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How Shelf Life Went From Longmarket Street To The World With PayPal

Learn how Nick Herbet of Shelf Life grew his ecommerce business with the help of PayPal.

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Vital Stats:

  • 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.

Related: How Fashion Start-Up ToVch Built A Brand Presence With Only A Little Budget

Peace of Mind

Shelf-Life-ecommerce-store-logo

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[1] 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.”

Business Support

Shelf-Life-shoes-store

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.

Related: Boutique Branding Consultancy Morake Design House

Shelf Life’s Nick Herbert loves PayPal because:

  1. It’s more secure
  2. It’s easier to use
  3. Customers expect it
  4. It makes outgoing foreign payments easier
  5. It helps build trust in the authenticity of Shelf Life’s products
  6. It can help boost online sales

What’s Next for Shelf Life and PayPal?

Shelf-Life-ecommerce-store

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.

Learn More

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

[1] Conditions apply. Please check PayPal User Agreement.

At PayPal (Nasdaq:PYPL), we put people at the center of everything we do. Founded in 1998, we continue to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution. PayPal gives people better ways to manage and move their money, offering them choice and flexibility in how they are able to send money, pay or get paid. We operate an open, secure and technology agnostic payments platform that businesses use to securely transact with their customers online, in stores and increasingly on mobile devices. In 2015, 28% of the 4.9 billion payments we processed were made on a mobile device. With our 184 million active customer accounts, PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is available to people in more than 200 markets, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies. For more information on PayPal, visit www.paypal.com/about. For PYPL financial information, visit investor.paypal-corp.com.

Company Posts

4 Black-Owned Businesses Participating in This Enterprise Development Programme That Are Growing – Fast

The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

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The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) and Property Point have joined forces to take 16 small to medium-sized, black-owned, businesses, through a life-changing enterprise development programme.

In its first three months of operation, this programme has already seen incredible results with an average growth rate of 27% per business,  R17,8million in contract secured and 21 direct jobs created. This is a unique collaboration in that it is set up specifically to encourage access to markets for the beneficiary businesses and is the first of its kind in the industry.

But who are the people behind the numbers?  Meet four out of the 16 business owners , Thabiso, Falvia, Malusi and Mandla taking full advantage of this opportunity.

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Company Posts

Calling All Social Entrepreneurs: Be SA’S Next Changemaker With The Nation Builder Social Innovation Challenge

In partnership with LaunchLab and the Mergon Group.

Mergon Group

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Nation Builder, together with the Stellenbosch University LaunchLab and the Mergon Group, is inviting business pitches for their inaugural Social Innovation Challenge. The competition aims to identify and support South Africa’s social entrepreneurs, with an opportunity to win a share of R150 000 seed capital.

Entrepreneurs with a self-sustainable business idea – no matter how simple or small – that addresses particular social issues, positively impacts communities, empowers the disadvantaged, or has the potential to solve local problems in innovative ways, are invited to enter the Social Innovation Challenge.

Ten finalists will receive exposure to a broader network of business investors at the final pitching event, which will be hosted by LaunchLab in Stellenbosch on 13 June 2018. Three final winners will receive their portion of R150 000 funding capital, as well as business support from LaunchLab.

Related: How To Be A Social Entrepreneur

In addition to social innovation specialists, media and social development experts, the judging panel will consist of astute business leaders who have successfully walked the entrepreneurship journey.

“Social entrepreneurs are those who see social challenges as opportunities, devise sustainable business solutions to meet those needs, and positively impact many South Africans in the process,” says Keri-Leigh Mac Donald, Executive Director of Nation Builder, an organisation that supports businesses in leading social change in South Africa.

“Social entrepreneurs are the next wave of change makers and social reformers. Nation Builder wants to support and showcase some of these great and emerging home-grown social businesses as a means to challenge us all to think differently when addressing our local social challenges,” she adds.

According to Brandon Paschal, Head of Incubation at LaunchLab, most of the start-ups that the LaunchLab currently work with already have a strong social conscience. “We have worked with many great small businesses in sectors such as mental health, financial inclusion, job creation, empowerment, and sustainability.  We’re excited for them to have this platform with Nation Builder and the broader network of great socially-responsible companies. It is a wonderful way for them to gain more exposure, but also to work with like-minded partners that can help take their businesses forward, without compromising on their social conscience and the greater purpose of their business.”

The winning entrepreneur and their business idea will also be showcased at Nation Builder’s In Good Company conference in Gauteng in August 2018. In addition, they will receive exposure through the various Nation Builder, Mergon and LaunchLab media channels.

“The societal benefits from these enterprises can bring about increased economic activity and opportunities for many more South Africans, while playing a pivotal role in breaking the cycles of social ills that many people are facing daily. The Nation Builder Social Innovation Challenge is a first step in fuelling and highlighting local social innovation solutions,” says Pieter Faure, CEO of Mergon.

