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Online shopping pushes boundaries in South Africa

A partnership between Pick n Pay and Mr D on the one hand, and integration of Woolworths’ Dash and Woolies apps on the other, pushes the edges of online retail in this country

In an unprecendented partnership, leading grocery retailer Pick n Pay has partnered with Mr D, a subsidiary of online retail giant Takealot. In almost the same breath, Woolworths has announced the integraiton of its various e-commerce services.

These moves represent an acceleration of online retail strategy evolution in South Africa, which has become a world leader in on-demand delivery.

“This new dedicated grocery shopping experience with Pick n Pay through the Mr D app allows customers to shop over 10,000 food and grocery products – at the same price as in-store – for delivery in an hour,” says Alexander Wörz, CEO of Mr D. “We have made the shopping journey delightfully easy for customers to browse and buy, with every product listed by aisle or occasion.”

Wörz says that the shopper experience is aligned to the in-store experience and pricing, with the ability to earn Smart Shopper points on all orders, as well as eBucks when shopping groceries on the app.

The new PnP Groceries on Mr Dservice is currently being piloted in selected areas in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but will be rolled out to 300 stores nationally by December 2022. Customers place an order on the Mr D app, Pick n Pay does the picking in its stores, and Mr D’s delivery partners collect and deliver the order to the customer.

Vincent Viviers, Executive Co-Head of Omnichannel at Pick n Pay, says: “The demand for online grocery shopping has grown rapidly, and there is huge potential for further growth. By working alongside the Takealot Group and Mr D, we will give customers the best and most reliable on-demand offer in South Africa.”.

This new consumer offer is the result of the commercial services agreement signed by the Takealot Group and Pick n Pay earlier this year.

Takealot Group CEO, Mamongae Mahlare, says: “We need to keep innovating and collaborating to ensure we become more efficient in delivering on our promises and serving our customers. Partnerships such as these unlock significant value and opportunity, leading to new business models and employment opportunities that result in more of our people being able to work and contribute to growing our economy.”

Woolworths dashes into ominichannel

Meawhile, Woolworths says it will become the first retailer in South Africa to offer an integrated omnichannel shopping experience through its app.  The upgrade will see integration into one shopping platform of the retailer’s two digital apps, Woolies Dash, its on-demand service, and the main Woolies App, which schedules delayed deliveries.

Woolworths offers three key online delivery modes based on customer preference:- scheduled delivery (which has a broad regional footprint and allows for unlimited basket size); click and collect (free for customers) ; and on-demand Woolies Dash (same-day shopping).

Woolies Dash has been operating as a standalone app as a start-up business process. However, with its exponential growth, Woolwoths will now bring this service into its main App service offering, providing more of the enhanced features of regular online shopping.

Liz Hillock, Woolworths head of online, says: “A seamless omnichannel experience is at the heart of strategy. Our customers have expressed their preference to have one App to do all of their Woolies shopping and manage their services. With over 1.8-million users on the Woolworths App, it’s the world of Woolies in the palm of your hand.”

The Woolies Aap offers in-app shopping, barcode scanning, find-in-store features, Wrewards and Woolworths Financial Services.  Over 50% of the retailer’s ecommerce sales are generated by the app.

“Woolies Dash has grown incredibly fast,” says Hillock. “We’re running at 95% early and on-time deliveries and we’re focused on taking it to the next level. By integrating our apps, we’re also making some core backstage and operational improvements that will allow us to exceed customer expectations.  We’re also scaling our service to 100 stores across South Africa.”

App transition will occur by 6 October, with Woolies Dash no longer taking orders from 7 October 2022.

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