Saturday, May 21

Black Friday: Online Shoppers Urged to Shop Early To Beat Peak Holiday Demand


By all accounts, Black Friday is expected to return to near pre-pandemic levels this year. With South Africa moving to Level 1 Lockdown just as the run-up to the festive season begins, retailers are set for one of the most intense peak shopping periods in years. As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, it is critical for shoppers to make their purchases early this holiday season to avoid delays in delivery times and stock shortages.

With a renewed spirit of hope, South Africans will be champing at the bit to cash in on Black Friday deals, particularly with the festive season just around the corner. The boom in online retail sales, which grew by 60% on Black Friday 2020, despite the tough economic climate, is set to continue in 2021 even with physical stores expected to welcome throngs of customers.

online shopping

Of course, the great benefit of online shopping is convenience, yet such is the spike in orders on big shopping days that online retailers may find themselves under huge pressure to keep up with demand. One of the issues they experience is that large numbers of orders can create a backlog if door deliveries are not made on time. Naturally, this will upset customers and ultimately erode trust in sellers.

While local retailers will be doing their utmost to ensure convenient and on-time delivery on Black Friday purchases, shoppers can also do their bit to alleviate the pressure by doing their shopping earlier this year. Rather than wait until December to do your festive season shopping online, move your timeline forward and take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals by doing your festive gift shopping in November instead.

Want the scoop on the best Black Friday deals in South Africa? Sign up for PriceCheck’s Black Friday newsletter and get all the best discounts and deals sent straight to your inbox.

BLack Friday shopping

Also read: Black Friday: 5 Gadgets & Gizmos to Bag this Year

Shop early, for early delivery

Global shipping giant, FedEx Express has also urged South African shoppers to click and ship early this holiday season. “Our advice to consumers and to businesses is to get ready to click and ship early,” said Natasha Parmanand, FedEx Sub Sahara Africa managing director, Operations. “Each year we see increasing shipping volumes as peak season approaches, but this season will have unique challenges as South Africa reduces Covid-19 restrictions and there is increasing demand to deliver e-commerce purchases.”

The pandemic has seen consumers and businesses become more comfortable with online shopping, and this is likely to continue after the pandemic. During 2020, online retail in South Africa grew by 66%, and is now worth R30.2 billion1. South African e-commerce has almost doubled in value within the past two years and is expected to reach R42 billion by the end of 2021. Businesses are also increasingly moving towards online retail, and recent findings show that fashion and electronics are among the most popular online purchases.

online shopping

“E-commerce is growing in popularity, and businesses should plan how they will keep retail items in stock to meet demand,” said Parmanand. “Similarly, individuals should start shopping now and place their orders as early as possible to ensure there is stock available, and they can take delivery in time for the holidays.”

Consider click & collect

Another growing online shipping trend in South Africa is Click & Collect. Local businesses like Pargo, a smart last-mile logistics service for e-tailers, banks, telecommunications operators and others, offers what is termed Click & Collect. Many online retailers are now offering this method of delivery to customers, alongside traditional delivery methods.

Click & Collect is an alternative delivery method whereby online shopping is delivered to the customer’s choice of pickup point instead of a door-to-door delivery address. By the estimates of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the model generated a staggering £750-million (R15-billion) in sales during the UK’s Black Friday in 2020.

Pargo package delivery

Today, there are more than 3,000 Pargo Pickup Points at popular retail chains like Clicks, FreshStop at Caltex, Lewis stores and others nationwide, from major cities and business districts to rural areas and townships.

“Click & Collect allows for consolidated deliveries, which means couriers can do fewer stops on their delivery route, speeding up their delivery times. This results in faster and less costly deliveries,” explains Pargo CEO Lars Veul.

Pargo package delivery

 But, Click & Collect also meets another need. Many South Africans live in areas where they experience difficulty or expense in getting their orders delivered to their homes. On days like Black Friday, they have no choice but to visit physical stores and compete with hordes of shoppers to snag a deal. But, Click & Collect gives them an alternative with an easier way to have their goods delivered to a convenient location.

 “Through Click & Collect they can secure their Black Friday deals and pick up their shopping at a more convenient time,” explains Veul.

Pargo package delivery

 The value to sellers is also immense, especially since Click & Collect allows them to broaden their market reach through Pargo’s Pickup Points. This gives customers normally precluded from the convenience of online shopping and those who lead busy lifestyles access to the wealth of goods online.

 Another huge advantage is that Click & Collect produces about 68% fewer carbon emissions than home delivery, a study by Carbon Calculated and Pargo shows. This is because the delivery method normally only requires a single delivery attempt, rather than repeated attempts in cases where customers are not home to receive couriers. The ability to consolidate deliveries also further reduces the carbon footprint of Click & Collect.

Want the scoop on the best Black Friday deals in South Africa? Sign up for PriceCheck’s Black Friday newsletter and get all the best discounts and deals sent straight to your inbox.


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