Demand for online grocery shopping surges, causing delivery delays
SA is embracing the idea of 'clicking and adding to cart' in the wake of the third wave of Covid-19
When I popped into my local branch of Checkers recently, I came across several employees who seemed to have embarked on the adult version of Reggies Toy Rush.
This now defunct TV contest saw a child race around a toy store aiming to fling as many goodies into their trolley as quickly as possible. Anything the lucky kid got into their cart before the short time limit was up, they got to keep.
The supermarket's staff were zipping through the aisles fulfilling orders placed via the Checkers Sixty60 app, which promises you can “get all your favourite groceries delivered to your door in just 60 minutes”.
Checkers is one of several local supermarkets to have seen a surge in the popularity of online grocery shopping in the wake of the third wave of Covid-19 and the country's move back to lockdown level 4.
The brand told the Sunday Times the demand was “unprecedented” and that it has experienced “record order volumes” via their Sixty60 app.
As a result, Checkers said its delivery slots are “filling up very quickly”, which means it may take longer than an hour for your groceries to arrive at your door.
To ensure speedy delivery, “customers are encouraged to place their orders early in the day,” the supermarket added.
The Sunday Times reports that Pick n Pay and Woolworths have also noted an increased demand for their online shopping services resulting in the soonest available delivery slots being snapped up quickly by customers.
Woolworths said the problem was compounded by “store staff having been impacted by Covid-19, causing a lot of disruption in stores, including store closures.”
The brand added that “the majority of stores around the country offer delivery within 1-3 days, but there are a handful of Johannesburg stores which are particularly congested”.
It said its “team is working round the clock to try to manage the demand”.
Woolworths recommended customers also try its Click & Collect option as this service “is often able to help fulfil orders sooner than delivery to door”.
Click & Collect allows you to shop and pay for your groceries online, then collect them from a participating store during the time slot you've selected.
John Bradshaw, retail executive: Omnichannel at Pick n Pay, said that “in periods of unexpected high volume [the supermarket] sometimes does not have [delivery] slots available for [the] next day”.
However, he added, the retailer had moved quickly, “adding 65% more slots to make sure we can serve customers well during this time”.
• Additional reporting by Hilary Biller.