The biggest challenge on Black Friday isn’t a system crash or a payment failure. It’s the delivery problems that come after the purchases have been made. This year, courier companies are working closely with e-tailers to ensure that delivery expectations are met – but you, the consumer, can also play your part in getting your parcels to you as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Black Friday – and Cyber Monday that follows it – represent an opportunity for South Africans to take advantage of many excellent deals online, just in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, the excitement of the purchase is often followed by a period of waiting and more waiting.

The reality is that while e-tailers do what they can to ensure payment gateway and website stability, the surge of deliveries that follow often means that consumers have to wait a little longer to get their purchases.

This year, the Laser Group, with its subsidiary DPD Laser (Dawn Wing and Time Freight), are working closely with some of South Africa’s largest retailers to ensure that they are ready for the start – and duration – of the festive season shopping frenzy.

“We have prepared our systems and we’re increasing our staff capacity to meet the demand,” says Iain Johnson, CEO of the Laser Group. “But, while it’s our goal to ensure that you get your purchases in the anticipated timeframe, there’s a lot consumers can do to help us get their deliveries right the first time.”

Just like any other service, couriering is at the mercy of human error, and if these are made during the purchasing process, they can cause additional delays and confusion in delivering your parcel.

Johnson explains that, just like you should prepare for Black Friday by comparing prices and researching the specs or features of products you would like to buy, so too should you prepare yourself to streamline the delivery process – after all, it’s in your best interests.

These are some of the steps that South Africans can take to ensure that their deliveries reach them as speedily as possible:

  1. Ensure that the delivery address you are going to use is complete: Know your suburb’s postal code (you can double-check at, and be sure to include your apartment number (if you live in a complex), company name (for deliveries to your place of work) street number, suburb and town.
  2. If you aren’t likely to be home to receive your delivery: consider having it delivered to your place of work, or to a family member who is likely to be home. Ensure that your friend or family member will be at their address, and only list a work address if you can easily leave your desk to receive the parcel.
  3. Be sure to include a working contact number: This is so you can be easily reached if you are not home at the time of delivery, to make an alternative arrangement.
  4. Need to make a last-minute change? If you have received an SMS to let you know the delivery is on its way, or if you know that you won’t be able to receive your parcel at the address you listed, call the e-tailer’s call centre. They will be able to help you change the details or give you the number of the courier company if your parcel is already on its way to you.

The Laser Group has actively been developing technology to ensure that they deliver their customers a high-quality service that gives them the control they want over their deliveries. As an example, DPD Laser’s launched ‘Follow My Parcel’ Platform confirms the customer’s address, alerts them about their expected delivery time, and even shares the specific details of the driver and vehicle that will be delivering to them.

“By providing the correct information and the right address, and by ensuring that you are in the right place to receive your parcel, you will go a long way to helping courier companies to deliver your purchases on time,” says Johnson.