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Intelligent Lockers serving the African market in 2022

. Reading time: 4 min.

Bruno Galaio
Bruno Galaio
Intelligent Lockers

In this article, we will explore some insights into the challenges that e-commerce and last-mile face in the African continent and how the use of disruptive technology, more specifically intelligent lockers, can help optimize delivery operations.

Although we know this massive continent cannot be treated as one homogenous land, we tried to compile the most generic information possible to have a solid overview of this specific market.

African E-commerce and Catching Up to the Digital World

Having the most remarkable online payment growth and the fastest-growing middle-class sector, the African continent is rapidly catching up on technological advancements, mobile adoption, and banking solutions.

This progress is reflected in sustained growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it an excellent target with enormous potential for all types of businesses that can embrace the Electronic Retail world.

Now diving into the e-commerce arena, Africa holds 281 million online shoppers, and this number is expected to rise to 520 million by 2025.

Even though the continent is going down the proper technology development path, some challenges still need to be faced.

Challenges in Africa in the supply chain ecosystem are not different from other parts of the world.

In fact, they can be summed up in the following: the impact of technology, overcoming deficient transport infrastructure, and pressure to keep costs down.

These three obstacles created a growing demand for logistics among retailers and couriers to expand their operations and improve their supply chains and transport networks.

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Evolution of Online Payments in Africa – Photo by wto.org

According to recent research, the last mile industry grew up to 27.2 billion dollars in the African continent.

This growth is an apparent effect of rapid digitalization in the regions, although, there is so much more room for incorporating technological capabilities to expand warehousing and the delivery processes of online business.

Last-mile Delivery Problems in the African Continent

So how are companies coping with this new logistics demand? Most African logistics companies are focusing on improving the last-mile delivery services by incorporating intelligent devices into their delivery operations, like drones, and intelligent lockers, especially for retail and e-commerce.

A great example of an intelligent lockers use case is Jumia, an e-commerce giant which recently decided to adopt self-service lockers as a delivery method.

*Just as a side note: according to sources, the most developed regions are claimed to be the North region, with Morocco, Egypt, and Algeria having the highest production values. The West region with Nigeria, with its extensive metropolitan areas, Ghana and Liberia, and South Africa, which leads the economy of all the southern regions, followed by Angola.

Smart Lockers can be a game-changer in the African Market

Intelligent Parcel Lockers as a Delivery Solution

So how can e-commerce businesses guarantee their goods are getting to final customers without delays considering all the African lag in transit infrastructure?

Well, safe to say, this is where Intelligent Lockers come into place.

An Intelligent locker is not just a durable piece of hardware prepared to store parcels under the harshest weather conditions. Their key functionality provides 100% time-slot pick-up flexibility without time limitations and risk for failed attempt deliveries.

Failed attempt deliveries are one of the main challenges this innovation helps tackle and lead us to two other significant aspects of these electronic lockers.

The first one touches on a very beneficial economic angle for companies. Intelligent locker networks, if strategically positioned around city areas, represent an alternative to out-of-home delivery, cutting out last-mile costs for more couriers to up 90%.

The second aspect dives more into sustainability matters, even though this is not a significant concern for most African countries.

In those more developed cities of South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Nigeria, sustainable development projects have taken place in the last few years, and adopting Intelligent locker solutions might fit perfectly within these plans to reduce CO2 emissions coming from delivery transports.

Intelligent Lockesrs
Durban City, SA – Photo by Magda Ehlers

How can Bloq.it Smart lockers help your business?

At Bloq.it, we are at the forefront of locker systems integration and development for various industries, including last mile. We strive to develop the smartest application interface that adapts to businesses existing workflow, letting you gain complete power over the service interface with 100% adaptability.

Our solutions are already being used by companies in Egypt, and several others across the world.

Want to discuss how our technology can help your business optimize delivery operations?

Reach out to one of our industry specialists, and get a free quote for the perfect smart locker solution for your business.