HARARE – Edgars Stores says it officially commenced selling its products via WhatsApp and online stores at the end of last week after having received the necessary approvals from Government.
Concerns, however, remain on logistics management for deliveries and the high cost of data for clientele.
Edgars Stores are currently shut down as they, together with other non-food retailers, are listed as non-essential services as the country goes through its second level four lockdown.
During the first level four lockdown last year, the group reported a loss in sales for both Edgars and Jet after stores were closed from March 30, 2020 to May 5, 2020. During that period collections from debtors also declined. As a result, unit sales in that half year (to July) declined 66.15%.
Edgars chief marketing officer Rumbi Dzimba said the group had seen good uptake particularly on WhatsApp platforms.
“We officially kicked off selling through online platforms at the end of last week. There has been a positive response particularly on the WhatsApp platforms. However, the high cost of data and transaction fees are proving to be prohibitive for most customers.”
With the slow adaption of online shopping in Zimbabwe, logistical challenges at an affordable cost are proving to the major challenge in fulfilling orders. This has left many to question the impact on profit margins on online businesses. The complexity of picking an order across three different areas and delivering within desired customer times is a costly operation.
Sales had been trending upwards during the peak trading period last year.
Dzimba said at the manufacturing unit, Carousel, sales volumes had been depressed by the lockdown. The unit was also operating at reduced capacities as part of measures to manage the Covid-19 risk.
“Carousel has been producing PPE’s for corporates, mainly masks and work suits with a reduced number of employees as part of our measures to manage Covid-19. We anticipate the opening up of the retail side to allow us to resume full production.”
The group is currently on closed period pending the release of its full year results.-Financial Express.