no outstanding Tax at SARS. Having a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa means your business is in good standing with SARS.
2. Why do I need a Tax Clearance Certificate for Contracts, Tenders or RFQs?
You want to partner with credible companies, right? The same goes for companies looking for contractors. That’s why companies want to check if their potential contractors are in good standing with SARS.
You cannot skip your SARS payments and get a Tax Clearance Certificate. You need to “clear” all Tax matters first before you can get the certificate.
In short, that’s exactly why you’ll see most Tenders, Contracts or RFQ’s asking you to provide a Tax Clearance Certificate in your applications/bids. It’s essentially a form of administrative security to ensure you don’t have bad debt with SARS.
3. How to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa
SARS is the only entity who can issue legal Tax Clearance Certificates in South Africa. However, there are various way to get a SARS-issued Tax Clearance Certificate.
The first method is using eFiling and navigating SARS’s e-portal by yourself.
The second is queuing at a local SARS branch.
The third, and the easiest method is asking a Tax Professional to assist you. This can either be a Tax Accountant, or a fast-tracked company service provider like Company Partners. They have a team of Tax Experts who communicate directly with SARS on your behalf.
Their team specialises in assisting South African businesses to get their SARS-issued Tax Certificate as quickly, and with as little effort as possible.
This is one of the easiest methods to get your Tax Clearance Certificate simply because you don’t need to figure out what, how and where you need to submit your details and the required documentation. Company Partners knows exactly what SARS wants – and also how and where they want it.
This process is also much faster and easier because it’s online and completely rules out queuing and unclarity.
4. Where to get a Tax Clearance Certificate
As mentioned in the previous answer, there are three ways to get a Tax Clearance Certificate. Although all three approaches entail a SARS-issued Tax Clearance Certificate, the third way is by far the easiest and the fastest.
The first method is applying online and DIY via SARS’s eFiling site. This might be complicated and time-consuming if you don’t know exactly what documentation you need to submit and in what formats.
The second method is visiting a local SARS branch for assistance.
The third option is using a Tax Accountant or a professional service provider like Company Partners.
The Company Partners process is simple:
Sign up for their Tax Clearance service here. A dedicated expert will give you a call and walk you through everything. Alternatively, you can call them directly on their toll-free number 0800 007 269.
Follow the easy steps your dedicated Consultant gives you telephonically and via email. If you need any assistance, just contact your Consultant.
They make sure you get your Tax Clearance Certificate in record-breaking time. It’s as simple as that.
5. Is a Tax Clearance Certificate compulsory in South Africa when applying for Tenders?
Usually, yes. Any credible company or government institution will probably request a Tax Clearance Certificate.
A Tax Clearance Certificate issued by SARS is the only proof they have that you don’t have any outstanding debts payable to SARS.
6. The fastest way to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa
The fastest way to get a Tax Clearance Certificate in South Africa is using a professional to assist you. Before you opt out in fear of the associated cost, there really are cost-effective options for you.
You could use a part-time Tax Accountant to assist you or you could use a service provider like Company Partners. At Company Partners they specialise in offering online and fast-tracked company administration.
Using a professional cuts out the time you’re going to spend queuing at a local SARS branch or trying to figure out what and how you need to submit the required documentation.
You can call Company Partners on their toll-free number 0800 007 269 to start.
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