DHL adopts unique growth model in Africa

Leading global logistics company DHL is targeting to dominate the African market after increasing its retail footprint significantly over the past three years.

The company has announced that by staying true to its reputation for speed, passion, teamwork and a can-do attitude, it has managed to grow its retail footprint in sub-Saharan Africa by an astonishing 1,000 per cent in less than three years.

Over the short period, the company’s number of service points increased from 300 to over 3,300 mainly through partnering with local business owners who act as DHL resellers.

Thousands of vendors, such as an electronics store in West Africa, a travel agent in East Africa and a small grocery shop in Southern Africa, now allow their customers to send DHL shipments alongside their normal offerings.

The small businesses benefit from commission on all DHL sales, an increase in foot traffic as well as being associated with a global brand.

“It’s really a win-win approach. We have given these small shop owners a unique business opportunity to grow their revenues and gain credibility by aligning themselves with an international brand. If they do well, we do well,” said Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa.

He added that DHL is willing to partner with any entrepreneurial business that sees value in becoming a reseller. All partners are provided with a complete branding kit and go through an extensive training programme to ensure compliance with DHL’s requirements and procedures.

DHL has also forged similar partnerships with larger companies such as mobile network operators, retail business centres, supermarkets and fuel retailers.

Not only is partnering with existing vendors more cost effective than building its own branches, it also brings the company closer to its customers.

An entrepreneur in Ghana can send a sample to a client in the US from the same place he picks up his daily newspaper, whereas a mother in Mauritius is now able to ship a birthday gift to her son in France while her car is being filled up at the fuel station.

DHL also simplified its pricing and packaging options to fit in with the needs of its customers as opposed to the other way around. To make people aware of its retail offering, the streets of Africa are often painted yellow and red through tactical advertising campaigns involving dancing, singing and special giveaways.

“Through the passion and energy of our 4,000 employees across Sub Saharan Africa, we have changed the perception that DHL only caters for multinationals and big business. Our retail customers no longer have to sit in traffic to send a document or parcel, but can literally find a DHL service point right around the corner,” says Rahavendra.

He noted the partnerships are empowering business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa with an additional opportunity to earn money and live better.


Deutsche Post DHL


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