New online grocery shopping service launches in Qatar

Photo for illustrative purposes only

Doha Sooq

Photo for illustrative purposes only

Hoping to save residents the headache of battling traffic, navigating a busy grocery store and juggling multiple shopping bags at once, a new online supermarket and home delivery service has launched in Qatar.

E-commerce site Doha Sooq has teamed up with grocery chain Grand Mart to launch the website, which debuted last month.

In a statement, Mohamed Intiqab Rawoof, manager of the IT group of Grand Mart, said:

“People always shop. It doesn’t stop. We are here to make their experience better and the online supermarket is designed and implemented to provide a seamless shopping experience.

People are changing their buying habits. From retail stores to online shopping carts, it’s only a matter of time before the online shopping store becomes a popular option among consumers in Qatar.”

Items for sale includes fashion, jewelry, gifts and electronics in addition to fresh and packaged food.

Doha Sooq now sells 4,000 items, 475 of which are food goods.

This is set to more than double with 2,500 separate food lines in the coming month, a website official told Doha News.

The new site will join a number of other online grocery ordering services that have launched in Qatar in recent years, including eGrab, which started as an app last August, and FreshQatar, which provides online shopping and delivery to select areas inside Doha, although with a minimum order of QR100.

There is also the app Baqaala, currently available on Android, where customers can order groceries from local mini-markets or supermarkets, and get them delivered to their home in 30 minutes, its website says.

How it works

With Doha Sooq, customers can register their details, then get shopping.

The orders are compiled by Grand Mart staff, who check to ensure that all products have valid expiry dates and are of good quality, Hussain Mohammed Hasan, E-commerce specialist at Doha Sooq, said.

Speaking to Doha News, he added:

“We are adding new products daily to the site. By one month’s time, we will have 10,000 products for sale.

Grand Mart staff will check every order before it goes out, and all deliveries will be made in their refrigerated vans.”

The online system should highlight stock levels. If an item turns out to be out of stock after ordering, Grand Mart staff would call the customer to ask if they would like an alternative item or a refund.

Customers can pay by credit or debit card online. A cash-on-delivery option is planned to launch “soon.” For the launch period, customers can get a 2.5 percent discount on their total bill, Hasan said.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Tim Reckmann/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At check-out, shoppers can also choose their preferred delivery slot. Orders worth more than QR50 have free delivery, while those less than that have a QR15 delivery charge.

The site organizers aim for same-day delivery – with a four-hour target from ordering, although orders made after 8pm will be delivered the following morning.

“This is for customers’ convenience, and to give Grand Mart greater visibility in the market. In our research, everyone told us about problems with traffic, with parking. Shopping online is much more convenience and easier,” Hasan added.

Slow take-up

While already very popular in some countries, online shopping – especially for food – has yet to really take off in Qatar.

A number of supermarkets have been talking about launching such services in Qatar, but this has yet to take place.

Lulu has online shopping and delivery in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but Qatar-based customers can’t use its website for home delivery yet.

Instead, they can order and pay online, and collect the food order at Lulu Express in Education City.

Speaking to Doha News, a representative for the hypermarket chain said they hoped to launch a full online food ordering and delivery service in Qatar “soon.”

Other supermarkets, such as Spinneys and Geant, have online food shopping systems for other countries in the Middle East, but not yet in Qatar.

Would you use an online food shopping and delivery service? Thoughts?

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