Business101: Adopting e-commerce and delivery into your business
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has opened up more economic activity in the country with Level 4 of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic lockdown.
Struggling businesses such as restaurants will now be permitted to resume food delivery services within the restrictions.
While the lockdown will continue to be lifted gradually over time, the need for maintaining social distancing is likely to persist – making tools such as e-commerce and delivery services seemingly critical for such businesses.
Supermarkets have upped the ante in the delivery of services – almost overnight – and clothing retailers such as Plus-Fab have swiftly diversified to include the sale of fabric face masks online.
Others, like the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® emerging business awardee – Bathu Swag, have opted to keep their online shops open with the promise to deliver as soon as restrictions allow.
For businesses that are yet to make the move, here are a few considerations to adopt e-commerce and delivery services into your offering:
Figure out where you fit. Ask whether your business offering falls into any of those sectors that are allowed to operate in Level 4. For example, if you sell winter items like clothing, bedding and heaters, going the e-commerce route could be a good way to reach your customers in the safety of their own homes. Diligence Online sales may not be appropriate for every business as setting up and maintaining an e-commerce website can be costly. The rewards need to be worth the effort.
Before going e-commerce, scrutinise the current market and do a competition analysis. Options Consider using existing and affordable options like Instagram Shopping.
Open yourself to telephone or email orders and EFT payment. This would mean no complicated website functionality is necessary, and you will only need to focus on the delivery part.
Logistics Deliveries are no easy feat.
Locating the correct house can be time-consuming and frustrating with costs such as fuel involved. Consider partnering with an existing companies such as Mr D and negotiate a reasonable price so that customers are not put off. Regulations You will need to secure the relevant paperwork to operate and obtain permits for your staff to travel.
You will also need face masks, ensure social distancing – omitting signature on delivery, for example – and strict hygiene protocol for the preparation and delivery of certain products, such as food.
Bierman is the managing director at Business Partners Limited.