Shop while you commute: How to take your weekly supermarket run online

Cape Town, – Roughly 60% of South African households make use of taxis as their main mode of transport to work, school or for shopping and recreational purposes.


That translates to about 36-million people, a staggering number in anyone’s book.


In a country where many people have to get by on minimum wage, it can be a costly business. Sometimes the daily taxi commute to and from work can eat up some 26% of gross earnings, putting immense pressure on households to cover their expenses.


Thankfully the growth of e-commerce is making life much easier for the lower income groups, particularly township residents.


The 2022 South African Township Customer Experience Report found that online purchasing had spiked considerably in the country’s townships, from 28% of respondents in 2021 to 70% last year.


While a few issues remain, such as the danger of delivery vehicles being robbed of stock or people not having trust in online processes, township residents have recognised that they can save a lot of money, especially when it comes to public transport.


Where before they might have had to make a special trip to buy a particular item, thereby incurring more costs, they can now order an item online and have it delivered.


But it goes even further thanks to the click & collect model, which is revolutionising online retail to the benefit of both consumers and businesses.


Click & collect enables consumers to buy online then collect at a store of their choice, rather than having their items delivered.


In other words, picking up the order can be done while on a normal grocery run.


Even better is that shoppers can choose the time that suits them to make the collection – it literally means you can order in one area and pick up in another.


In South Africa, Pargo is a smart logistics platform that simplifies online delivery through its tech-enabled network of Pargo access points, to serve as an official pickup point.


There are more than 3,500 Pargo Pickup Points around the country, many of which are located at major retailers and, according to the company’s CEO, Lars Veul,  this delivery method is particularly popular among the many South Africans who live in areas where they might not have convenient access to home delivery.


Veul is acutely aware of the price challenges faced by commuters using taxis and other modes of public transport like trains and buses, which is why he is so pleased click & collect is able to help save money in other ways too.


“Last-mile delivery is the most expensive aspect on the supply chain journey. If there is higher demand, it means that better infrastructure is needed to handle the orders, and of course this is expensive. So what happens? The extra cost is passed onto the consumer, who is already struggling with high fares for taxis or trains.


“But click & collect helps reduce these costs by making consolidated deliveries to our thousands of pickup points around the country. Because retailers are now saving money, it means shoppers will as well.”


Luvuyo Rani, co-founder and CEO of township technology services provider Silulo Ulutho Technologies, which serves as a Pargo Pickup Point, has seen growth in the number of parcels being picked up at its branches. This is yet another indication of  e-commerce making headway in these areas.


“The Pargo service means people can collect their parcels within walking distance, which is a huge benefit,” he says.