JOHANNESBURG, March 3 (Reuters) - South African supermarket chain Pick n Pay said on Tuesday it has launched an online scheduled grocery delivery service that enables customers to set up an automatic weekly or monthly delivery of products they buy regularly.
Having been the first retailer to launch online grocery shopping in South Africa, Pick n Pay said it has now become the first supermarket to introduce scheduled delivery, which is gaining traction overseas with companies like Amazon Prime .
The fight for market share in South Africa has intensified among retailers as consumers demand convenience and fresh food as well as a vibrant customer experience.
Pick n Pay rival Shoprite Holdings launched a one-hour grocery delivery service named Sixty60 at its Checkers supermarkets in November.
“This new service is expected to further change the landscape of how customers maximise convenience when shopping for their groceries,” Pick n Pay said in a statement.
Pick n Pay Online Manager Georgina Muirhead said after a successful pilot with a group of shoppers last year, the service, called Grocery Genius, is now available to all Pick n Pay online shoppers with limited time or those who want to avoid the tedium of repeat purchases at every shopping trip or online.
“Our scheduled delivery shopping solution means those little annoyances like running out of milk or pet food late in the evening can be avoided. It also helps with stocking up on big or bulky items like toilet paper or heavy dog food,” Muirhead said.
Online retailing in South Africa is still in its infancy by global standards, with only 1.4% of total retail spending according to Visa. However, over recent years brick-and-mortar retailers have been increasingly pumping money into technology and logistics to adapt to the changing landscape of retail.
In the 26 weeks ended Sept. 1, two million customers visited Pick and Pay’s online shop, with a 24% increase in order volumes and a 17% rise in sales.
In October it said its online team had successfully piloted an on demand delivery service with a limited range in 50 stores across the country and plans to expand this service over the coming year. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)