By Dela Wordsmith

While traditional retailers are flocking online, entrepreneurs are making their business start through e-Commerce ventures. As an industry that was already on a growth trajectory, digital platforms provider, Ocean on 76 Group, says that post-COVID trends are predicting a sharp incline in e-Commerce-related businesses.

Prins Mhlanga, CEO, Ocean on 76 Group says: “e-Commerce has become more of an essential service than ever before since lockdown regulations were eased for the sector. Through our courier aggregator business, Rush, we are seeing the uptake, evolution and most importantly, the need for flexible and convenient courier services.”

Mike Farquharson, Managing Director of Rush Couriers says that fuelling this growth is the surge of new e-Commerce stores and emerging SME players: “Those companies adopting a digital-first strategy are on the rise while existing businesses are pivoting to sell more relevant products to stimulate sales.”

Rush is a uniquely positioned online courier aggregation platform that can seamlessly meet the evolving delivery requirements of smaller businesses, according to Farquharson. Its well-developed technology platform requires no paperwork or agreements to open an account and allows a new user to register and start shipping in under five minutes: “Being an online courier aggregation platform means that we are able to negotiate bulk rates with many of the established courier companies.

This is of major benefit to smaller businesses or online stores, who have little bargaining power with couriers due to their relatively low individual volumes. The prepaid option offered by Rush means that credit checks and accounts are no longer needed. The courier companies benefit from the consolidated bulk orders received via a single source, received with little credit risk.

While online sales are only 1.4% of traditional retail spend, Farquharson says the sector has seen year-on-year growth of 24% in e-Commerce sales: “We believe that the growth in e-Commerce will continue for some time as online stores become cheaper and easier to build.”

He says that Rush has an exciting roadmap including the launch of a range of plugin stores: “To assist in making the delivery process more successful, we believe that full automation of the fulfilment and delivery process for store owners is essential. We are currently in a development phase and look forward to offering another unique offering to the market,” says Farquharson.

Technology is undoubtedly levelling this playing field and allowing small or niche online businesses to compete on a more even footing. Farquharson says that a service like Rush’s enables them to offer the efficient delivery of goods, while new payment systems will allow them to trade efficiently and securely. The rollout of 5G technology will also play its part in giving this sector the much-needed boost it needs after lockdown.”

“We continue to invest in our robust ecosystem to offer smaller retailers the support they need for both orders and deliveries. Reducing the friction for many small online stores that benefit from a simple, seamless courier service is our primary objective. Anyone can now easily send a parcel anywhere in the country, with the app suggesting the lowest cost options,” says Farquharson.

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