Amazon launches in South Africa, eyes same-day delivery

Amazon has designated same-day delivery as a pivotal strategy in its pursuit of market expansion since its recent launch in the country. Robert Koen, Amazon’s Managing Director of sub-Saharan Africa, emphasized the significance of providing customers with a reliable delivery promise, particularly in South Africa, where it enables effective planning around delivery schedules.

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In a podcast interview with Business Day, Koen underscored Amazon’s commitment to offering same-day or next-day delivery in major urban centres, emphasizing the importance of transparency in delivery expectations for South African consumers. He highlighted the value of knowing precisely when a delivery will arrive, enabling customers to plan accordingly.

Logistics excellence is integral to Amazon’s objective of delivering a superior online shopping experience in South Africa. Koen outlined the company’s strategy, which includes an extensive product selection and competitive pricing. However, the initial product range on is relatively limited, with notable exclusions such as Amazon’s own-branded electronics like the Kindle and Echo smart speaker range.

In contrast to local competitor Takealot, which manages its own fulfilment, Amazon has established a network of approximately 3,000 pickup points nationwide, operated by third-party logistics providers. The company has partnered with local last-mile logistics firms, DPD Laser and The Courier Guy, to enhance its delivery capabilities.

Amazon prioritizes seamless returns and robust customer support as essential components of its service. Koen highlighted the availability of live agents seven days a week from 6 am to midnight to address customer inquiries, emphasizing the localized nature of the call centres and the multilingual support offered.

The launch of features approximately 20 product categories, encompassing a diverse range of brands from beauty and books to home and kitchen, alongside specialized offerings like load shedding solutions, pet supplies, and toys.

In addition to renowned brands, Amazon is integrating smaller, local sellers into its platform, providing them with an online presence for the first time in South Africa. Koen acknowledged the competitive landscape but emphasized Amazon’s customer-centric approach, prioritizing customer needs over direct competition.