Shipping and Delivery Options for eCommerce Stores in South Africa
Why is shipping and delivery so important?
Delivery is a core part of the online shopping process and one of the most sensitive because of all the moving parts. With everything considered, the company who delivers your parcel is a part of your business and they represent you on the last mile. It’s crucial to find a courier or delivery partner who works as an ambassador for your brand.
Other countries have a functional postal service which helps to keep delivery costs down and is a really reliable option. Unfortunately, at the moment, that isn’t the case in SA where our post office can’t be considered a realistic option for domestic deliveries.
Then we get international shipping, which incurs quite a bit more admin to get set up for import and export licences, etc but more and more companies are going this route because the world is at our fingertips and it’s becoming more and more imperative to have an international shipping option. Importing and exporting into and out of SA is notoriously expensive. One of the more affordable international delivery options is actually via the Post office, called EMS. It’s an internationally recognised service which offers tracking on all parcels, and it works between post offices around the world. It takes between 2-3 weeks to deliver smaller parcels and is slightly more expensive than registered mail. The difference is that it’s internationally recognised and because of the tracking means that the post office here in SA doesn’t waste time getting the parcel out.
There are a number of eCommerce solutions available around SA for merchants, depending on the business model. Some companies ship from their home, others ship from a warehouse, others ship direct from suppliers to customers. There are many ways to skin the delivery cat. All things considered, your fulfilment process should be super slick in order to save you time wherever possible. Here are some of the better eCommerce solutions, although there are many more so do your research:
- uAfrica.com which integrates into your e-commerce store (if you’re on WooCommerce or Shopify) and streamlines the processes around fulfilling orders. A lot of the usual manual processes have been automated eg waybills being printed instead of hand-written. Tracking is available to your customer which provides peace of mind and you have instant access to multiple South African couriers from the date you sign up, instead of needing a contract directly with one courier.
- Scrubbill.com is similar to uAfrica but includes address validation and gives you the ability to work directly with a chosen courier with preferential rates from the beginning.
- Atrax Logistics offers a lot of things to eCommerce businesses. They have national and international fulfillment services, they offer warehousing, a picking & packing service, help with import and export elements and they also integrate into eCommerce stores which they do on a case by case basis. So it’s really an one-stop-shop approach and they’re doing it very well where they’ve approached it from an eCommerce point of view instead of a logistics point of view.
If you'd like more information or assistance to set up shipping on your eCommerce store, get in touch with Jenn on 074 674 3194 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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