New partnership helps drive SAPO’s commitment to e-commerce customers

South Africa Post Office (SAPO) has created a new partnership with a United States-based online marketplace, Wish, to provide a faster, high-quality service to customers ordering products from the e-commerce site.

“The project ensures that SAPO remains relevant, active in the e-commerce space, and that our revenue increases,” said Sekano Kgalenyane, the head of Logistics for SAPO. “It also makes us more top-of-mind to the customer.”

SAPO approached Wish with the proposal to collaborate, Kgalenyane said, and negotiations led to the practical proposal that would provide good service levels.

The partnership with Wish was effective on May 9, 2021. It is the first partner of this nature for SAPO, Kgalenyane said, but its progress paves the way for other similar partnerships.

Key features of the Wish-SAPO collaboration, according to a press release, include an average of approximately 50 per cent faster transit times; end-to-end tracking visibility and delivery confirmation; bundled shipments for multiple items; and SMS and physical notifications when deliveries are ready for collection.

The collaboration has led to simpler and faster import, processing and customs clearance procedure for Wish.com items. This is because the items receive a South African tracking number at the point of posting, which facilitates tracking in the country.

When the acceptance scan at a branch is done, the customer automatically receives a message alerting him or her that the parcel is ready for collection.

“Wish.com has access to the entire process and can see exactly what the progress with processing each parcel is,” Kgalenyane said. “It keeps us on our toes!”

The evidence of the partnership’s success was highlighted in an article on the South African website Businesstech.co.za shortly after the SAPO-Wish collaboration launched.

The article discussed the website’s recent test of three online shopping sites and their delivery experience.

The testers placed an order from Wish on May 10 and received a delivery estimate of the end of August.

“The biggest surprise comes from Wish,” the article states. “Despite this long wait time, Wish sent an email notifying that the parcel had been delivered at the local post office on 26 May – just two weeks after it was initially ordered. … The impressive delivery from Wish is likely the result of a new deal that has been struck between Wish and the South African Post Office.”

Kgalenyane said customers have already noticed vastly improved delivery timelines and it has been a great morale booster for SAPO employees, as well.

“E-commerce is the future for postal services,” Kgalenyane said. “It’s great to be part of the worldwide wave of new business. Wish.com has been remarkably understanding and easy to work with. We are very thankful for the opportunity to bring items from all over the world to South Africans, even those in remote rural areas.”

This article first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Union Postale.

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