With Black Friday upon us, how prepared are online retailers to deliver their goods and services?

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, our focus is on online retailers, the physical networks that need to be in place to fulfil orders and the work being done behind the scenes by web-hosting companies to keep websites running.

Listen to the discussion:

Shoppers queue for Black Friday bargains at the Pavilion, outside Durban. File picture: ROGAN WARD.
Shoppers queue for Black Friday bargains at the Pavilion, outside Durban. File picture: ROGAN WARD.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Sunday Times Business Times retail writer Ntando Thukwana to tackle the topic with the experts.

Ashley Arendse, human resources manager for Picup, a technology business offering crowd sourced last-mile delivery service for retailers, explains the idea for the business and the model used.

With its network of drivers, the business delivers for businesses such as UCOOK, SA’s largest online meal kit provider. That business has scaled from 24 meals in its first delivery five years ago, to thousands every week now, says Arendse, helped by Picup’s logistics network. In addition, Picup also delivers for stationer Waltons, among a number of other businesses.

The discussion then shifts to dealing with web traffic during large online sales. Craig Fester of 1-grid, a local web hosting platform, says they anticipate a large increase in traffic for the retailers hosting their website with them this weekend.

Given past trends, Fester says retailers may experience an increase in online traffic of up to 40% above normal trading days. He also highlights some of the ways in which shoppers can stay safe when transacting online given the rise in cyber attacks in the last few months.

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