Amid preventive measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, including strong recommendations by officials to avoid crowded places or leave the house except when necessary, consumers have turned to online shopping more than ever. The new trend has not only helped online businesses increase their sales, but has also added overtime to the couriers’ working hours in Turkey.
Burhan Akgül, chairman of the Motorcycle Courier’s Association based in western Turkey’s İzmir province, told Demirören News Agency (DHA) Tuesday that the courier service staff have been very busy lately and now they are working three hours overtime each day compared to their hours last month.
“If a courier was carrying 20 packs a day, it is now over 50 packs,” he said.
Speaking of the online shopping trends, Akgül noted that the shopping includes grocery products as well, adding that there is an increase in kitchen needs rather than food orders since people now prefer to cook in their homes.
He expressed that the products that are commonly ordered online include basic grocery goods such as pasta, sugar, flour and oil, along with napkins, wet wipes and cologne.
Akgül noted that people also do not want to exchange money and that is why they make the payment either online or with bank and credit cards.
Kerem Kaçmaz, who works as a motorcycle courier in İzmir, said that they are now overcautious and try not to touch any surfaces while delivering the products.
He added that they have now started to clean the point of sale (POS) machines with wet wipes after use since the machines are exposed to the direct contact of both the customers and deliverers.
After the first case of coronavirus was confirmed, Turkey took many steps early on and announced a range of measures in the fight against the pandemic. Government institutions and bodies have ramped up efforts across the country, including the temporary closure of schools, nightclubs, cafes and other social spaces. Municipality workers have been disinfecting and cleaning public places while the public has increased the use of medical masks and gloves along with disinfectant products and cologne.
Mehmet Ali Ceylan, a citizen who now does his grocery shopping online, emphasized that it is a very sensitive period, adding: "I do not go out unless it is necessary. I avoid hand contact and money exchange. I prefer to order my needs online."
The surging demand has forced e-commerce sites to seek new couriers as well and the increasing need for couriers has also mobilized the motorcycle market. Some companies in Turkey have said they filled orders for up to 2,000 motorbikes since the outbreak began.