Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Hi-Lo enters online grocery market

Published:Wednesday | November 17, 2021 | 12:05 AM

The Hi-Lo Food Store supermarket chain has formally entered the online grocery market space bearing goodies, in the form of discounts and prizes, that are intended to secure repeat sales from healthcare workers, civil servants and senior citizens.

The grocery retailer’s products can be accessed through its web page or from a mobile app. The business also currently offers delivery from six locations: Negril, Fairview in Montego Bay, Portmore, Barbican, Manor Park and Liguanea, and is looking to add locations to its list as the customer base grows.

To allay any potential concerns regarding prices, Hi-Lo has taken the decision to extend in-store offerings, including a 20 per cent discount as a ‘farmers’ market special’ to general shoppers on Thursdays, to its online customer base.

The seasoned brick-and-mortar business, which is owned by the GraceKennedy group, joins the likes of newbie Mailpac Local Grocery, whose enticements include the pitch that it can provide products at prices that are five to 15 per cent less than traditional stores and shops. Mailpac Group is in the business of courier services.

Both Mailpac and another grocery chain called Sampars have flirted with the idea of adding a virtual aisle-browsing feature to their online platforms, but so far only Mailpac Local has delivered the service.

Hi-Lo is focused on creating greater convenience for online shoppers, and as such, has created a system that allows customers to save grocery lists, ultimately facilitating quick reordering.

Its mobile app allows shoppers to scan the bar codes of items they wish to add to their grocery lists.

“Without a doubt, COVID-19 has served as a catalyst for Hi-Lo Online by increasing the demand for contactless shopping. Over the last few years, e-commerce has become an integral part of the global retail framework,” said CEO of GK Foods-Domestic Business, Frank James, in a company statement on the grocery platform.

“Statistics indicate that in 2020 e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019,” James added.

Up press time, the retailer did not provide comment on how many new hires it will take on to effectively manage the new business.

Hi-Lo’s plans of entering the e-commerce space date back to 2017 when the business was pumping cash into refreshing key stores. Two years later the retail chain launched a WhatsApp kerbside pick-up and home delivery service for customers of its Manor Park store who, at the time, were having challenges visiting the location largely due to roadworks in the area.