FEATURE – TECH IMPACT: SA’s first rural online grocery store – SABC News
News SABC’ Tshepiso Moche reports on related technological developments in South Africa and globally. In this edition, hWe are looking at South Africa’s first online rural grocery store.
Born in KwaZulu-Natal, Siyanda Mthethwa developed South Africa’s first online rural grocery store and delivery service app.
Rural areas are often overlooked when innovations such as online grocery stores and email apps are developed among other innovations.
According to Mthethwa, the Kuloola (Simplified) app allows community members in rural areas to place their grocery orders through simple and easy methods.
Kuloola’s delivery team delivers groceries to households, churches and confectioneries.
Other methods of placing orders include sending an SMS, WhatsApp or a phone call.
According to data service ecommerceDB, e-commerce user growth is expected to increase by 50% by 2025.
E-commerce is defined as card-spending activity on an online platform where businesses and individuals can buy and sell goods and services.
But like any entrepreneur, Mthethwa has had its fair share of challenges and setbacks.
The audio below examines the challenges of developing online grocery stores:
Since the start of the lockdown in 2020, South Africa has seen an increase in the e-commerce sector.
In a Deloitte report published in 2021, the South African e-commerce market was estimated at $3 billion in net sales in 2019 and growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% on average (2019-24) .
The online grocery app founder says Kuloola currently employs about 20 people, the majority of whom are women.
The audio below talks about the areas covered by Kuloola:
South Africa is the 41st e-commerce market with a turnover of US$5 billion in 2021, which puts it ahead of Iraq and behind the Philippines.
Currently, the largest player in the South African e-commerce market is Takealot, followed by Superbalist and Woolworths.
Mthethwa says he is aware that some people in rural areas might find it difficult to use the app.
He says they have added more methods to place orders.
Unlike other online delivery apps in urban areas, Kuloola offers its users the option of using methods like sending a please call me to place an order.
In the audio below, the app founder talks about placing orders:
Some of the top-selling items include hand washing powder, cornmeal, cooking oil, and meat.
Their delivery charges vary from as little as R20 all the way up to R100 depending on distance and quantity of items ordered.
The races are delivered within 24 hours.
One of the app users took to Facebook to thank the Kuloola delivery team for their efficient service.
Nyamo Ngema-Ndwandwe from Eshowe says, “Your people are very quick. Saw it after placing my order for bread and refreshments today.