Unlike anything the world has seen before, the COVID-19 pandemic fuelled a sudden digital surge that catapulted both global and local eCommerce traffic to unprecedented levels. The closest comparable example – while on a much smaller geographical scale – would be the 2003 SARS crisis, which is today recognised as kickstarting Alibaba’s eCommerce success in Asia.
This is according to Matthew Leighton, spokesperson from OneDayOnly.co.za, who notes the accelerant role that COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown has played in boosting eCommerce uptake across South Africa.
“While eCommerce has been gaining gradual traction across the country over the past decade, there is no denying that COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for rapid progress in this regard. To put this level of growth into perspective, OneDayOnly is a 30-40% bigger company today than it was just four months ago.”
This rapid growth, however, has not been without its challenges, admits Leighton. “We’re the first to put our hands up and say that we’ve experienced some issues in scaling operations over such a short and unexpected period of time.”
“The net result is that a lot of customers have received service well below our standard levels, and for that, we offer our sincerest apologies. Although our couriers and suppliers have had issues with adjusting their business approaches too, the responsibility to our customers is ours in its entirety.”
Leighton says that dispatch at the time of eCommerce reopening proved challenging, with the backlog created over Levels 5 and 4. This, in turn, created a significant influx in customer queries, meaning OneDayOnly’s Customer Service department has struggled to respond to customers within their usual time frames.
“We are working round the clock to ensure normal service is resumed, and can only apologise profusely to any customer who has received less-than-excellent service from us.”
Leighton wants consumers to know that “we’ve learnt some valuable lessons that have helped evolve our business, and this will better position us for future shopping peaks such as Black Friday later this year.”
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