Courier industry ready for a ‘tsunami’ of online orders

CAPE TOWN- The Covid-19 pandemic has driven global eCommerce sales of general retail up by 209% compared to the same period last year and South Africa could soon see similar growth.

According to an analysis by ACI Worldwide the increase in eCommerce transaction volume reflects a full month of wide-ranging restrictions on in-store retail activity. 

Last week Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel lifted the eCommerce ban which now allows South Africans to shop any product online besides alcohol and cigarettes under lockdown alert level 4.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, eCommerce contributed 1.4% of national retail sales, according to the Online Retail in South Africa 2019 study conducted by World Wide Worx.

A South African courier company’s Chief Customer Officer Hilton Eachus, says they are ready for a “tsunami” of customers shopping online because it is a necessity to stay home and, for many, work from home.

Eachus from DPD Laser says, “we bring the goods to you, and we’ll do it safely through our new contactless delivery process. We are expecting massive volumes from the major etailers that we service, but also the smaller shops who have been working hard to bring their business online”.

CEO of the South African Express Parcel Association Garry Marshall said that lockdown cut around 30% of deliveries. However since Level 4 Marshall says that there has been a dynamic shift. 

“The extension of commodities into permitted products now allows logistics companies to transport both the inputs and outputs for manufacturing organisations. We have now managed to get back to about 70% of capacity. But service and safety are essential.”


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