Cuban Government Mobilizes Public Transport to Deliver Online Purchases

Outside Carlos III Plaza in Havana, customers were waiting this Friday to retrieve their orders. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 May 2020 — After weeks of delay and amid an avalanche of demands, this Friday Cuba’s government-run online shopping service TuEnvío has tried to complete a part of the pending deliveries. The Cimex corporation, which manages the e-commerce platform, announced that it will reopen purchases shortly and add new stores.

During the day today, Cimex used part of the public transport fleet in Havana and other provinces to deliver overdue orders. The state company has out its foot on the accelerator after its officials appeared on national television on Thursday.

Outside the Cuatro Caminos market this morning small buses, trucks and other vehicles were lining up for delivery, according to what 14ymedio witnessed. Boxes and bags were placed inside the vehicles to take them to their destination, mainly in the municipalities of Centro Habana, Cerro, 10 de Octubre and La Habana Vieja.

“They are using everything they have to catch up, because it was already showing a lack of respect. After 18 days, yesterday afternoon they knocked on the door to make the delivery,” a resident from Vedado told this newspaper. She had given up hope of receiving two packages of sausages and a can of tomato sauce that she bought online.

In the presentation Thursday on TV’s Roubdtable program, the president of Cimex, Héctor Oroza Busutil, acknowledged that they were not prepared for the volume of customers. “We were not able to foresee the growth that the demand would have from the measures proposed and approved on April 9 to confront Covid-19.”

Cimex officials said the experience “has not been available everywhere” as they had anticipated and that they must now “refine it.” Recently, following the failure of the service, the corporation announced the provisional closure of virtual stores to “streamline the billing process and minimize the sales of non-existent merchandise.”

Customers complained especially about the incessant crashes on digital sites and that they were taking money from the customer’s account but the purchase did not appear as completed and the products ran out when they were selected and tried to pay.

Despite the initial difficulties, Oroza Busutil insisted on the Roundtable that “virtual stores are not going to close, they are here to stay and will be developed until they meet the necessary requirements and also with a process of continuous improvement.”

One of the advantages they announced is “the integration” of the TuEnvio platform with the EnZona payment gateway, although the priority is “pending refunds, automatic inventory updates, delays in purchases and deliveries, and responses to customers at each store. “

The commercial vice president of Cimex, Rosario Ferrer San Emeterio, justified the ups and downs of electronic commerce due to the “conditions in which it has had to develop in the midst of the expansion of Covid-19 on the Island.”

“First, there was a shift in demand to this type of sale and the infrastructure conditions in which it has had to grow are not adequate. An estimated growth logic was assessed that fell below what this dynamic of isolation imposed in the country, so we did not foresee a growth in orders of more than 60%,” Ferrer explained.

“We went from processing 1,356 orders in February, to 6,000 in March, to 73,386 in April, and in just the first 14 days of May, to 78,893,” he added.

Between April 10 and May 12 Cimex has received more than 12,000 emails about the service of the TuEnvío platform, with more than 90% of them having to do with customer complaints.

He insisted that gradually, during the month of May, two more virtual stores will come into operation in Havana, one in the municipality of 10 de Octubre and the other in La Habana Vieja.

“In the rest of the provinces, a store will be opened in the main municipality and the speed with which it advances will depend on the stabilization of the platforms,” said the official.


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