Pick n Pay will be launching Pick n Pay Mobile and Boxercom, under its Boxer chain. it made the announcement on Tuesday, during its interim results for the six months ended August 30, 2020.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for access to more affordable mobile data, with more people having had to work and study from home due to the lockdown.
The retailer appears to have identified the gap.
Pick n Pay CEO Richard Brasher explained that supplying data is the only sensible direction that the supermarket can take in the face of Covid-19.
“In the spirit of innovation…we intend to launch Pick n Pay Mobile and Boxercom in the not-so-distant future….Data is now the crucial elixir of life. I think it is important because it has helped people [stay] connected during the course of this pandemic with friends and family. It is important for education and for entertainment.”
The retailer has not revealed much more on the issue yet.
Chairman Gareth Ackerman said that Pick n Pay has also noted an increased online sales demand during the lockdown period.
He says that its online team worked almost without rest to boost its footprint and delivery slots to keep pace with demand.
“Our customers responded extremely well to the measures we put in place to keep them safe,” Ackerman added.
He noted that demand for click-and-collect services also rose rapidly during the various lockdown levels.
“We responded well to the surge in demand for online shopping. Pick n Pay Online is the largest online grocery offering in sub-Saharan Africa. We were also the first retailer to launch an on-demand app via partnership with Bottles, converting it from an online liquor platform into a grocery app in just four days,” Ackerman says.
The group announced said on Tuesday that it has concluded an agreement to buy on-demand online grocery delivery firm Bottles to strengthen its e-commerce business. The acquisition is expected to be completed by November.
Bottles was launched in 2016 as South Africa’s first on-demand alcohol delivery app and partnered with Pick n Pay in 2018.
It was the first app to promise delivery within 60 minutes. As the global pandemic gripped South Africa and led to a lockdown at the end of March, Bottles re-purposed its app, emerging with a new offer to deliver on-demand Pick n Pay grocery essentials to customers.
The retailer says since its move to groceries on March 31, the app has achieved more than 700 000 downloads, with more than 350 000 registered users. The service offers over 7 000 products at store prices, with an average delivery time of 90 minutes.
Having launched in 2001, Pick n Pay Online now covers more than 150 stores nationwide.
Clothing now online
It also launched an online clothing platform in August.
The group opened 11 new clothing stores during the period and closed six underperforming units.
“The group is confident of the opportunity to grow its clothing business through targeted investment in stand-alone clothing stores, additional space in hypermarkets and supermarkets and an expanding digital reach,” Ackerman said.
The investment in its digital platform and mobile technology has delivered double-digit growth in online sales each year for the past five years.
“This provided the group with a keen competitive advantage going into the Covid-19 crisis,” Ackerman said.
The supermarket also announced that it has concluded a consent agreement with the Competition Commission which results in it no longer having exclusive rights leases in shopping malls.
“We do not agree with the commission that exclusive leases inhibit competition. But exclusivity is a diminishing feature of the market, and it is right to bring an end to the debate on this subject so that we can all focus on the work that needs to be done. We all need to stimulate enterprise and create jobs after the devastation wreaked by Covid-19,” Ackerman said.