South Africans take to online delivery service
South Africa’s unreliable, slow and theft-prone postal service has provided an opportunity to a company that enables South Africans to buy products from stores located almost anywhere in the world.
American and European online stores have refused to sell products to people based in South Africa in recent years because their goods have not reached the shoppers and they have therefore suffered losses.
International express, parcel delivery and logistics services company Aramex recently launched its Aramex Global Shopper (AGS) offering.
This offering is expected to achieve 57% growth in sales in 2017, according to Mark Mahoney, manager of eCommerce Services.
The exponential growth of the AGS online shopping delivery service mirrors the rise of cross-border online shopping in South Africa, driven predominantly by people’s desire for specialised products only available overseas, said Mahoney.
"In the past, the international retailer’s inability to ship to South Africa or to ship for exorbitant prices was a deal breaker. Our model eliminates this concern and makes shipping a faster, more affordable option," he said.
Customers buy goods online through AGS. The goods are then sent to a an address in the US or UK and then they are express couriered to the customer wherever they may reside.
Mahoney said AGS effectively turns people into global citizens by providing lifetime members with 22 personalised local addresses worldwide.
When shopping cross-border, a member inputs the nearest AGS local address for delivery. The package is delivered to the address then costed for shipping according to its actual and not volumetric weight.
It is then shipped, and the member is charged for any customs duties as well as the shipping fee once it lands in South Africa. After payment is made, it gets delivered to the member’s door, all within the space of five to 10 working days.
Some of the most popular online categories for global cross-border shoppers are clothing and apparel with 46% of sales, consumer electronics accounting for 24%, digital entertainment and education devices which are also 24% of sales, toys and hobbies which make up 23% and cosmetics which account for 20%, according to a PayPal report.
The PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2016 Global Summary Report, said China, the UK and US are the most popular cross-border shopping locations.
Mahoney said South Africans exhibited similar buying choices but he warned about shipping clothing due to high duty and VAT costs.