Ecommerce has been boosted in South Africa as many consumers have taken to doing their shopping online and adopted new trading habits. This trend has seen a rise in the use of delivery pick-up points, where consumers go to collect goods, rather than having them delivered directly to their homes.
Consumers are gravitating to this delivery method because they don’t need to make an appointment for a courier delivery and it does not require someone to be home when a package is delivered; they are free to pick up packages when it suits them.
The Covid-19 lockdown has made this service more popular. Fear of infection and the continuous need for social distancing has forced thousands of consumers to become online shoppers, subsequently boosting ecommerce.
In a September 2020 survey conducted by Mckinsey & Company, 68% of consumers who used a delivery pick-up point service for the first time during the lockdown say that they will continue using the ‘click-and-collect’ method. Sixty percent of consumers say that they are not yet resuming “normal” out-of-home activities, according to the same report.
Logistics company Pargo – which was launched in January 2015 – has over 2 500 collection points nationwide in collaboration with well-known retailers Clicks, Caltex and Waltons. Its rivals Takealot and Makro, have about 80 pickup points and over 200 lockers respectively across the country.
“By using our click-and-collect service they (consumers) can buy online and collect when it suits them best, on their way home after work for instance,” Pargo co-founder Derk Hoekert says on its website blog.
“We’ve experienced the exponential growth of ecommerce first-hand with a large 240% year on year increase in click-and-collect orders sent to our Pargo pickup points over the last two months,” adds co-founder at Pargo Lars Veul, in a February article on the website blog.
The agile logistics solution is also accommodative of those living both in the rural and urban areas and this is evident through their partnership with tertiary institutions like The University of Cape Town, The University of the Free State and Rhodes University, which aimed to combat challenges brought forth by online learning.
The migration of contact teaching to e-learning, meant that students living in undigitsed areas were at a disadvantage. However, Pargo enabled universities to quickly send study material to their students. The students can use the same channel to return assignments.
More than half of all of these e-learning orders were delivered to towns located in the outskirts of South Africa, including Giyani, Burgersfort and the farming town of Malelane.
Regarding Pargo’s plans for 2021 and the future of click-and-collect, Lars Veul says that it envisions “a time where there will be a pickup point within 10 minutes reach of every African”.