Retail Chains Resort To E-Commerce For Shoppers Amid Coronavirus Crisis

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With the spread of coronavirus into Kenya, the government has encouraged the public to practise social distancing and self-quarantine, to contain the deadly virus. In so doing many Kenyans have resorted to working from home and by all means, keeping off crowded places like supermarkets, which has disrupted the supply chain in the country.

E-commerce giants across the globe are scaling up their operation to meet the upsurge of online orders by many countries affected by a coronavirus. The likes of Amazon and other giant supermarket outlets in the United States are hiring more warehouse and delivery workers to fulfil orders made online by customers working from home in line with directives to minimise the spread of the virus. Following the closure of many labour-intensive businesses due to the virus rendering many jobless, Amazon said that they are all welcomed to their teams until things return to normal and their past employer can bring them back.

Locally retail chains in the have resorted to eCommerce to cushion themselves from plunging into debts and bad stock due to COVID-19. On Monday, Tuskys announced a partnership deal with Sendy a logistics company in Kenya to help its customers order goods online which will be delivered to their doorsteps to prevent more cases of coronavirus infections in line with the government’s directive. Its competitor Naivas, on the other hand, is leveraging on its July 2019 partnership deal with on-demand courier service Glovo to continue delivering goods to customers at home. Jumia has also partnered with Reckitt Benckiser (RB) to provide free shipping of hygiene products into the country.

The government interceded on the concerns about cash transactions being a potential medium for spreading the virus after President Uhuru urged Kenyans to use cashless transactions such as mobile money and credit cards to cut the risks of contracting the disease. Following talks with the Central Bank of Kenya and other industry players, telco giant Safaricom agreed to waive the charges for all transactions below Ksh1,000.

While providing Kenyans with their basic necessities at the comfort of their homes, the retail store will be killing two birds with one stone. However, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has issued a stern warning to manufacturers and retailers capitalising on the coronavirus pandemic to exploit customers with overprices products.

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