Internet retailing in Kenya is taking an interesting turn, customers now increasingly prefer to order an item online, collect it offline, sample it, keep it or return it on the spot.
The courier industry, with a 30 percent upsurge in e-commerce shipments early this year as confirmed by industry players is arguably the biggest but not the lone beneficiary. Duncan Muchangi, MD Jumia Food, an online food ordering and delivery portal that recently re-branded its name from Hellofood offers more insight.
“A customer who has several errands to run in town or one 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.”
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, arguably the pioneer of the service signed a deal with courier companies; Posta Kenya, Aramex and G4S to use their centers as offline pick-up points in 2015, a year later, the company boasts close to 90 such centers nationwide.
Sam Chappatte, Jumia Kenya’s new MD said, “Today, offline pick ups account for 35% of all Jumia orders which is a significant part of the business that also employs hundreds of talent.”
On why customers prefer to click and collect, Sam offers a few leads. Sometimes, consumers don’t 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.
“Another advantage is that pick up fees 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.” adds Sam.
Other than Jumia, OLX also signed a partnership with G4S that will see sellers on the platform deliver shipments and agricultural products to the nearest G4S collection center for dispatch to the buyers within the country.
Geoffrey Mwove, Director of Courier at G4S notes, “For Jumia, customers only need to receive a confirmation text then show up with the order number while OLX buyers need to present a secret code sent to them by the seller to collect the item.”
“The queue is growing longer everyday and as other players join in, it could grow longer than that of walk-in customers,” added Mwowe.