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Recalibrating order fulfilment systems for click-and-collect:

Where and what to address and strengthen

Cape Town 13 April 2023 – It has become imperative for retail brands to innovate if they are to overcome South Africa’s current and legacy challenges.

As much as more people are buying goods online, difficulties persist in delivering to hard-to-reach areas or those where services are poor. This can present a significant problem as greater numbers of South Africans move to outlying towns with the rising cost of living.

Innovations like the click & collect model, which allows customers to buy online and collect goods from a pickup point of their choice at a time that is convenient to them, are playing a big role in addressing these concerns.

“Click and collect services offer an opportunity to reach all South Africans no matter where they live or where they spend their time. Shoppers can order online and send parcels to any location in the country, safely, conveniently and affordably,” says Pargo Product Marketing Manager Shaunei Gerber.

However, she adds it is important for retail managers to understand that implementing click & collect delivery in South Africa requires careful planning and execution, and several steps should be taken to provide customers with a convenient and seamless shopping experience. These include:

  • Evaluating current logistics infrastructure: Retailers need to evaluate their current inventory management, warehouse and delivery systems to ensure they are capable of handling the added volume of orders and pickup.
  • Choosing a suitable location:Click & collect should be easily accessible, have ample parking space and be in a safe and convenient area. Plugging into an established network of access points with partners like Pargo can put retailers at an immediate advantage.
  • Establish a system for order placement: This could be through the website or mobile app, or even via a phone call to the customer service team. Aside from e-commerce traders, manual sellers, social sellers and the like should also be able to manually process orders and benefit from the service.
  • Develop a process for order fulfilment: Once orders are received, there needs to be a process in place for fulfilling them. This may involve picking items from the warehouse, packaging and ensuring they are ready for pickup at the scheduled time.
  • Train staff for the new process:Staff will need to be trained to ensure they understand the process and can provide customers with excellence service.
  • Communicate with customers: Make sure customers are informed of the service and understand how it works.
  • Test and refine the process: Monitor the service closely to identify any issues and refine the process.

Gerber says adding click & collect to a checkout menu should be simple but there are some infrastructure boxes to tick.

A point of sale system, for example, needs to be able to handle orders placed online as well as in-store sales while an effective inventory management system should track inventory levels in real-time and provide accurate information on product availability to customers.

Establishing a dedicated pickup location which may require additional space and equipment, such as shelving, storage bins and barcode scanners, is another factor that needs to be considered.

 “The timeline for implementing these infrastructure changes really depends on the scope of the changes and the availability of resources,” Gerber says.

Small and medium businesses can sign up with Pargo in three minutes or less and access plugins that can be easily installed. The timeline for larger businesses that are expanding warehouse space or establishing new collection locations may be a few weeks, months, a year or more.

Measuring the effectiveness of a click & collect service is crucial for retailers to understand whether the service is meeting customer needs and contributing to business growth, Gerber concludes. “This requires gathering feedback from customers, tracking collection time and accuracy, monitoring order volume and sales data, and calculating ROI.”

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About Pargo

Pargo is a Cape Town-based tech company that solves the challenges of last-mile logistics through its smart logistics platform and fulfilment solutions, which are anchored by a vast, nationwide network of thousands of Pargo Pickup Points. Pioneering Click & Collect back in 2015, Pargo continues to develop their technology and processes to make fulfilment solutions fit for the African logistics landscape, including Home Delivery, Returns and micro-warehousing. Clients that use their tech include Edgars, rain, TFG, Cape Union Mart, Clicks and HomeChoice.

Lars Veul is the CEO and co-founder of Pargo, a smart logistics platform that simplifies online delivery through its tech-enabled network of Pargo access points. Prior to starting Pargo, Lars was part of the founding team at Groupon, where he headed up the online marketplace, which exposed him to the challenges of online delivery. He is also an Alibaba eFounders fellow and is part of Endeavor.

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