The real reason for online delivery delays in South Africa

MyBroadband recently received several complaints from Loot customers regarding delayed deliveries and poor customer service.

One reader told MyBroadband they had submitted an order on 22 May and received their money back, rather than their order being delivered, a month later.

Another complained that their order, which was meant to be delivered by 11 June, had not been delivered as of 18 June.

A third user reported a different issue –  three items they had wanted to purchase were listed as available but turned out to be out of stock.

A look at the company’s HelloPeter page uncovers more complaints of delayed deliveries and poor service.

“My wife made her order on 26 May and we were told it would arrive on 12 June. However, our goods have not arrived,” one user said.

“They are not even responding to emails or phone or social media,” said another user. “I want to know when delivery is as I have been waiting for weeks now.”

Ecommerce transaction rates are peaking at higher levels than Black Friday, and many online retailers are seeing record sales during the lockdown period.

While this has resulted in increased revenue, it has also caused the delivery of products to be delayed for a number of customers.

Unavoidable delays

“We have been trying our best but due to unavoidable circumstances beyond our control, we have not been able to operate on the high level we normally base ourselves on,” Loot told MyBroadband.

It explained that the global pandemic has slowed its entire supply chain, and a massive spike in demand has resulted in these delays.

“Since the full release of ecommerce, towards the back end of May, we have seen revenues increase by over 70%,” Loot said. “We are seeing sales levels higher than Black Friday and the festive period.”

Loot added that as a result of the surge in sales, suppliers and marketplace sellers have been unable to provide stock within the agreed time periods.

It said that while this is frustrating, it understands these entities are also experiencing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are trying our best to source alternative products and liaise with customers; however, very often we are communicating in the dark, as not even the suppliers could plan for this surge,” Loot said.

Additionally, Loot said its inbound freight partners have not been able to leverage commercial flights because most borders have been closed, and commercial flights cancelled.

“We have been very frustrated when we know there are hundreds of our shipments sitting in a customs department and no access for days, sometimes weeks,” said Loot.

“At that stage, how do we give our customers an update of their products and their estimated date of delivery?”

Loot added that international suppliers have also suffered issues with the COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries.

Telephone lines shut down

Loot also said that it has shut down its phone lines.

“In order to help with the backlog and increasing demands, we have closed our telephone lines to help clear the backlog of emails and social media inquiries,” said Loot.

It also confirmed that all items that are listed as “in stock” on its website are stored in its warehouses.

“There are occasions when an item may be in stock, but in the Midrand warehouse, while the customer is in CPT,” said Loot.

“This will require transfer before being shipped. ”

Loot said that it has been operating on a mixture of skeleton staff and new staff members because it has had to manage COVID-19 outbreaks within the company.

It said that the situation was the same across the industry, and it was having a severe impact on deliveries across the country.

“We, like every other online retailer, are in a perfect storm, sales are surging beyond our wildest dreams, and not all the moving pieces are at our control,” Loot said.

Takealot delays

Several MyBroadband readers and HelloPeter users have also claimed that their Takealot deliveries have been delayed for as long as a month.

Customers also complained they were unable to contact Takealot through its customer service platforms.

This is reportedly because Takealot’s distribution centres have also been overwhelmed due to increased demand for ecommerce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An anonymous source told MyBroadband that third-party sellers are being held responsible for capacity problems at Takealot’s warehouses.

The source claimed that many of these sellers face their products being delisted and possibly being removed from the platform entirely.

Taekalot has declined to comment on the topic.

Now read: The truth behind big delivery delays at Takealot

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The real reason for online delivery delays in South Africa