Top 10 Tips for using uAfrica Shipping

We’ve been listening to our customer feedback as well as taking note of the questions coming in to our Support team and have decided to put down the top tips on how to use uAfrica Shipping, what certain things mean and why we’ve created things the way we have.

1. Parcels are not automatically insured
uAfrica offers the option to insure your parcel on our Silver and Gold plans. When fulfilling an order on these plans, users need to separately add the insurance value for each parcel individually.  The rates shown on uAfrica, once you’ve refreshed them, will then add a premium to include the added insurance.  The insurance terms and conditions vary depending on the courier used to ship the parcel.  We highly recommend looking into obtaining your own business insurance that includes the insurance of parcels being shipped around SA because from our experience, the insurance T’s and C’s stipulated by the couriers are very strict and complex.
It is important to note that if/when a parcel gets stolen or lost while in the possession of the courier, the courier company is not liable for the loss (if not insured). This means they will not refund you for the value of your loss, but they will refund you for the shipping charges. We agree, this seems very unfair however it is standard practice for most courier companies to operate according to these terms and conditions and uAfrica doesn’t have any power to change them.
Need more information on insurance?  Get in touch.

2. Economy parcels are collected the next business day
When the service level chosen isn’t a priority option, e.g. Economy or Road Freight, the courier will usually collect your parcels the following business day.  Please bear this in mind when selecting a quotation.

3. Automatic vs manual collection request
You choose how you want the courier to know about collections.  uAfrica has 3 ways of requesting a collection, as follows:
Automatic: Each time you fulfil an order on uAfrica for an Overnight or Same Day service level*, the system will immediately send an automatic collection request to the chosen service provider.  Collection requests for orders fulfilled on an Economy service level will need to fall into the Scheduled or Manual request categories.
Scheduled: The Scheduled collection request is a setting that automatically sends a collection request at the same time every day.  You are able to customise this time in the Advanced Settings of your Sender Address.  This scheduled request will be sent if you’ve got orders with waybill numbers in uAfrica that were created since the last time a scheduled request was done.
Manual: These are the requests for other types of orders.  For instance, let’s say you’ve scheduled your collection requests to go at 12h00 each day and you’ve just received an order at 13h00 which you want collected that afternoon.  You will fulfil the order and then click ‘Courier Collection’ in the top right of the page in your Shipping’s Collection Request Page.  Simply select the courier you’ve chosen from the list and a request will be made to them.  It’s important to note that if you haven’t got a scheduled collection request set up, you will need to do manual requests.  One request per courier per day will suffice, even if you have multiple orders per courier.
*Please note that The Courier Guy is an exception to this rule where every time an order is fulfilled for any service level, the system will immediately send an automatic collection request to The Courier Guy.
Ask us how if you’re not sure how to change the settings mentioned above.

4. Rates are only estimates while fulfilling an order, the final charges will show after delivery is completed
The rates you see when you’re fulfilling an order on uAfrica come directly from the courier and are considered estimates.  The reason they’re estimates at that stage is because the couriers are relying on our users to input the correct dimensions, weight and addresses.  If any of these variables are different between quote stage and delivery, the couriers amend the rate to reflect the difference in either physical or volumetric weight and a final charge is calculated and sent to your account on uAfrica. Mistakes happen, of course, so if you see anything that doesn’t add up please speak to us, we’re happy to help you out.

5. Estimate charges on uAfrica exclude VAT
All estimate charges you see while fulfilling orders in uAfrica exclude the 15% VAT rate.  The reason for this is that our system is built in such a way that it requires us to show charges excluding VAT.

6. Only South African delivery addresses are supported, for now
If you have an international delivery to fulfil you can still use uAfrica, but you’ll need to make use of our Tracking Only feature.  We don’t yet have an integration with an international partner but we are in the process of finding the best courier to integrate with and aim to have this up and running by the end of 2018.  If you’re not sure how to use Tracking Only, ask us how.

7. Waybills MUST go with the parcel
The couriers rely on the waybill to successfully move parcels through their systems. Without a waybill, parcels can’t be tracked properly and this raises doubts and frustration around deliveries.  It is very important that ONLY the digital waybills generated on the uAfrica system (starting with letter UA) are used when shipping a parcel via the uAfrica platform.
Why is this required, you may ask?
Tracking: You wont be able to track your parcel on uAfrica if UA waybills are not used to ship the parcel, which also means that if there are any issues with the delivery of your shipment it is very difficult to find your parcel and resolve the query.
Billing: If manual waybills (those that you write out) are used instead of the printed UA waybills then the billing process on uAfrica is compromised and does not work as it is intended to.  Manual waybills will be linked to a corresponding fulfilment on uAfrica and billed directly to your account.  If a corresponding fulfilment cannot be identified then the manual waybill’s cost will be billed directly to your account on uAfrica.

8. Waybill must be printed out 4 times.  Yes, really!
If you can remember back to the days when you had to tediously write out waybills, you’ll remember that there were multiple copies.  Carbonated copies, but copies none the less.  uAfrica’s requirement is the same where you need to print out 4 copies of each waybill as opposed to writing it out.  If the driver is insisting on using a manual waybill, inform him that the UA waybill is the only waybill required for the shipment and he’s more than welcome to challenge his supervisor about it.
Why four copies?
One copy is for you when the driver collects.  It is VERY important that the driver signs this copy of the waybill since it is the only proof you have that the driver collected the parcel and will be the first thing we ask for if any queries arise.
Two copies are for the courier’s internal processing, one for each hub (collection and delivery).
One copy is for your customer when they receive their goodies.
Each copy has a purpose so please play along.  We offer you the option to print out waybills as an A4, A5 or A6 size, so you don’t end up wasting paper.

9. Credit cards are charged automatically
We all know the key to a successful product or service – keep it simple!  So we do.  When you add credit card details to uAfrica, we save these details very securely for ease of payment in the future.  The first time your shipping limit is reached, we let you know your balance has been reached and we prompt you to pay the outstanding balance.  After this has been done once, the card will automatically be charged when your shipping balance is reached.  We do this to minimise downtime so you can get on with getting deliveries out to customers.

10. Shipping credit limits can be increased
We’re very happy when merchants ask us to increase their shipping credit limit because it means that their business is growing.  Before we increase it though, we just ask that you build up a bit of a payment history with us so we can be sure you’re good at paying your bills, but after 2 or 3 payments we’ll be happy to offer you more.  Want to increase yours now?  Get in touch with our support team today!

If you have any questions or queries about shipping, or any feature offered on the uAfrica platform, we’re here to help and happy to do so so please either call us on 012 940 1060 or email our support team on support@uafrica.com.  We want to see your online businesses do well which is why we spend a lot of time helping each client personally, to make sure you have everything you need.