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

Hot on the heels of PnP’s Bottles app acquisition.
The behind-the-scenes work included the manufacture of lightweight carriers or ‘cooler boxes’ featuring advanced cold-chain refrigeration technology. Image: Supplied

Food and clothing retailer Woolworths, which offers South Africa’s most upmarket national chain of fresh food stores, is piloting its much-anticipated Woolies Dash same-day delivery service just days before Christmas.

The group announced on Wednesday the trial launch of its new on-demand, same-day delivery service out of select stores in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria.

To differentiate itself amid increasing competition in the on-demand grocery essentials space from rivals likes Checkers and Pick n Pay, Woolies Dash will offer a “store-to-door cold chain” delivery service.

Read: TFG’s online galaxy grows

The move follows Pick n Pay announcing on Tuesday that it had finalised the acquisition and integration of the Bottles on-demand service.

Both Bottles and Woolies Dash are set to take on the hugely successful Checkers Sixty60 app, which has grown exponentially since its launch last year as a within-60-minute essential groceries delivery service.

Online shopping and on-demand delivery have boomed even further on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen more people stay home or work from home.

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“Woolies Dash will see Woolworths become the first and only retailer in South Africa to pioneer and offer store-to-door cold chain within an on-demand service of this kind,” Woolworths said in its statement.

“This also sets a new benchmark for cold-chain, which includes the latest world class refrigeration technology in a lightweight carrier,” it added.

Branding yet to be revealed

Unsurprisingly, the group did not provide visuals of what the concept looks like just yet, as competition between the trio of Cape Town-based retailers (Shoprite/Checkers, PnP and Woolworths Food) hots up.

Woolworths is known to have one of the most comprehensive fresh food cold-chains in the local market.

Its food division has seen major growth over the last few years, compared to its poorer-performing clothing and Australian (David Jones) divisions.

Read: Woolworths’ R750m ‘investment’ in lowering food prices – chicken too

The group said its Woolies Dash service will give customers access to fast delivery of groceries, including its wide range of fresh produce, pantry staples and household essentials – directly off its shelves to customers’ doors.

Liz Hillock, head of online and mobile at Woolworths, said the group has “seen a marked growth” of its online sales in the past 12 months.

“Woolies Dash complements our already expansive online service, from our scheduled delivery service with broad regional footprint to our drive-through click and collect service,” she added.

“We are a business with quality and freshness at our core. Our capacity and planning during lockdown therefore also needed to include the manufacture of our high-tech cold chain ‘cooler boxes’ as part of the process, which adds a little more complexity.”

The service is being piloted in 18 stores in SA’s four biggest cities:

Johannesburg – Cresta Shopping Centre, Clearwater Mall, Norwood Mall, Dainfern Square, Benmore Gardens and The Glen;

Cape Town – V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Cavendish Square, Gardens, Cape Gate, Blue Route Mall and Tygervalley;

Durban – Musgrave Centre, La Lucia Mall; and

Pretoria – Menlyn, The Grove and Lynnwood Road.

“The trial will give our loyal customers the opportunity to try the service and give us feedback while we perfect the offering,” noted Hillock. “Our customers are keen to get access to the service sooner rather than later, so we’re bringing them on the journey with us.

“We’re offering free delivery as part of the trial as a thank-you for helping us enhance the service.”

Woolies Dash will initially be available as a separate app.

Woolworths said it has scaled its online presence extensively during Covid-19, “albeit facing some challenges with the increased demand for online food delivery”.

Over 75% of Woolworths shoppers already access its regular e-commerce channels via mobile phone, either through its mobile friendly website or via the main Woolworths app.

The group said the main Woolworths app hosts over 1.1 million customers, with high daily usage in terms of online shopping, loyalty activity and Woolworths Financial Services.

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WW has a much smaller footprint than Checkers-Shoprite or PnP; That would put them at an overall disadvantage once they go national; But what few know is that WW delivers to all their stores ex Distribution Centre before opening daily (bar for a few Eastern Cape stores which gets delivery by 10 or so), something Shoprite- Checkers and PnP (and SPAR) cannot do – due to their large footprint. Their (WW) edge in fresh produce and cold chain should be their focus. If this can be perfected in a direct to customer delivery, then they will have a strong and competitive strategy.

Finally WWs on the right track. Therefore, what a pity it doesn’t work yet. They make you download the app, add the items, etc etc before hitting the final screen with “no delivery slots available”!

Too snooty to offer it to the West Rand….
Not everyone here wears slippers and has mullets.

WWs finally getting there vs. the competition. Therefore what a pity it doesn’t work yet. They make you download the app, add your items etc etc before hitting the final screen with ‘no delivery options available’!

What about a car who opens and starts with voice recognition or your fingerprint?
Something new for a change.

A separate app? What is it with these people that everything must be an app? If they had their way, we’d have hundreds of apps on our phones and zero storage capacity left. Ridiculous!

Valid point. I’m going to estimate that only about 70% of all apps gets downloaded anyway by at least someone. Many take time to be developed and approved by IOS or Google and are often irrelevant at launch date. I’d like to see the true stats though.

This app has been rushed to market without a soft trial.

Downloaded it this morning, placed an order (o936251), received a delivery time slot of 12:00 – 13:00 and here I am 9 ½ later without a delivery. No phone call / notification / apology whatsoever!

Email sent to the address on app without any reply.

Another Woolworths (David Jones Oz) in the making?

Update: Delivered 72 hours later. No apology whatsoever. Mind boggling that a corporate would dish out such pathetic service.
Perhaps a name change from Dash to SLOW would be in order!

I would use this service but won’t as I don’t use Apps on my phone.
Most shopping services do not require apps to be installed to use the service. Sorry, let me know when I can use the service without the need to install an app

End of comments.

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