Essential services businesses like grocery stores and veterinary practices can look to Bolt Business Delivery, now launched by the ride-hailing service in South Africa, to help them fulfil orders within the confines of the South African government’s lockdown regulations.

Bolt’s ride-hailing services are authorised by the regulations to operate between 5h00 and 9h00, and 16h00 and 20h00 each day. The service connects business with drivers on the Bolt platform during these hours so that essential services businesses can deliver to South African residents unable to leave home.

“Bolt has been working around the clock to provide innovative solutions to assist South African businesses and our micro-economy workforce to continue generating revenue safely during the lockdown,” says Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt in South Africa. “Being agile and identifying ways that businesses can work together is key to our economy’s survival through this crisis.”

Because Bolt operates in more than 30 cities across South Africa, essential services businesses in areas outside urban centres can now offer delivery services to their customers, helping more people who are confined to their homes, and giving these businesses the opportunity to reach a wider customer base.

“We have launched Bolt Business Delivery with two key goals in mind: to make sure that drivers on the Bolt platform can continue to earn a living safely, and to help businesses selling the essential products defined by the lockdown regulations to get orders to their customers quickly and safely,” explains Taylor.

Thanks to the on-demand nature of ride-hailing, deliveries made using Bolt Business Deliveries can happen within the hour and are not subject to some of the delays experienced by many online shopping platforms (as long as the business dispatches the order during the permitted times).

Bolt Business Delivery has a simple, easy-to-use web interface. Retailers can upload deliveries in batches, or they can enter them manually using a simple form. Orders can be set to be picked up immediately or scheduled to be collected within 48 hours.

When adding orders, vendors will receive a price estimate. Once they confirm request delivery, Bolt will dispatch a driver to collect the order at the specified time.

The real-time tracking features ensure that retailers and customers are fully updated on the progress of the order. Retailers will receive a live status update on the web app and the end-customer will get an SMS notification that their delivery is on the way, including the estimated time of arrival, and the courier’s contact details.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, contactless delivery is mandatory for all Bolt Business Delivery orders to help prevent the spread of the virus from person to person.