We rate and compare 3 supermarket delivery apps in SA
Do you buy your groceries online? There's an app for that.
It’s sometimes hard to remember a world without any of the on-demand tech tools that we’ve become so used to as a society. Uber has changed the way we use transport, Netflix has changed the way we view entertainment, and retail grocery store apps are fast becoming commonplace in urban areas.
South Africa’s foray into supermarket delivery apps only kicked off fairly recently. Before each one had its own app, there were platforms like One Cart and Zulzi where customers could order from a variety of retailers. Now, retailers are going head to head with one another.
Checkers Sixty60 came into the market offering a 60-minute grocery delivery service. The Bottles app was acquired by Pick n Pay and, in December 2020, Woolworths launched Woolies Dash. We decided to try all three of them on the same day to see what the differences were.
Here’s how it worked: we ordered all the ingredients for this family-friendly recipe for spaghetti Bolognese as the standard order. We then rated them each out of five.
Here’s what we thought…
Checkers Sixty60 (4/5): The interface is relatively easy to navigate and they have special curated sections, showing that they’ve given thought and consideration to the needs of their customers. The app shows you if an item is out of stock before you add it to your cart and offers you the option to select an alternative. The app also allows for voice searching, which is a nice touch. The payment process is simple and straightforward, but it must be noted that they reserve an amount 15% higher than your order value. This covers variable weight items (like meat and cheese) and replacements if something is sold out. The amount will appear on the SMS your bank sends you and it will appear as a pending transaction in your bank account.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (2/5): The interface feels rather cluttered, but it doesn’t diminish the overall experience. The app features deals and promotions at the top in a carousel, enticing you to make the most of them. The search function doesn’t always yield the desired results and it took a while to find the items I was looking for. The payment was quick and stress-free.
Woolies Dash (3/5): This was the easiest and quickest experience in terms of finding items. Two items were unavailable – but this wasn’t communicated to me until after placing the order.
Availability of slots for the same day
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): I placed the order at 07:15 in the morning and the first available slot was 09:00–10:00. There were plenty more throughout the day.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (5/5): The order was placed at 07:44 and the next available slot was 09:00–10:00 with many other slots throughout the day.
Woolies Dash (5/5): The order was placed at 09:35 and the next available slot was 11:00–12:00. The slots diminish every few minutes so it’s best to get your order in early.
Is there a minimum order value?
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): The minimum order value on Checkers Sixty60 is R20.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (4/5): The minimum order value on Bottles is R50.
Woolies Dash (5/5): No minimum order value.
Is there a maximum number of items allowed?
Checkers Sixty60 (3/5): There is a maximum of 30 items allowed for each order.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (5/5): There is no item limit to orders.
Woolies Dash (3/5): There is a 30-item limit to orders.
Can you earn loyalty points on the app?
Checkers Sixty60 (4/5): Currently, you can earn only eBucks.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (4/5): Smart Shoppers cannot earn points but this will be possible sometime in the future.
Woolies Dash (4/5): You cannot get WRewards on the app.
Availability of products
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): No items in the order were out of stock.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (4 / 5): One item in the order was out of stock (mince).
Woolies Dash (3/5): Two items in the order were out of stock.
What happens if an item is out of stock?
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): You are notified in the app before adding the item to your cart.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (2 / 5): I wasn’t informed of the item being out of stock and it ended up being a line item in my cart and on my order with a ‘0’ count next to it. So I only found out it wasn’t in stock when the order arrived and the item wasn’t in the packet.
Woolies Dash (3/5): My Woolies shopper contacted me directly on WhatsApp to notify me that two items in the order were out of stock (mince and tomato paste). I had to respond with my preference to opt for an alternative or not. I’m not sure what happens if you’re unavailable to chat with the shopper in real-time.
Is it easy to track the delivery?
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): Yes, you can track the order status throughout.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (5/5): Yes, it was super easy.
Woolies Dash (5/5): Yes, tracking was clear and also showed when my Woolies shopper had started shopping.
Was the order delivered in the time slot?
Checkers Sixty60 (4/5): The order didn’t arrive within 60 minutes. The order was placed at 07:15 and delivered at 10:17. Checkers Sixty60 start deliveries at 08:00.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (4/5): The order came earlier than the time slot selected. The order was placed at 7:44 and delivered at 09:15.
Woolies Dash (4/5): The order came earlier than the time slot selected. The order was placed at 09:35 and delivered at 11:34.
While it was great to receive some of the orders earlier than anticipated, I don’t know what I would have done if I wasn’t at home to receive them. This makes selecting a time slot a little tricky as you never know if the order will arrive earlier than that.
Delivery experience with the driver
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): The driver was professional and friendly, and the Checkers Sixty60 branding was clear.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (4/5): The driver seemed to be in a rush and didn’t have any clear Pick n Pay branding on his bike or clothing.
Woolies Dash (4/5): The driver was a bit solemn and didn’t speak much. The Woolies Dash branding was visible on his helmet and on the bike. The driver asked to take a photo of me with my order. I’ve not experienced this before but it seems like a common practice.
Is there an option to tip your delivery driver?
Checkers Sixty60 (5/5): Yes, you can choose preset rand values (R20, R50, etc) to tip your driver.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (5/5): Yes, you can tip your driver.
Woolies Dash (2/5): Currently there is no option to tip the driver.
Is there a delivery fee?
Checkers Sixty60 (4/5): Yes, the delivery fee is R35 per order.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (3/5): Yes, the delivery fee is R50 per order.
Woolies Dash (4/5): Yes, the delivery fee is R50 for any order under the value of R75. Currently, there is no delivery fee for orders over R75 as part of the app trial.
Checkers Sixty60 (4/5): The packaging is 100% recyclable and FSC-approved, but the cold items were not kept cold in any way.
Bottles by Pick n Pay (4/5): The order arrived in normal Pick n Pay plastic packets. The meat was out of stock so I couldn’t assess the cold chain.
Woolies Dash (4/5): The order came in Woolworth’s plastic packets but the meat and cheese were transported in a cooler bag.
All three apps are free to download. Please check first to see if they are delivering to your area.