elGrocer reflects on its learnings from Covid-19 and focuses on its continuous growth and the future of the industry.

JUNE 2020: As part of the brand’s commitment to its philosophy of ‘Customers Deserve Better’, on-demand grocery delivery business, elGrocer, talks frankly about difficulties faced during Covid-19, putting its Covid-19 learnings into action and focusing on its future; concentrating on sustainable growth, ensuring an ever improving and memorable experience for shoppers.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, many residents opted to stay home and shop online in a bid to adhere to the prevention protocol. These unprecedented circumstances led to a huge spike in the demand for online grocery and in turn supermarkets, hypermarkets and e-grocer portals faced logistical difficulties to fulfil and keep up with the increased momentum. This surge in online shopping resulted in customer frustration and raising complaints about their e-commerce experience. Here to discuss the challenges faced openly and transparently is none other than elGrocer

The Impact Of Covid-19

As online shopping became a part of consumers’ daily routine during the pandemic, the entire industry was placed into the spotlight. With complaints ranging from delays in delivery time to items being out of stock, Raed Hafez, CEO of elGrocer, candidly comments:

“We are sorry that some of our customers faced difficulties on our platform during Covid-19. The lockdown had an unprecedented impact on our business and like many other brands, we were somewhat caught by surprise. Always striving to give consumers the utmost in delivery service, as a response, the team worked around the clock to manage the situation as best as possible, but unfortunately, we did see cases where things were not perfect.”

Working As A Team To Provide Customers With Solutions

“As a start-up, the team worked quickly to manage the situation. In a span of a few days, our business transformed from a convenience driven business to an essential service. Our team took this new mission seriously and worked tirelessly to adapt and meet the surge in demand. We wanted to make sure that our service was available and working for all citizens and residents. Overall, our team did a phenomenal job during these growing pains and in those occasions where we fell short, the team took corrective measures and provided feedback to the customer.” 

Guaranteeing a smooth experience for users, a number of measures were implemented, including: 

  • Growing and training the operations and customer service teams in record time. 
  • Tripling the number of the field teams, also known as elGrocer heroes, as they were the fleet ensuring the daily delivery of orders. 
  • Several tech upgrades in a matter of days to increase capacity and introduce key new capabilities as necessitated by the ‘new normal’. 
  • Partnering up with mid to large retailers allowing elGrocer to give consumers more variety and spread the amount of orders across the various retailers, locations and areas. 

Always looking to learn from experience, Raed Hafez highlights the importance of a resilient team that is strongly held together by the same values and principles. “There were moments of uncertainties, but we were able to sail though it since we came together as a team and evaluated and designed plans for the situation. Being fast and agile as a start-up was our biggest advantage that helped us quickly adapt to the new reality and creatively implement solutions. We are fortunate to be in a country that empowers, motivates, and encourages entrepreneurship spirit, and this is what has made all the difference in finding quick solutions to our challenges.”

What’s Next For elGrocer?

Whilst social restrictions may have caused some growing pains, they have also accelerated the growth and adoption of the online grocery concept. As restrictions begin to be lifted, some behavioural habits are expected to linger on, with ordering groceries online becoming the new normal. 

With this, elGrocer now looks at pivoting the business to sustain and evolve. Nader Amiri, founder of elGrocer, explains:

“2020 will be the year of e-grocery. We see online groceries as the new frontier and at elGrocer, taking on board the learnings from the last couple of months, we believe we have the right technology and right partner to simplify the lives of consumers in the UAE.” 

Now, elGrocer is focusing mainly on operations, technology and people. This includes:

  • Delivery to all 7 Emirates (the first platform of its kinds to do so).
  • Continuous training and education to serve the increasing number of orders. 
  • Timely fulfilment.
  • Competitive price points and exclusive online promotions. 
  • Signing up speciality partners such as Eataly, Marks & Spencer, Bread & Co and more.
  • Being responsible towards people and abiding to all types of health and safety measures.
  • Enabling contactless online payments. 
  • AI powered consumer experience.

Stronger than ever, elGrocer continues to be the one-stop-shop for all online grocery needs and will continue to set new benchmarks across the e-commerce landscape.