More Rwandans opt for online shopping amidst COVID-19 pandemic
Rwandans are increasingly opting for online shopping in the wake of COVID 19. Online shop owners commit to supplying for the prospected high demand.
As COVID 19 cases increased to 7 in Rwanda, the Government of Rwanda has suspended all public and social gatherings and encouraged people to keep social distance and stay at home where possible.
As a result, more Rwandans are opting for online shopping for groceries and other goods needed at home.
Egide Butare is a Managing Director of Store to Door an online grocery shopping and delivery company.
For the last three days, their orders have more than tripled. They used to get on average 5 orders a day, but since the reported Coronavirus cases, the orders have now reached 18 and are expected to grow.
“We have recorded a noticeable increase not only in orders but also in the number of goods ordered and therefore the money earned,” Butare told The New Times.
He added that cleaning utensils, especially hand washers and dry goods such as grains and sugar are the most demanded items.
Store to Door is not the only online shop that has recorded a visible increase in demand.
Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO of HeHe Mart, said they have recorded a 50 percent increase since the first COVID-19 case confirmed on March 14th.
For HeHe Mart, also dry goods and cleaning utensils are the most demanded items.
“We have seen an unusual increase in the last three days and hopefully increasingly so. We are now making sure that we meet the skyrocketing demand,” Iribagiza said.
Prices to remain stable
Asked whether the increasing demand will imply an increase in prices, both Stores to Door and HeHe Mart replied that prices will stay the same regardless of the expected bigger market.
“Even if the demand increases, we will not take advantage of our customers. We have maintained the same prices over the last two weeks [before COVID 19 first case confirmation]. We are now focusing on the quality of services delivered,” MD of Store to Door, Butare added.
He further explained that the priority now is to cater to the increasing number of clients and proving to them that Rwanda’s online market is a viable option and has its advantages, not only in times of crisis.
For the stock, Butare explained that since imports are being widely affected, the supply is unpredictable.
“Some products that were normally popular are already out of stock due to extreme demand and the situation might get even tighter eventually,” he said.
Butare added: “However, the likely alternative will be shifting to locally made products since shipping is getting more complex due to COVID-19 pandemic. This is an appropriate time to use and promote Made-in-Rwanda products.
For HeHe Mart, Iribagiza told The New Times that her shop is flexible with customers and prices will not change because of the demand.
“We are very intentional about providing customers with better services even when the demand is higher,” she said.
The number of novel coronavirus cases in Rwanda has risen to seven following two more people who tested positive on Monday.
The government had temporarily closed schools and places of worship, but in the latest statement, it says that the closure period may be renewed based on circumstances.