Vryburg online start-up partners with supermarkets to bring groceries to clients’ doorstep

Vryburg Online. Picture: Supplied
Vryburg Online. Picture: Supplied

A start-up online store in the small farming town of Vryburg in the North West has scored a partnership with the local Pick n Pay and Food Town supermarkets to provide shopping and delivery services of essential products during the Covid-19 coronavirus national lockdown.

Lesego Samolapo, co-founder of the Vryburg Online, told City Press that beyond convenient shopping, his online store was making a small contribution to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Samolapo said the idea was inspired by the experience he gained working in e-commerce in Johannesburg for two years.

“Initially, Vryburg Online was a local products and business listing portal for local businesses. But after the lockdown announcement we decided to list only essential products as a response to minimise social encounters by members of the community as per government’s request,” he said.

They currently have a strong and growing social media presence. Together with his business partner, Vaughn Dichaba, they have received significant support from Tic Tac Sports Betting – one of their clients – “which has enabled us to try these amazing digital technologies that we are trying to familiarise our people with”.

The response has been good so far. Most buyers are middle class individuals across the suburban communities of Vryburg.

Samolapo said vryburgonline.co.za was launched in January as a general products online shopping outlet, but officially launched on March 31 as an essentials products online store.

He said on a daily basis they service up to seven customers, a figure he hoped would increase as more people become familiar with the service.

“Our relations with the retails is that we get direct access without having to stand in line. We also get discounts on selected products and an allocated packer at the stores to help us prepare the orders before we pick them up. That shortens delivery time and increases efficiency,” he said.

He added that the products are available at competitive prices and are delivered within three hours.

Samolapo said Vryburg Online employs three full time staffers and one part time employee who manages the administration, including orders, customer engagements, logistics and distribution, general digital system maintenance and inventory.

“The response has been good so far. Most buyers are middle class individuals across the suburban communities of Vryburg.”

He said in order to broaden its services the store has integrated an open source WhatsApp function that will create a catalogue and cart on the platform. The function would also manage payments efficiently to accommodate the less technology-inclined customers.

Samolapo said getting a strong internet connection has been their main challenge.

“Internet connectivity is quiet bad in Vryburg and these days it’s even worse. Internet connectivity has been our main concern and a huge stumbling block.

“We do not have enough internet users in Vryburg, so converting conventional retail shoppers into digital buyers is still a task.”

But “it is a task we are prepared for and we are confident that we will succeed” he said.

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