Choosing the right delivery partner for your e-commerce offering

Seamlessly integrating is the golden nugget, amongst several other factors worth considering

Choosing the right delivery partner for your e-commerce offering
Choosing the right delivery partner for your e-commerce offering. Morne Barnardt photography

Cape Town, Keeping customers happy in the online retail space requires e-commerce businesses to be at the top of their game.

Where traditionally a customer would visit a physical store, buy an item, and hopefully go away feeling satisfied with their purchase, online retailers not only have to ensure their goods are of high quality, but also that purchases reach their destination as favourably as possible.

With so many more South Africans buying online— World Wide Worx reported a 66% growth in the e-commerce sales space between 2018 and 2022— the focus has shifted to shopping convenience as people make their purchases at home, the office or even while they’re on holiday in a different part of the country.

What it means is that e-commerce offerings must have the right delivery and courier partners in place if they want to meet consumer expectation

Some people want their items delivered at home, while others may prefer to get them from a designated pickup point, as per the highly effective Click & Collect model, but whatever the case, for online businesses to succeed it’s crucial they’re able to rely on partners who can get the job done. Furthermore, research shows that one of the first things online shoppers check when buying online is the returns policy.

These are some key points to consider when choosing a partner:

Seamless integration of technology

“South African retailers like Cape Union Mart, TFG, Clicks, and OneDayOnly all offer a variety of delivery options to accommodate a variety of customers with different needs,” says Lars Veul, co-founder and CEO of Pargo, a smart logistics platform that simplifies online delivery through its tech-enabled network of Pargo access points.

“They‘re proving effective because they have integrated their systems with their delivery partners so seamlessly.”

Pargo has a big engineering and implementation team that helps businesses get their orders across the country in no time. It offers a host of integration methods through plugins, like Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento, APIs and even manual processing on myPargo for customers who do not have access to development resources.

“All integration options give customers access to the same last-mile delivery suite. The integration choice is dependent on the technology used by the customer’s website,” says Veul.

Exceptional returns solution

Customers look out for a returns policy when shopping online. This is traditionally a very cumbersome and manual experience for retailers who need to arrange collections directly with couriers. As such, courier partners need to offer a complete ecosystem of last-mile solutions, including returns. If the returns solution is customer-centric and simple to complete, it will help retailers retain consumers.

Courier tracking

This is huge. Knowing exactly where your parcel is so you can relay this information to customers creates a trusting relationship that enhances a business’s reputation. There’s nothing worse than a customer having to repeatedly call in to check where their item is.

Study that track record

The known courier companies have stayed the journey because they’ve built a reputation for being reliable. But even the top companies have their weaknesses, so it’s important that businesses do their homework.

Partnering with an unreliable, tardy courier company can cost you a lot of money, but even worse, lose you customers. It’s no secret that online shoppers can quickly become unforgiving.

Protect it with your life

All manner of items are ordered online these days, many of them fragile. That means parcels need to be packaged properly and safely. If the item needs extra cushioning, the courier needs to go that extra mile.

Importantly, you need to ensure that your delivery partner offers packaging that is backed by studies and is also presentable. After all, the packaging represents your brand.