The emergence of coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, into the country and the world has changed how we live, interact with others and even how we do business.
Like all countries of the world where this pandemic has struck, Uganda has responded by putting in place preventive measures to minimize the rate of infections in the country, most specifically the communities.
Some of the measures that have been put in place to slow down transmission of the virus include the restriction on movements, closure of markets and shopping arcades as well as strict mask and sanitizer policies for all public areas and buildings.
While the measures taken to prevent transmission are deemed necessary, they have still had a trickle down effect on how the regular Ugandan survives, from how they run their business down to how they shop.
The typical Ugandan shopper is a physical shopper, they prefer to personally go to the shop or market, select and pay for their goods and take them home by themselves.
Given the current circumstances created by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this shopping culture is no longer sustainable. Now more than ever, it is time for Ugandans to go online to survive and thrive.
However it is not just the customer that needs to adapt, but the vendor and retailer too.
Earlier on during the government-imposed lockdown, arcades and stores were not permitted to open and even now that they are, are considered hot spots for COVID-19 transmission therefore unsafe. It is for this reason that retailers need to make the shift online.
What are some of the available online solutions?
In light of the prevailing circumstances, e-commerce platforms can come in to save the day. These particular platforms are one of the few businesses that have managed to survive in a time where many are drowning.
Jumia Uganda for example is one such platform that has been on the market for the past 8 years and has enabled thousands of vendors to sell merchandise ranging from fashion to electronics, rent free on the platform to millions of consumers.
Jumia Food has also done the same for hundreds of restaurants and just recently, market vendors. By moving online, vendors have been able to continue making sales and reaching customers despite movement restrictions.
Jumia Uganda, in its bid to further lessen the transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also introduced contactless deliveries to its customers.
In contactless deliveries, the delivery agents drop off customers’ orders at their doorsteps, call the customers to come and pick up their orders, without any physical interaction between the two.
The benefits of switching over to online platforms for both shopping and selling now, is it is more convenient and cheaper for both the customer and vendor.
Customers have easy access to a wide assortment of products at their fingertips all delivered safely to their homes and vendors have the advantage of reaching more customers at a lesser cost to them.
Above all, with options like Jumia’s contactless delivery, everyone can feel safe.
While less than 2% of Africans use e-commerce platforms, the emergence of COVID-19 and resulting movement restrictions might just be the push that causes the digital shift.
Therefore there is no better time than now for Ugandans to switch over to online e-commerce platforms to enjoy a safer and better shopping experience.
Ron Kawamara is the Chief Executive Officer at Jumia Uganda.