Sixty60 app artwork
  • Checkers has opened to the public a pilot of its new Sixty60 service, which promises delivery of your online shopping within an hour, with real-time tracking all the way.
  • The retailer says it now offers "South Africa's fastest grocery-delivery service" – though limited to small parts of Cape Town and Johannesburg at first.
  • There is no markup on the stuff you buy, and during the pilot all deliveries are free.
  • Fast delivery is the holy grail of online grocery shopping, but it hasn't worked for everyone.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

Grocery giant Checkers on Monday went live with a pilot of Sixty60, an online grocery shopping app that promises delivery within the hour on thousands of products.

Checkers has quietly been testing the app internally for months, and says it now offers "South Africa's fastest grocery delivery service".

The chain says it is offering 5,000 products for sale via the app already, and that includes the likes of over-the-counter medicine and condoms, as well as booze from the Checkers LiquorShop outlets.

Those items are sold at the same price that appears on shelves in physical stores.

For now the service is only available in small parts of Johannesburg and Cape Town – but during that pilot all deliveries are free.

Once an order is placed you can track a personal shopper putting together your shopping basket in real time, much as you would do yourself in a store. Packed shopping is then handed over for delivery that can also be tracked in real time, in the fashion popularised in South Africa by Uber Eats.

In order to speed up shopping – which Checkers says you should be able to do in 60 seconds, goods are arranged into functional sections such as "Hangover Cure" (featuring Sparletta Creme Soda, also known as "the green ambulance", asprin, and fancy chocolates in a "PS I'm Sorry" subsection) and "Baby Emergency", with nappies and food.

Frozen and chilled foods are also included, as are ready-to-eat lunch and dinner solutions, and the app also features a dedicated "Braai Now" section.

Fast delivery is considered the holy grail of online grocery services, with surveys suggesting wait time is the single most import factor for the majority of customers - who want their stuff in an hour or less.

Services that attempt that kind of speed, for a specialist set of products, have been fast multiplying in recent years, ranging from Krispy Kreme donuts in London to booze in some South African cities via the Bottles app.

Not all such attempts have succeeded. In November 2018 giant UK retailer Tesco shut down such an experiment in London, Tesco Now, saying it would focus on same-day delivery instead. But competitor Sainsbury's still offers its "Chop Chop" delivery in London – albeit with orders limited to 20 items or less, and carrying a delivery fee of £4.99, the equivalent of around R95.

The Checkers Sixty60 is available for Apple devices in the App Store, and in the Google Play Store for Android.

For now the Checkers Sixty60 service is only available in the vicinity of these stores:

Cape Town

Sixty60 in Cape Town map

  • Durbanville
  • Willowbridge
  • Okavango Crossing
  • Rondebosch
  • Kloof Street
  • Sea Point

Johannesburg

Sixty60 available in Johannesburg map
  • Melrose
  • Bryanston

Here is the ad Checkers used to start marketing Sixty60 this week:

(Complied by Phillip de Wet)

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