Interview with Lisa Bell, Digital Entrepreneur


Meet Lisa Bell, writer, editor, author, and Director at The Word Architect. She is also the founder of The Organic Shop, an online health shop providing a range of natural and cruelty-free products for men, women, children, babies, and even furry family members. She loves to talk about all things marketing, copywriting, digital marketing, and social media.

Thank you 2021


The last term always feels a bit like a race to the finish line. With private schools starting to close from next week, many of you will be looking forward to some well-earned rest. Some of us will be working right up to Christmas, because for the e-commerce industry this is after all the busiest time of the year. Whether you will be working or taking leave, celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or just spending time with family, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support this past year; to our publishers for delivering the results, to our clients for their continued belief in us, and to our employees for going the extra mile every day. AdMarula wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for you. We also wish you a successful Black Friday and hope that it will in part make up for lost revenue during lockdown. It is encouraging to see that some of our programs that were paused have been restarted, and that clients are starting to increase budgets and channels again. (Please note that our office will close on the 23rd of December and re-open on the 3rd January.) We look forward to taking on 2022 with you. Onwards on upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

Two sides


There is a famous quote by American comedian, Daniel Tosh that goes: “No matter how flat you make your pancakes, they still have two sides”. This does indeed seem to be the case for the South African retail industry at the moment- if you believe the latest reports from experts and research houses. While the brick-and-mortar retail industry is predicted to basically show 0% growth in 2020, the e-commerce industry is expected to continue to grow at a a healthy rate. So, does this mean South Africans are finally catching on to the online shopping trend? Perhaps. It is generally believed that the busier your shopping malls are, the healthier your economy. This is probably true to some extent, but let’s not forget that many South Africans are heavily indebted, so while the malls may be filled with shoppers, it doesn’t necessarily spell good news for the economy. The growth in e-commerce is likely to be a result of shoppers moving their budgets from malls to online, as many buyers use the internet to search for discounts and deals – which will be even more apparent when the economy is slow. Personally I’m excited about 2020. When the economy is tough it forces digital marketers to be more focused and deliver tangible results for each Rand spent – which is after all AdMarula’s core strength. It is seldom that a client will actually cut a budget. In most cases it’s a matter of moving it around to find the channel mix that works best for their business or product. Our on-site remarketing and mobile traffic optimitsation products have been in high demand due to its transparent an performance-based nature, and I believe this trend will continue in the coming months. On a different note, we are currently looking for a Digital Account Manager and an SEO Marketing expert to join our team. If you think you fit either of those roles, feel free to send us your CV and a brief cover letter to We’d love to hear from you. Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

Interview with Warrick Kernes, CEO at Insaka eCommerce Academy

This month we chat to one of the hottest properties in SA eCommerce. Meet Warrick Kernes, serial entrepreneur, winner of London’s 2009 Young Businessman of the Year Award, founder of online store Action Gear, and guest lecturer on eCommerce at WITS Business School. Warrick also sits on the Education Committee for the eCommerce Forum Africa and is a regular contributing writer for the SA Entrepreneur Magazine. Describe yourself in 3 words. Man of action. When I was a kid I wanted to be a….. Game ranger Tell us a bit about your journey with online store Action Gear After a few years in London I moved into my parents’ spare room and that’s where I started and ran the business for the first two years. As the first person to sell GoPro in SA I capitalized on this and the business grew rapidly and achieved the first R1m month in Year 3. As the business grew and I took on partners we built a great team which helped us to hit consistent high sales. Later, as drones became popular, we secured an import agreement for the most popular brand DJI. I exited the business early in 2018. Why do some eCommerce companies succeed while others fail? Many entrepreneurs have the false belief that they can turn on a website and then sit back and watch the sales flow in. Entrepreneurs need to recognise their online store as being a proper business and they need to give it the due attention to grow it like any other business – with time and resources. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing eCommerce companies in Africa? The lack of knowledge of how to do it correctly. Tell us about your current venture The Insaka eCommerce Academy We coach South African’s who are starting out to be able to build, launch and grow their own successful eCommerce businesses. For entrepreneurs who are already selling online we help them to achieve higher sales and to scale their businesses. There are many free resources available on to help you whether you’re experienced or just starting up. What advice do you have for aspiring eCommerce entrepreneurs? Commit to take control of the core components of your online store yourself. Empower yourself to know how to change and improve your website and learn how to bring quality traffic to your site. This is what drives your business so you want to have full control and knowledge of these areas. What is the next big thing in eCommerce?   Offering your customers “Click & Collect” is huge overseas and we’re now starting to see consumers in South Africa wanting this here too. As with so many trends South Africa is behind, but we’re seeing big company like Takealot setting up Click & Collect depos around the country. Pargo has over 2,200 pick-up points and DSV are rolling out their Lockers at Engen garages throughout SA. Click & Collect offers convenience to the customer, it saves costs for the courier and the eCom store gives the customer a better experience so this is a true win-win-win situation and we’ll see this trend really take off this year. When I’m not working, I’m… Mountain biking or in the bush.