The coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown that Zimbabwe is currently in, has adversely affected some sections of the business sector, with the informal sector screeching to a halt. However, the effects of Covid-19, has also seen a boon in the country's online grocery sector.
With local consumers practicing social distancing in response to the coronavirus, online grocery shopping has accelerated in an unprecedented way in the last few weeks to plug the hole in retail services.
Globvil Holdings Private Limited, which is based in Harare, said business has been brisk in the last two months owing to the effects of the lockdown imposed by President Mnangagwa to prevent further spread of the virus.
Globvil operations manager, Mr Prince Suberi, said from the time the company was formed at the beginning of 2019, business has been brisk.
"Our customers who are mainly in South Africa and Zimbabwe order their groceries online and we immediately arrange for the deliveries across the country. With two offices in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as a huge warehouse in the neighbouring country, Globvil Holdings now boast of 30 drivers between the two countries to ensure efficiency and timeous delivery. From the time the country went on lockdown, Mr Suberi said they have delivered groceries to more than 500 families in a month in the Zimbabwe.
"Once you are able to manage inventory, ensure sufficient staffing, follow health and safety protocols, and ensure timeous delivery of ordered goods, you are guaranteed of increase online sales," he said.
Before this crisis occurred, Mr Suberi noted that they were mainly relying on inter-country deliveries. While it's unclear exactly what the grocery landscape will look like after the crisis, there's good reason to believe that online grocery demand will continue to grow.
There may be some temporary regression towards the mean as life gets back to normal, but in the long run, online grocery will expand. There are people who are not interested in visiting shops due to busy schedules and these are natural customers of online shopping platforms.