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OneDayOnly expands warehouses, jobs as e-commerce booms

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Online sale
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Local e-commerce platform OneDayOnly has expanded its warehouses and increased the number of employees, as it witnesses brisk business as a result of the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

This is according to OneDayOnly spokesperson Matthew Leighton, in an e-mail interview with ITWeb.

Leighton notes the e-commerce platform has seen a 67% growth year-on-year, with staff members up by 30% in 2020.

“Most people changed their shopping behaviour due to COVID-19 – being forced to look at online shopping platforms as alternative options to going into the brick-and-mortar stores,” he says.

“OneDayOnly has increased by 30% in staff since the beginning of lockdown, a direct result of the increase in online shopping. Not only did staff increase in terms of headcount, but we significantly increased both our Cape Town and Joburg warehouses to accommodate the influx brought on in early to mid-2020.”

Online stores in South Africa are experiencing a big increase in sales as consumers avoid physical stores and problems related to panic buying.

According to a recent report by Mastercard, SA’s e-commerce industry is growing, as only 24% of local online spend was on foreign shopping sites, down from 27% in 2019 and 33% in 2012.

“As people were forced to stay at home, and to some degree, are still being encouraged to stay home and safe, a significant number of daily activities moved online,” says Laurian Venter, director of OneDayOnly.

“At face value, this could be seen as the ultimate juncture for the e-tail industry, but with this massive increase in online trading activity also comes a certain amount of responsibility. The company managed to employ more people – both within the Johannesburg and Cape Town warehouses which we were forced to expand, as well as from a head office perspective.

“This prospect was a really humbling one for us as we were hopefully able to make a small difference in a world that is plagued by devastating unemployment levels,” says Venter.

To cope with the increased transactions on the site, Leighton adds: “As we wipe our site clean every night and load between 250 and 300 new deals for the next day, we have a team that are ‘always on’ from an IT perspective, so are able to consistently monitor and optimise our systems and the platforms we use.

“With e-commerce growing at a steady rate in SA pre-COVID, we always build our systems to scale, so the lockdown-induced increase in sales mostly meant just doing this at a quicker speed.”

To support small local businesses, OneDayOnly has prioritised local suppliers on its site as “we understand how their businesses may have been affected by the lockdown”, Leighton notes.

Moving into 2021, however, Venter points out that the idea of the “new norm” is now a way of life and requires dedicated focus. “Innovation and agility will be the 2021 buzzwords,” she says. “And supporting local suppliers and manufacturers will form a necessary part of this approach so that the limited funds that are being spent, stay within South Africa’s borders.”

According to Venter, an opportunity also exists for e-tailers to leverage consumers’ need for convenience. “The industry needs to better understand consumers’ perception of their brand to create ways of exploring non-traditional and underutilised ways to speak to these consumers in an online environment.”

She adds that apps have offered a great way to be able to do this. In South Africa alone, mobile app downloads increased from 30% in Q1 to 35% by Q4, which is a growth of 2.8 million people, Venter notes.

“We saw a significant spike in our app downloads, with 180 000 mobile installations in just two months; however, constant innovation and development, both from a platform and marketing perspective, is required for us to be at the top of our game.”

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