Our top ten tips for surviving the busiest season in ecommerce.

Do you want to go into the Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend with world-class, innovative technology and a variety of couriers at your fingertips?

Welcome to uAfrica – a smart shipping and order management solution, designed to streamline your logistics processes from the moment the order is placed to when it is delivered. Try our thirty-day free trial today to enter a world of possibility:

Place your orders for courier stationery well ahead of time:

Make sure you have enough stationery before the flood of orders starts. Drivers will not wait around while your team packs orders into bags, so remember to order the courier stationery well in advance.


Perfect your packaging:

As the sender of a parcel, you are the only one who knows exactly what is inside your parcel. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure your item is packaged correctly and does not contain prohibited or hazardous goods. By accepting a parcel, the couriers do not acknowledge that the packaging is adequate or the contents are acceptable – that is up to you.

It is very important to note that couriers do not accept liability for parcels with inadequate packaging. Goods must be packaged in accordance with the couriers’ packaging policies. 


Book truck collections in advance:

Please make arrangements for a truck collection at least 24 hours in advance in order to ensure that the courier can collect all of your parcels in one collection. 

Email our support team with your request, specifying which courier you wish to employ, and we will coordinate with the courier and offer confirmation once feedback is received. Please note that additional surcharges may be applicable to special collection requests.

Remember to insure your products:

Familiarise yourself with insurance policies of each of the couriers ahead of the busy season to understand how their practices work. 

When shipping, remember that your parcels are not automatically insured. Even if your parcel has been damaged or lost by the relevant courier, they will only refund you for the shipping charges and not the value of the goods inside the parcel. During fulfilment, you need to specify if you would like to take out insurance on your parcel. If you have high-value products, we would definitely recommend that you insure them! 


Consider extended delivery times and service level periods:

It is important to take note of the higher volumes of collections and deliveries after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Although the couriers do everything they can to prepare for this influx of freight, delays are inevitable. It is vital to communicate these delays as best you can to your customers and help manage their expectations to avoid disappointment.

Due to these high volumes of freight, parcels might be delayed with both local and regional deliveries to be affected. Delivery timelines will be extended and will look something like this:

  • OVERNIGHT : ± 2 – 3 working days
  • ECONOMY : ± 4 – 5 working days, excluding the day of collection

Revise your rates at checkout:

We highly recommend that you revise, reconfigure and retest your rates at checkout before you start any BFCM sales, especially if you’d like to offer free shipping or a special shipping rate during this time. 

By using rates at checkout, it is your responsibility to ensure that your rates are configured correctly and according to your specifications, and that the rates and service levels that you have set up are accurate and reflect your configuration upon checkout on your online store. 


Understand uAfrica’s shipping policies:

It is vital to use the waybills generated by uAfrica. Once an order is fulfilled, a waybill is generated that you must print and attach to your parcel. This is not the driver’s responsibility, it is yours. The use of manual shipping labels is not allowed. If a parcel is shipped on a manual waybill, the system cannot automatically apply this waybill to your uAfrica account. Without a uAfrica waybill, parcels can’t be tracked, as well as result in uAfrica Support being unable to assist with shipping queries. We also advise labelling your parcels before collection with fragile stickers or warnings if your parcels require special attention.

Take advantage of uAfrica’s order management capabilities:

Use bulk fulfillment, bulk waybill downloads, custom filters and manifests to streamline and speed up your shipping processes. 


Carefully pick the products you put on sale:

Many online retailers put their biggest products on sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but forget to take the shipping costs into account. This means that they end up spending more on shipping the product that they made from the actual sale. It is thus vital to remember that couriers will base the final shipping costs on the weight and the dimensions of a product, so shipping large products is not an economically-sound choice. Rather, put smaller products on sale simply due to the lower shipping cost. These smaller products with a lower shipping cost will either ensure that you still cover the cost of shipping and may even still allow for a small profit. 

Another thing to consider when picking your sales products is the return rate. Firstly, it is very important to renew and double-check your return policy in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Secondly, consider putting products with a very low return rate on sale, instead of those where returns are frequent. For example, a hat has a lower return rate than a dress, where the sizing may be off. These returns, or lack thereof, could save you a lot of time and money come the BFCM weekend.

Learn from your past mistakes:

Have a look at what you did last year for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and ask yourself – where could you have improved? Where should you have spent more money? What products worked? what didn’t? Take the time now to revise your BFCM plans and improve on last year’s peak season. 

But if this actually is your first rodeo, reach out to fellow ecommerce merchants and ask for advice. Get guidance from forums, groups and experts and take the opportunity to learn from their experiences.

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