With people working and staying home during the pandemic, courier service companies were crisscrossing cities to deliver groceries, medicine, food, and other essentials.
Glovo, a courier service that had been in the Kenyan market for a while, saw an increase in demand for their services during the pandemic. With it, it saw a change in the nature and size of the goods people wanted delivered.
Another, Copia, a service to get goods upcountry affordably and conveniently was all hands on deck to receive order and to deliver a variety of products in various parts of the country. Copia to serve the under-served in rural and peri-urban areas with the same retail products that those in urban areas aspire to have. Therefore, access to internet data to order goods—a barrier in rural areas—is not required.
Customers simply select goods from a printed catalog or tablet available at the close to 14, 000 Copia agents, closest to their location, who guide them through the ordering process. The agents are spread across rural Rift Valley, Western and Central Kenya.
After the customer selects what they want, the agent keys in the order, it is sent to Copia HQ at Tatu City Industrial Park in Ruiru where it is processed. The order is delivered within two to three days, and the customer collects it from the same agent.
Customers who order goods for their family upcountry are alerted via text message with the date of arrival of the goods and once it is delivered to the agent. The family member in upcountry will also receive the same message and will pick the order from the agent.
The measures to stop the spread of the virus has seen a slowdown of business activities triggering job losses, unpaid leaves, and pay cuts.
To lessen the burden on their already overstretched resources, Safaricom, in an initiative dubbed Bonga for Good, allows Kenyans to use their Bonga points to buy food, household goods and pay for select utilities and donate to those in need. Safaricom partnered with the on-demand courier services like Copia, Glovo, and Chap Chap Go to enable customers to pay for their goods using Bonga Points but also through M-PESA.
By June, Safaricom customers had redeemed more than 1 billion Bonga Points worth over KES 330 million shillings since the initiative began.