Pick n Pay has concluded an agreement to purchase on-demand delivery startup Bottles. The acquisition is expected to be completed by November this year, with Bottles founding members Enrico Ferigolli and Vincent Viviers, and key managers and staff moving across to Pick n Pay.
The move will enable the retailer to build on the success it has achieved in partnership with Bottles in recent months, and further strengthen its online grocery business.
From alcohol to grocery essentials
Bottles was launched in 2016 as South Africa’s first on-demand alcohol delivery app, and partnered with Pick n Pay in 2018. Its service was the first of its kind, promising that orders would be fulfilled within 60 minutes.
Following the prohibition on the sale of alcohol in March, Bottles re-purposed its app within four days, emerging with a new offering to deliver on-demand 'grocery essentials' to customers.
Since its move to groceries on 31 March, the app has achieved more than 700,000 downloads, with more than 350,000 registered users. The service offers over 7,000 products at store prices, with an average delivery time of 90 minutes.
Surge in demand for online groceries
Commenting on the deal to buy Bottles, Pick n Pay CEO Richard Brasher said: “The past seven months have seen a surge in demand for online groceries in South Africa. Together with our franchise partners, we have responded by expanding the number of stores which deliver or offer click and collect services. Our sales growth has more than doubled, and we have seen a 200% increase in active customers.
“In partnership with Bottles, we were able to introduce an on-demand grocery delivery service less than a week after the start of the lockdown. The Grocery Essentials offer has been hugely popular with customers, building on Bottles’s achievement as the best-rated app by customers in the sector.
“We are therefore delighted to be acquiring Bottles. It will enable us to build on the tremendous momentum we have achieved by integrating the Bottles business into our existing online offer, and applying Bottles’s agility, innovation and marketing flair across our platform."
Brasher added, "Our aim is to have a business which customers can access anytime, anywhere and from any place. We already have two large online depots, and a home-delivery and click-and-collect network comprising over 150 stores. Bringing Bottles into Pick n Pay will give us another edge, and enable us to offer more services and more flexibility to customers in this rapidly growing area.”