The unique demands of the South African online shopping context require innovative thinking around delivery and returns, which is why the eCommerce team at The Foschini Group (TFG) has introduced third party collection points and is considering the use of drones, in the future.
Few South Africans are at home during standard delivery times to accept their parcels and the country also has a high level of informal housing, with no formal street addresses for delivery. To overcome these barriers to online shopping, TFG has implemented the Pargo solution, where customers can collect deliveries at a convenient pick up point close to home.
Pargo can be selected as a delivery option at checkout at no additional cost if the total basket is R500 or more, with an integrated map allowing shoppers to select the most convenient pick up location for their parcel. Once the parcel arrives at the collection point, a text message is sent to the shopper stating their parcel is ready for collection.
“It is essential that we adapt global standards of best practice to suit the South African market and socio-economic conditions,” says Robyn Cooke, head of eCommerce at TFG. “This is why we are also looking at innovative ‘Deliver to Me’ options, leveraging geo-location services like Uber does, to avoid the need for specific street addresses.”
Drone delivery is another innovation headed to South Africa. “We believe it will happen at some point in South Africa. It’s going to take a while to iron out the legalities, and will be driven by emergency medical requirements and the like. But it will happen at some stage in the next five years for smaller, easily transportable items,” says Cooke.
TFG is also going to introduce “timed” deliveries within the year, where shoppers get to specify the time they want their delivery to be made.
“Globally, deliveries and returns are optimised around customer convenience and preference and I see no reason why the same can’t transform the South African environment,” says Cooke. “Online shopping should be moulded to suit customers’ lives, not the other way around.”