“The success of these passionate entrepreneurs, who are breaking ground within niche categories, really speaks to the importance of understanding and believing in your product,” said Kevin Tucker, founder and CEO of PriceCheck. “To gain traction in today’s online marketplace requires far more than just a product and a slick platform. It requires real passion and a willingness to put yourself out there behind your ideas.”He also noted that one of the toughest categories this year was the Best Mobile Shopping Experience, which was awarded to the popular fashion e-tailer, Zando.
“Given that the mobile shopping experience is becoming so important, it was unsurprising that the three finalists in this category all offer a great mobile service for their customers,” says Tucker. “Major emphasis is being placed on optimising the mobile customer experience. Zando exemplifies this with various features that encourage consumers to explore and ultimately purchase online.”The awards unveiled the emergence of niche e-commerce businesses that reflect the innovation taking place within specific sectors. Aisha Pandor, the founder of SweepSouth, exemplifies this wave of innovation, and has applied the Uber operating model to provide domestic cleaning services in South Africa. Pandor was named the Best Female Tech/E-Commerce Entrepreneur as well as the Best Black Tech/E-Commerce Entrepreneur. She was competing with Ntuthuko Shezi, the founder of Livestock Wealth, which is a platform that essentially allows people to invest in cattle. One of the surprise winners of the night (and evidence that niche players can succeed) was Funky Tights, which sells custom tights online. They clinched the Best Small Online Business Award, on the back of impressive growth in a short period of time.