Grocery wars

South Africa’s online grocery market has been stuttering for years. All it took was a global pandemic to kick things into action.

08 June 2021

'Last-mover advantage’ is the kind of description – defence, even – offered up by executives of companies that have lagged the market and are mostly up against the wall. Legend has it that the Shoprite group was simply ‘nowhere’ when it came to ecommerce and that rivals Pick n Pay and Woolworths had seized the market for themselves.

But the tall shelving units alongside till points stacked with trademark Checkers Sixty60 brown paper grocery bags and the swarms of branded motorcycles criss-crossing neighbourhoods tell a story. Following a modest launch in November 2019, it aggressively rolled out the service during lockdown, where it quadrupled the base of stores that offered Sixty60 in 12 weeks. Today, the service is available from over 150 stores across the country.

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