On the parking lot outside Africa Internet Express (AIX) warehouse in Nairobi’s Baba Ndogo estate, close to twenty semi-trailer trucks, a hundred motorcycles decorated with logos of different companies providing courier services wait to be loaded with packages for delivery across the country. The customers shopped online.
Africa Internet Express (AIX) saw the blessings of e-commerce in Kenya and moved fast to incorporate established and growing logistics providers into a single network to provide a constant stream of business through the consolidation of sales volumes from two e-commerce marketplaces; Jumia and Kaymu and meet the exponential needs of online shoppers and sellers.
Jonathan Parisot, MD Africa Internet Express (AIX) Kenya said, “Every day we process thousands of orders from Jumia and Kaymu customers for delivery across the country within a specified timeline. Customers want delivery made fast and cheap. That efficiency is what our platform is built on and with e-commerce growing fast, it’s going to be one big party for logistics/courier companies that match up.”
AIX Express is also the vehicle Jumia rode in to partner with courier service companies such as Aramex, Posta Kenya and G4S to establish offline pick-up points that would allow customers to shop online and pick up the item from an office near them.
Pulling a similar stunt and in a move to bolster online user safety and ease delivery of goods, OLX signed a partnership with G4S mid this month that will see sellers on the platform deliver shipments to the nearest G4S collection centre for dispatch to the buyers within Nairobi region. This brings to four the number of e-commerce retailers G4S has signed a similar deal, others include Kilimall and Melimu.
Geoffrey Mwove, Chairman Courier industry association and the Director of courier at G4S Kenya said, “We have had a 30% upsurge of courier shipments driven by booming e-Commerce trade. The last half of 2015 as confirmed from industry players data, we saw a reduced traffic due to slow down in government related procurement this was however compensated by e-commerce transactions.”
Leading the pack among online food retailers in Kenya is Hellofood a platform that lists hundreds of restaurants across Nairobi and Mombasa on which you can order for food from your favourite restaurant and have it delivered to your office or home across the two cities within an hour where you pay on delivery.
To ensure efficiency, Hellofood outsources the services of maduka a local courier service while restaurants selling on its platform such as Debonairs, Artcaffe and Thai village among others deliver through an in-house courier company.
Duncan Muchangi, MD Hellofood Kenya notes, “Food delivery service is on demand driven by a young middleclass generation with tight work schedules that prefers to have their meals delivered to them, if you deliver on time, they will buy from you again. It’s a delicate balance for any efficient logistics company. If you get it right, you win.”
According to Mwove, most courier companies have identified e-commerce as a high potential growth driver and are aligning to grow their retail outlets by training personnel, interfacing technology and fleet to deliver in agility and reliability at the lowest price possible. The party is about to begin, but is the setup complete?