Dis-Chem is pulling more and more online shoppers.

The pharmacy chain has seen online orders surge from between 6,000 and 8,000 a month at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to around 89,000, logistics provider Picup has announced.

Dis-Chem published its reviewed and condensed annual results on Monday, noting that higher delivery costs caused wholesale expenses, excluding depreciation, to grow by 8.7%.

In a statement issued by Picup, the pharmacy chain provided more details about its online deliveries.

“In August 2021, we saw online sales growth of 14.4% over the comparable period, and this was already an increase in growth over the 2019 comparable period where we saw 345.9% growth,” said Dis-Chem IT OPS project management officer Annemarie Barnard.
“While Covid-19 was the catalyst for the change in consumer behaviour, Dis-Chem’s logistics has become extremely slick,” Barnard stated.
“We are seeing a reduction in delivery times from 7 – 10 days to the same or next day. This has radically decreased customer complaints over the past two years.”
Picup, a subsidiary of Karooooo, said its technology had been a great enabler for Dis-Chem’s ability to serve its e-commerce customers faster.
It said that its technology is plugged into the Dis-Chem system through an application programming interface, enabling Dis-Chem to dispatch online dispensary, front-shop, and telephonic orders faster.

“Our customers don’t want to wait for their goods, they want them as soon as possible after pressing pay,” Barnard stated.
“They also want to know when their parcel will arrive. By using Picup’s technology, our customers can track their parcel and arrange their availability around its delivery.”

Dis-Chem dispatches over the counter goods and prescribed medication using Picup’s delivery fleet, together with its own 260 Dis-Chem drivers.
This is managed through 192 Dis-Chem, 6 Medicare, and 35 Baby City stores active on the Picup platform. The company says the stores were strategically designated.

“Increasing from 8,000 to almost 89,000 orders a month is a massive jump, and is something we are very proud to have been a part of,” said Picup CEO Antonio Bruni.
“Without adequate logistics management capability this rapid increase could have resulted in poor customer brand experience for Dis-Chem,” he added.
“Given that it is every retailer’s goal to grow in the online space, adopting the right smart logistics technology that will allow them to rapidly scale their delivery experience is key.”

Bruni said that decentralising its delivery nodes — from 20 to 80 nationally distributed hubs — has significantly advanced Dis-Chem’s e-commerce service.
This has allowed Dis-Chem to shorten its lead times in the processing of orders, and its delivery times.

Dis-Chem also used geographic data in its expanded hub strategy.
“As we know where our volumes are coming from. This has streamlined our operations as we can now map out our distribution strategy,” said Barnard.