Pick n Pay launches an automated online grocery delivery service

Pick n Pay has launched a new automated online grocery delivery service. The new system, called Grocery Genius, allows customers to set up an automatic weekly or monthly delivery of the products they buy most often, and is being positioned as a competitor to Amazon’s Prime grocery delivery service.

The service, called Grocery Genius, was piloted last year in around 50 stores. It represents another battlefield in South Africa where Pick n Pay and Shoprite are going against one another. Shoprite’s premium banner Checkers launched a one hour online grocery delivery service called Sixty60 in November last year.

Both Checkers and Pick n Pay have also sought to expand their “market” style store formats (respectively, FreshX and Next Generation) to take market share from Woolworths. Last year Woolworths’ market share in South Africa rose 10%, up from around 9.5%.

These innovations come at a time when consumer spend is under severe pressure in South Africa, with a sluggish economy made worse by a crisis at the state power generation firm Eskom and persistent inequality between black and white South Africans. They represent attempts by the major supermarket chains to grow by targeting the wealthiest, time poor consumers who have been less affected by a squeeze on incomes.

Online is still a tiny part of grocery sales in South Africa, but is high growth. In the 26 weeks ended September 1, Pick and Pay’s online shop had 2m visitor. It also had a 24% increase in order volumes and a 17% rise in sales.