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Checkers Sixty60 vs Woolies Dash vs PnP Bottles

Same-day grocery delivery services are now what customers demand….
Thomas White, Reuters

Checkers upended the market in November 2019 with the launch of the Sixty60 app, which promised delivery within as little as 60 minutes. The proposition hit the sweet spot consumers wanted: efficient, same-day delivery. Until this point, delivery services from rivals Pick n Pay and Woolworths offered only future-day delivery and required customers to book timeslots. This is not how normal people shopped for groceries, was among the first pitches from Checkers.

To be sure: Checkers was very late to the game. But it changed the game entirely. In its September results presentation, Shoprite Holdings highlights that Checkers had “pioneered one hour on-demand grocery delivery” in the country. A measured, careful rollout became an aggressive one during lockdown, where it quadrupled the base of stores which offered Sixty60 in 12 weeks. The service continues to be very popular – a simple look at the continually picked, fulfilled and dispatched paper-bag-walls of orders in stores proves it.

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Sixty60 is the tenth most-popular app on iOS across all free apps in South Africa (Covid Alert and Capitec are the only other local apps in the top 10) and the number one shopping app in the country. (Woolies Dash is sixth in the shopping category. Bottles by PnP is third in the food and drink category, behind delivery behemoths Mr D Food and Uber Eats.)

Buying a partner to compete

Rival Pick n Pay expanded its partnership with alcohol delivery app Bottles and launched ‘grocery essentials’ delivery within the first week of the hard lockdown (the two had been partners on alcohol delivery since 2018). This was of benefit to both parties – Pick n Pay had a quick solution to what customers were demanding (same-day delivery) and Bottles had a business, given that the sale of alcohol was banned.

Initially, the partnership was limited as only 1500 grocery items were included. Usage continued to scale to the point where it likely dwarfed Bottles’ original business, once alcohol sales were permitted. In October, the retailer announced it would buy the business and integrate it into its online offering.

Read: PnP expands on-demand delivery following Bottles acquisition

In December, it rebranded as “Bottles by PnP”, cut its delivery fee to R35 (the same as Sixty60) and extended both coverage and operating times. Notably, Bottles by PnP is the only of the three to have extended coverage to areas in Soweto, including Dobsonville and Diepkloof.

Late to the party

In December, Woolworths launched the trial of its Woolies Dash same-day service. The app, too, promised delivery within an hour.

Read: Woolies Dash promises same-day store-to-door cold-chain delivery

That Woolies was late to the party is astonishing, given that it pioneered online grocery shopping in the early 2000s with inthebag.

It has entered a crowded, competitive market and has differentiated its offering by promising a “store-to-door cold chain”, meaning that orders will remain chilled throughout. This is not dissimilar to the technology used by meal prep services (such as UCOOK and Daily Dish) for delivery of their weekly boxes. It is a no-brainer for Woolworths to have doubled-down on freshness: that’s one of the key pillars of its food business.

It does, however, have the most integration work to do out of the three. Already, it offers online shopping, shopping via its app (a different experience to the former, with enhanced functionality) as well as click and collect at certain stores. Dash adds a fourth option for shoppers.

And it remains to be seen whether Woolies Dash will match the R35 delivery fee charged by its two main rivals once the trial period is over.

Checkers Sixty60 Woolies Dash Bottles by Pick n Pay
Delivery fee R35 R50, free for orders over R75 during trial R35
Coverage (generally within a ±5km radius of a store) Much of Joburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban. Some coverage in Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Bloemfontein.
Full list here
Generally, from larger stores serving upmarket suburbs in Joburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
Full list here
Much of Joburg, Pretoria, Cape Town. Some coverage in Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein.
Full list here
Number of stores ±87 stores 18 stores in phase one (trial) ±90 stores, including most newer ones
Number of items Over 7000 groceries, including drinks from LiquorShop* Not disclosed, but “the full range of your nearest store” is available Over 8000 groceries, including drinks from PnP Liquor*
Speed As little as 60 minutes As little as 60 minutes As little as 60 minutes
Minimum order value R100 None None (the website incorrectly reflects R50 as the minimum order)
Maximum order quantity 30 items 30 items Not disclosed (>50 seems possible)
Limitations Xtra Savings promotions not available W Rewards (incl. My School) and store cards not yet linked Smart Shopper not yet integrated

* Obviously not available when sale of alcohol is restricted

What is not covered in this comparison is the reliability and efficiency of the three platforms. This is simply because these factors are incredibly difficult to judge, given the number of variables including day, time, store, what was ordered, as well as external factors such as traffic and weather conditions.

Sixty60 and Woolies Dash both allow shoppers to choose alternatives if there is no stock of a specific item, while PnP says Bottles will prompt a customer to select a replacement after an order is placed, should the initial item be out of stock. All three apps only accept card payments (credit and (chip-and-PIN) debit cards).

All three services promise delivery in as little as “60 minutes” but, practically, this more often than not means same-day delivery, with customers able to choose a one-hour timeslot.

Read: Checkers rewards programme attracts over 4.7m customers

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All good news for Shoprite, new record profits, but the share does not move. This share should be at R200.

You should accumulate lots.

This company is going to rocket. These are great levels to add at. Very similar to Walmart at $147 with their rollout of Walmart plus.

Shoprite as a tech company is funny, until you realize it will trade at tech multiples in a few years.

The devil is in how much of what you order actually gets delivered. Haven’t tried Checkers yet – but for PnP and Woolworths the results are pretty disappointing. It feels like they don’t make much effort to even find the stuff in the store they are picking from. Of course you only pay for what is delivered – but that doesn’t help if essentials are missing.

The Checkers model is far superior. PnP and Woolworths are doing it on the cheap just to say that they do it. Checkers has actually invested in the infrastructure internally where as PnP and Woolworths are relying heavily on 3rd parties that generally perform quite poorly. As stated in one of the other comments, with PnP bottles, you often don’t get the most important items and the is notification of what these are, so you have to audit your delivery whenever you get it.

I live in Cape Town, and the Shoprite service is very convenient. I’ve used the service a couple of times since launch. It has become so popular that when I wanted to order something on Thursday midday, the first available slot was 9am on Friday.

The 60 minute delivery is an absolute menace. I have seen so many 60/60 scooter drivers go through red lights, stop signs, cut in front of people etc. One of the pizza delivery companies in the USA had to stop offering guaranteed delivery within a time limit otherwise the pizza was free because there were so many road accidents. Worse still these deliveries are to suburban addresses where kids are playing. I do think the concept is great and well overdue but the 60 minute delivery has probably already resulted in numerous accidents and if not it will soon.

Woolworths online shopping service is flawed. Decided to buy some ‘treats’ for family members for festive season and they didn’t do too great. One delivery was not only a day late but they didn’t have some items in stock. Their model is flawed. They go to a store to get the items instead of having them all in stock at a central warehouse.

So its pot luck as to whether you will get everything you ordered. They were also supposed to call to ask about substitutes and didn’t do so. They further failed to alert us as to the delay in delivery. Really no excuse not to get this right. Amazon has showed it can be done. Put your stock in a warehouse and run it from there. You can’t rely on stock levels in stores.

BTW this is not exclusive to WW. Checkers and PicknPay have the same flawed model.

End of comments.

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