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Etailers happy with lift on alcohol ban, but clarity on logistics still needed

Over the weekend, the presidency held a national address in which the lowering of the country’s lockdown to alert level 3 on 1st June was confirmed.

With it brought a number of changes, with the most headline-grabbing being the sale of alcohol under specific circumstances, while tobacco product sales remain banned.

At the time of writing, another media briefing was planned for later today, but has since been pushed back to tomorrow, where greater clarity on the sale of alcohol will be unpacked, as well as government’s decision to allow religious gatherings under level 3.

The sale of alcohol once again has proved a rather interesting turn of events for etailers and ecommerce platforms in particular, with spokesperson for local site OneDayOnly.co.za, Matthew Leighton, noting as much.

“It appears that increasingly more South Africans were placing orders in anticipation of the alcohol restrictions being lifted. In terms of April versus May, we saw a sales increase of 220%,” he explains.

“While skipping these queues is one of the obvious benefits of doing your post-lockdown alcohol shop online, customers will also be able to take receipt of their order via-non-contact delivery,” he adds.

As such, with the still a concern among South Africans about COVID-19 and the risk involved with heading to liquor stores during level 3 remaining, Leighton is of the belief that etailers like OneDayOnly.co.za could see a massive surge in sales as a result.

With South Africa set to have some level of lockdown status for the foreseeable future, not to mention the unknown after effects of COVID-19, ecommerce platforms will become increasingly important moving forward.

“This growing uptake of online shopping across the country has allowed etailers to ramp up delivery capabilities over time, while ensuring all necessary health and safety measures are firmly in place – from hygiene protocol and warehouse social distancing, through to contactless delivery,” says Leighton.

The missing piece to this etailer puzzle right now is clarity on how deliveries are to be handled after 1st June, however, and consequently could impact any plans that ecommerce platforms have been making over the past few days.

“Whilst we (and most of South Africa, we’re sure!) were thrilled with the announcements made by President Ramaphosa on May 24th, we are awaiting the outlines around alcohol deliveries and online sales. Until such time, we won’t make any assumptions,” concludes Leighton.

Come tomorrow’s media briefing, we should hopefully have a better idea of what etailers will need to do, not only for alcohol sales and delivery, but all other products too.

[Image – Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash]

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