Related: 3 Ways For Social Entrepreneurs To Access Fundraising

Submission requirements: Submit a 3-minute video (cell phone footage can be submitted too) of yourself explaining your business idea with your entry form which can be found on the LaunchLab website: http://www.launchlab.co.za/nationbuilder2018

Pitches (video entries) need to focus on providing the following information:

  1. Provide a brief summary of the business/social innovation idea and its history.
  2. What is the particular social issue that the business idea aims to address?
  3. How does the business idea solve or address the social issue?
  4. Explain how the business intends to make money and be sustainable, while clearly describing the target market or customer profile.
  5. What key milestones have been achieved within the venture already?
  6. What is the strategy to grow the business and scale the social impact?
  7. Anything else that the panel needs to know?

Submissions opened on 14 March, and the deadline for online submission entries is 11 May 2018. The top ten finalists will be notified by the end of May. Finalists’ transport to and accommodation in Stellenbosch for two nights will be provided.

LaunchLab’s terms and conditions apply, and are available to download here:  https://launchlab.co.za/innovationchallenges/competition-terms-conditions/

The three winning pitches will be announced at the pitching event on Wednesday 13 June 2018. The panellists’ decision is final.

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Company Posts

How Your Devices Can Improve Your Business Travel

Dawn Weir, head of kulula work and a veteran business traveller, offers these tech-savvy tips for road-warriors.

Kulula Work

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Technology has made business communication and business travel easier than ever, but it’s still possible to have a minor disaster involving your indispensable devices. Dawn Weir, head of kulula work and a veteran business traveller, offers these tech-savvy tips for road-warriors.

Stay on track

Activity trackers can help you stick to your fitness regime by recording step-counts, distances covered, sleep and nutrition. If you don’t fancy wearing one that looks like it’s from the flight-deck of the starship USS Enterprise, others are available which clip onto your ankle or clothing. Many are water-resistant and rugged, but if you prefer to not buy-one, apps like Samsung Health will record and analyse your daily activity.

Related: Kulula Work Brings You The Cheapest Flights Of The Day For Your Business Travel

Power naps

A few bad nights’ sleep while travelling can leave one feeling unfocused and tetchy. Some of us sleep better in hotel-rooms than others, and some can be downright noisy. You can try using earbuds, but we don’t all like having wads of foam stuck into our skulls when trying to slip into the arms of Morpheus. One alternative is to load a white-noise generator on one of your devices. A site like www.mynoise.net has hundreds of soothing sounds, including waves, rain, crackling fireplaces, trickling streams and even Tibetan monasteries.

It might not drown out the sound of the guys returning to the hotel from their “team-building dinner” at 2am, but it’ll help to smooth out the noise of traffic and air-conditioning.

Cancel the chatter and clatter

travelling-for-business

Many business-travellers now swear by noise-cancelling headphones, which block out distractions and racket and can subtly let fellow travelers know that you’d prefer to not engage in lively conversation. Researchers disagree on the effectiveness of binaural beats for everything from creativity to concentration, but many students, academics and entrepreneurs find that they help with focus the mind.

Stay juiced

Most mobile devices have decent battery-life nowadays, but the size and brightness of their screens and the plethora of apps running on them can drain that very quickly. Save your battery by switching off anything you don’t need: BlueTooth, location, mobile data and so on, as well as apps you’re not using. Switching your phone to Flight mode will also save battery power. Travellers increasingly user power-banks to boost battery-life, but Weir suggests reading users’ product reviews before buying one, as some are far more efficient than others.

Related: Flying High With Reliable Travel Partners CANCOM And Kulula

Back up and go

Save your important documents – scans of your passport if you’re travelling internationally – as well as hotel reservations and travel itineraries, and take pictures and screenshots of them on your phone. That all-important PowerPoint presentation? Use a file-hosting service like Dropbox to put it in the cloud so you can access it wherever you need to.

Declutter

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If you’re a regular business traveller make a point of emptying all your luggage every few weeks. You’ll probably find you’ve accumulated flash-drives, USB adaptors and stationery and other stuff that takes up space and adds weight.

Downsize

Everyone from business travelers to backpackers loves the portability of laptops, but while they’re lighter than ever, those with bigger screens can be bulky. One option is to travel with a tablet, which offers the efficiency of a laptop while taking up less space. If you need to do a lot of inputting while you’re on the road, get a flexible keyboard that can be rolled up until need, or pair your tablet or smartphone with a laser projection keyboard. It’s a clever gizmo that projects a full-sized QWERTY keyboard onto any flat surface, allowing you to type pretty much anywhere.

Related: How To Take The Hassle Out Of Business Travel With Kulula Work

Converge

We’ve all seen the infographics showing how smartphones combine all the devices we once owned separately, like cameras, DVD- and CD-players, and that innovation continues. The Belkin Travel Rockstar combines a battery pack, surge protector and charger. It has three plug-ports (you may need an adaptor, depending on which plug configuration you use) and two USB ports.

Still not high-tech enough? Try Pluggage, a smart suitcase produced by luggage brand www.delsey.com that has its own app. It’s available in three sizes and its features include fingerprint ID to lock and unlock it (you can also lock and unlock it using the app), interior lighting and speakers. It weighs itself, has integrated USB chargers for your devices, and GPS tracking notifies you when it’s on a luggage carousel at the airport or being loaded onto or off a flight.

To make your business travel that much easier and to find out more about kulula work call +27 (0)11 285 3050, email sales@kulula.com or visit www.kulula.com/work.

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