Woolworths makes e-commerce push with upgraded app

In a bid to grab a larger share of the rapidly growing South African online shopping market.
Customers will be able scan the barcode of products in their fridge or cupboard and add them to their online shopping cart. Picture: Halden Krog/Bloomberg

Department store chain Woolworths is looking to grab a larger share of the rapidly growing online shopping market by allowing customers to order directly from its mobile app.

Traditional retailers in South Africa are increasing their investments in technology and logistics to meet the growing demand for online shopping.

Woolworths, citing a PayPal and Ipsos cross-border e-commerce report, said online shopping in South Africa is expected to grow by 19% this year, with an estimated R18 billion worth of sales projected to take place on local websites.

“Mobile is a crucial part of our digital strategy,” Woolworths Head of online, Liz Hillock said in a statement.

She added that more than 60% of traffic to Woolworths’ South African website comes from customers browsing on their mobile phones, while there has been a 64% increase in mobile transactions over the last year.

The online shopping sector in South Africa is dominated by clothing, homeware and ticket retailers. Earlier in May, furniture chain Lewis Group entered the home shopping market with the launch of an online shopping website called Inspire.

However, online shopping for groceries is still in its early stages in the country, with only Woolworths and grocery retailer Pick n Pay offering the service.

Customers will be able to use Woolworth’s upgraded app to shop, view reward points, manage financial services products, and see live stock levels, making it the only “fully integrated retail app” in the country, the company said.

Customers can also scan the barcode of products in their fridge or cupboard and add them to their online shopping cart.

Woolworths, which also has operations in Australia and New Zealand, saw a 34% increase in overall online sales in the year to the end of June, with fashion, beauty and home online sales rising 77%.

Read: Woolworths fights many battles


Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in and an Insider Gold subscriber to comment.


I think Woolworths are in a heap of trouble.

There over-reliance on food is coming back to bite them as they offered appealing discounts using their app. They have now removed all discounts leaving only their magazine, free coffee and quarterly cashback voucher. When asked, have been told for two months now that it is anticipation of a new marketing initiative.

Basically a load of codswallop as any retail analyst will tell you that the only way to counter dwindling volumes is to increase margins which effectively requires controlling discounting.

Unfortunately this will cause a negative spiral as they have now removed the only real incentive that I had to use their visa card. Now they are just overpriced!

Woolworths are in trouble because the name Woolworths is just another word for more expensive.

They have hood winked the housewife into thinking their stuff is organic and healthier than other stores.

I have seen meat labelled lean karroo chops, so the housewife thinks wow this is healthy no terrible fat. If it was lean it would be tough. The butcher just cut the fat off, the fat in the meat is still there needed to cook tender. Besides it is good fat from grass or karroo bushes.

End of comments.



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Moneyweb newsletters

Instrument Details  

You do not have any portfolios, please create one here.
You do not have an alert portfolio, please create one here.

Follow us:

Search Articles:
Click a Company: