E-commerce and e-tailer companies welcome lifting of e-commerce restrictions
DURBAN – The decision to lift the Covid-19 lockdown e-commerce restrictions has been welcomed e-tailer and e-commerce companies.
While some e-commerce companies were able to operate during the lockdown through the sale of essential items other companies had to shut down their operatiosn completely.
Business Report spoke with two e-commerce companies and an e-tailer company about the lifting of e-commerce restrictions:
"We are delighted with the lifting of restrictions. This means that we can now deliver a wide range of products to our customers' front door, giving them extensive products to choose from. This means that we can support our suppliers so that they can get trading again, the courier companies and of course our own employees," said Laurian Venter, director at OneDayOnly.co.za.
The e-tailer said that there are some challenges as not all suppliers will be able to open up immediately, so not all items will be able to be delivered straight away. Any deal available for delivery under the new regulations will be clearly marked with a DELIVERABLE sticker on site over the next while. Although purchases any deal without this sticker can still take place, but will only be delivered these once suppliers have been able to open
A substantial portion of our supplier pool is made up of small local businesses. As a local startup ourselves, OneDayOnly has always been supportive of small businesses and appreciated the bespoke offerings they bring to our site.
Venter said, "In addition to the continuation of dealing with these smaller businesses, we've also partnered with 2 charity drives, allowing our customers the opportunity to help those affected by the pandemic. We're delighted to say that over R600,000 has been raised by our generous customers".
All essential staff in the warehouses have been provided with masks, face shields and sanitiser at each station. They are all temperature checked before entering the warehouse, and then checked again throughout the day. Social distancing is implemented at all times. Once the parcels are packed, they are transferred over to the couriers, who are doing contactless deliveries.
The lifting of restrictions means that Loot is now able provide South Africans with all the good and services they will need in the coming months. Loot now has an opportunity to engage with new markets who previously never shopped online, such as the elderly. Further to this Loot has over 13 different payment options making it very accessible to all South Africans.
During the lockdown, Loot launched an Essentials Shop selling essential items and according the company, the response has been phenomenal.
The company said that customers were happy to be able to shop in a safe environment and get all the items they have wanted or needed for the last few weeks delivered to their door. The popular items on the Essentials Shop sight were PPE supplies such as masks and gloves as well as ink cartridges, printers and baby goods. Items for the home office and home school were and still were also top sellers.
Loot has a large marketplace listing 100s of small South African businesses and through the Loot online platform many small South African businesses were able to operate during lockdown, without the marketplace they would not be able to trade at all.
All of Loot's delivery partners are practising the strict social and personal hygiene as recommended by the WHO. Further, contactless delivery has been taking place by not requiring signatures and placing parcels outside the gate or at the location the customer requests.
According to the company due to the lockdown, they had to act fast to close many categories in terms of not allowing delivery. Loot had to make quick changes to its backend and programs and as a team they have had to learn how to work remotely and still be a cohesive group.
Lifting the restrictions will allow most merchants to start shipping goods with their couriers of choice. Many small businesses and individuals have adapted and started selling new products during this time (such as fabric masks).
"We hope that they will continue to use the platform and grow their businesses," said bidorbuy Chief Executive Craig Lubbe.
On the imapct of the lockdown, Lubbe said, "We saw a 40 percent reduction in product listings on the platform. This was largely due to the fact that many of the merchants on the platform were not able to operate under the restrictions that were in place. The lockdown had a sudden and severe impact on revenue. During this time, though, we saw shift to many digital products, personal health and protective products".
All bidorbuy couriers operating during this period are required to follow strict protocols when conducting deliveries.
"We are aware that the courier partners we interact with have exceeded these minimum-requirements. bidorbuy has provided guidance in line with the regulations that are in place to all our merchants selling on the platform. We have also made available, links to official resources to assist sellers on the platform to stay up-to-date and remain compliant with our lockdown regulations," concluded Lubbe.