THE COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the world to maximise the use of digital platforms. One supermarket that is making good use of this is SuperQuality.
With locations in the Trincity Industryal Estate, Couva and Chaguanas, the supermarket has launched its e-commerce store, where customers will be able to access goods and services with the click of a button from the comfort of their home.
Director of of e-commerce at SuperQuality, Dion Khan told Express Business that technology and innovation have always been his main focus for the group’s supermarkets.
Khan explained that as far back as 1999 the aim was to introduce the e-commerce platform for their consumers.
SuperQuality, he said, was one of the first independent supermarkets in T&T to install computerised cash registers.
“When Covid landed on our doorsteps in March 2020 it accelerated the process for the supermarket to jump on an e-commerce platform, especially as citizens were sceptical about physically going into establishments and preferred items to be delivered at their doorstep.”
Khan said the platform is easy to access and very user-friendly.
“Our website can be sorted by brand, category and even dietary needs. If you are diabetic, we have products identified as ‘no added sugar’ or even ‘low sugar’.
“For vegans, our products are identified easily. We have even integrated recipes to make tonight’s dinner a breeze with one click. You can schedule your click and collect the order for pickup in two hours or less and up to seven days in advance.”
Khan said that platform was launched in April 2021 and between 200-300 persons a day visit the website.
He said the platform was developed locally in 18 months.
His father Feeroz Khan, chairman of SuperQuality, chimed in and said the aim was to limit foot traffic in the supermarket stores and once customers learned about the platform they began utilising it.
“We have also partnered with a delivery service called Voosh that delivers the grocery items to any part of the country for just $20 and we subsidise the other $20.
“A feature that has been added is that the customers can track where the delivery driver has reached with the items and a photo of the driver is also made available so that people are aware who is delivering their goods.”
The senior Khan said Scotiabank Visa Aero Credit and Republic Bank Visa Debit Linx (new chip card) customers are unable to shop online.
The banks said they are working to rectify this issue and make their cards compatible for online purchases.
“Another important point is the security measures when using your credit card on the platform. When you place the purchased items on to your cart, the money is not deducted from your bank account until the goods are delivered to your doorstep,” Khan said.
Feeroz Khan said foreign exchange continues to be a great challenge. Fortunately for SuperQuality their international partners are very understanding about the situation and continue to facilitate them.
“There are others we have to pay in advance to get deliveries, so we have had to manage that.
“This situation is not something that can be solved overnight. But we are working with the challenges as this issue has gotten worse in the past six months.
“It is evident in the restrictions that have been placed on the credit cards to access the US dollars.”
Dion Khan noted that there have been some delays with restocking the shelves on a timely basis due to the delays with containers on the Port of Port of Spain and issues internationally as well.
But he quickly stated that the supermarket is managing this.
Asked whether the supermarket chain has any intentions to raise the prices on their items, Khan said despite the challenges they are facing in accessing goods, that is not their intention at this time.
He said, “We are focused on offering deals to our consumers, because many would have lost their jobs during this pandemic, so our aim is to keep the prices affordable.”
Khan also noted that SuperQuality is working with farmers who usually supply produce to restaurants to supply the same to their supermarkets so that they can continue to earn an honest dollar.