Over the last few years, South Africa has experienced a huge increase in eCommerce and eCommerce delivery. This increase has been influenced by the increase of online shopping and this is only the beginning.
What is eCommerce Delivery?
eCommerce delivery refers to all activities required for the movement of goods purchased online from the retailer to the customer’s destination, which in most instances is their personal residence. It is deemed an important part of the buying process as is this is when customers receive the goods that they buy online. eCommerce delivery grants businesses the opportunity to make a lasting impression on the customer. If the customer has a negative delivery impression, then they are likely to view your brand in a negative light and might not buy from it again.
eCommerce in South Africa
South Africa’s eCommerce sector is rapidly growing now more than it has ever before. Just in 2020, the country’s average eCommerce spend in the first half of the year increased by 30% compared to the year before. This increase was greatly influenced by the lockdown that was implemented in March 2020 and the COVID restrictions that were put in place. In the past, people were skeptical and weren’t too trusting about purchasing items that they couldn’t see or touch first, but that is slowly changing.
South Africa’s online retail spend was set to make 1.4% of the total retail spend in the country in 2018 and in 2020 it grew to 2% which is an increase of more than 40%. That figure is now expected to grow to about 5-10%. Most of the growth experienced was due to the restrictions that were placed on traditional retail stores that led to the reduction of in-store shopping by 30%. Shopping online was much more convenient as it can be done from the comfort of your home, and it reduced the risk of COVID-19 transmissions which most customers feared.
Another factor that has increased the growth of eCommerce in South Africa is the fact that people are becoming more ‘digitally savvy’ and technology is slowly taking part of their lives. The majority of people who go online mainly do so with the use of their mobile phones. These users also access the web and social media from their mobile phones, and they shop online with the same devices. This is why eCommerce businesses that offer in-app shopping are likely to become much more successful, such as Takealot. Other factors that motivate South Africans to buy online include the selection of products, the price of those products, a friendly portal that makes navigation easy, the ability to make secure payments, and finally the delivery reliability.
eCommerce Delivery in South Africa
The eCommerce delivery sector needs to focus on not only making faster deliveries but communicating better with their customers. During the COVID-19 lockdown when most people were turning to online shopping, the greatest complaints were late deliveries, unpredictable arrival times and customers receiving the wrong items. Most of these complaints were a reflection of the sudden major boost that South Africa’s e-commerce businesses were experiencing and were desperately trying to keep up with the orders that they were receiving.
Another complaint related to unpredictable arrival times is that even though eCommerce businesses would inform customers that they would receive their orders that day, customers wouldn’t know whether to wait for the whole morning or the entire day which would waste their time.
eCommerce Delivery Predictions in 2021
Though South Africa’s eCommerce market is projected to make US $4.7 billion in 2021, there are several issues with delivery that must be addressed to ensure that it happens. For one, there are often concerns that customers have, for example, the fear of not receiving the goods that they ordered online or not receiving those goods on time. eCommerce delivery businesses need to prioritize addressing those concerns and having options to make customers feel more at ease.
One way that eCommerce businesses are aiming to fulfil orders is through click and collect services. These services allow the customer to order their goods online and collect them in store. This method is not only beneficial for customers as they can pick up their goods whenever they can, but businesses can also make more sales to that customer as they can purchase more goods in store when they collect their goods.
Businesses can also make deliveries of online orders more accessible by having pick-up points and automated parcel stations which are simply lockers in public points where customers can retrieve online orders. This is a great option for companies that do not have retail stores where customers can physically collect their online orders. There are already stores in South Africa that are making use of pick-up points such as Makro and Takealot.