Teja is a co-founder and chief operating officer of duka.direct, a start-up online shopping platform that was launched in February. The online platform allows customers to order products across various categories such as groceries and household essentials, and delivers them to doorsteps.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, customers’ demand for home delivery services has increased by two times, said Teja in an interview with Xinhua at his office located in the city center of Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
During the period of self-isolation, online shopping through app with free courier service has become the first choice for people living in the commercial hub of the east African nation, as a way to avoid shopping in crowded open markets, said Teja.
“This has been a great opportunity for us to witness a change in customer behavior in the nation, including their growing acceptance of digital payment,” said Teja.
He said currently, the company’s delivery coverage is within a 25 km distance from the city center, but as they are seeing more and more suburban customers inquiring about the service, they are aiming to expand the business to reach more corners in the city.
Demand for delivery also increases in other businesses. Jibril Mohamed, a restaurant owner in Dar es Salaam, said despite the fact that the number of dine-in customers have largely decreased due to the pandemic, requests for home delivery service have doubled last month.
Kauthar D’Souza, a Tanzanian housewife residing in Kariakoo, a major market area in the commercial capital, said COVID-19 had doubled her online shopping needs.
“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic I have been buying all my basic needs, including food and clothing, online”, she said.
“Online shopping is the best way of avoiding mass gathering. It gets me less exposed, especially during this time when authorities request us to avoid mass gathering as a way to protect ourselves against the COVID-19“, said D’Souza.
Bora Chitanda, a Tanzanian salesman working in marketing industry, said the culture of online buying and home delivery in Tanzania that had been accelerated following the outbreak of COVID-19 should be maintained even after the disease was contained.
Meanwhile, he also hoped that the trend of online shopping may not render the employees in supermarkets and restaurants jobless.