By Tullah Stephen
E-commerce has revolutionised how people do business in the last decade.
However, retailers are now going back to basics in the hopes of turning around their online businesses profitable. Retailers are now setting up pick-up points to capitalise on shoppers’ increasing demand for ‘click and collect’ options for their buys. ‘Click and collect’ is a concept where buyers prefer to order an item online, then go to a physical location to collect it, sample it, keep it or return it on the spot.
Delivery of products in e-commerce is still the greatest concern in e-commerce process. Most online buyers are still worried about having secure payments, additional costs for buyers and sellers, as well as delivery times which most times are not met due to lacking infrastructure. “Today, offline pickups account for 35 per cent of all Jumia orders which is a significant part of the business that also employs hundreds of talent,” says Sam Chappatte, Jumia Kenya’s managing director.
Consumers, explains Mr Chappatte, do not want to wait in or miss out on a delivery because they were out of reach or too busy, they want to pick the item at their own time within the specified duration. “A buyer who has a number of errands to run in town or leaving for home from the office will prefer to order food online so they find it ready and just collect it from their most convenient restaurant, chances are, they will buy more stuff at the restaurant.”
Chappatte adds that pick up fees most of the times, are reasonably lower than those of the actual delivery since bulk order fulfillment and dispatch is easier thus satisfying the customer’s need for urgency. Click and Connect is very popular within other markets such as UK. Analysts say the concept has the potential to become popular in Kenya where e-commerce has experienced growth over the last decade.
While some E-players in Kenya rely on their vendors to make the ‘click and collect’ model work, others have partnered with a third party. Jumia, one of the largest e-commerce sites in Kenya, last year signed a deal with courier companies; Posta Kenya, Aramex and G4S to use their centers as offline pick-up points. The company currently boasts of close to 90 such centers nationwide.