Massmart’s plans to improve online shopping in South Africa

Retail giant Massmart says it is leveraging the e-commerce capabilities of its US parent, Walmart, to build and grow its online and digital shopping systems in South Africa.

The group said that it has made significant investments into building and growing its e-commerce offering since 2021. Powered by Walmart, the group has been able to significantly increase
its technological capabilities – resulting in an improved experience for both customers and employees.

“We have been able to leverage the strengths and capabilities that Walmart has already developed in other more mature e-commerce markets around the world,” said Shilpan Bhagat, Walmart’s Head of eCommerce Product & Technology for Africa, based in Silicon Valley, California.

“With the support of hundreds of dedicated e-commerce software engineers at Walmart’s Global Tech hub in Bangalore, India, we have adopted some of these capabilities into the South African market over the past year.”

Since October 2021, Massmart’s team of software engineers has grown from 28 to approximately 300, with its South African-based product management team also growing from 7 to over 30, as part of a multi-million dollar investment to expand the organisation’s e-commerce capacity.

“Through this investment and leveraging the Walmart ecosystem, we are rapidly accelerating our journey to maturity in Massmart e-commerce from an estimated five to eight years down to two to three years,” Bhagat said.

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A few of the major technology releases which have been delivered this year through this approach include:

  • The revamped Game website;
  • The Makro Shopping App; and
  • The group’s new advanced store employee fulfilment application called Global Integrated Fulfillment (GIF).

Launched in May this year, the revamped Game website offers an intuitive and mobile-friendly experience through features like improved navigation and search, new product categories of clothing, pantry and liquor, and improved order tracking.

“Since launching the new website, Game has successfully doubled its sales conversion rate and revenue – showcasing that more South Africans are shopping with Game online,” the group said.

The Makro Shopping App now accounts for a significant portion of the brand’s e-commerce revenue, following its launch in July. Massmart said that the new Makro pantry and liquor shopping experiences have been well received by customers, and both of these categories continue to grow at triple digits.

Bhagat said that the combination of both Walmart and local expertise helped deliver a quality, mobile-first shopping experience that also uses less-mobile data and memory on users’ devices.

Speaking on the group’s immediate plans, he said that the main focus is on its peak trading period as the end of the year approaches.

Read: Game, Shoprite and Woolworths launching Black Friday 2022 deals – what to expect

Artmotion S.Africa

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