Long queues, screaming toddlers and having a trolley shoved in your ankle are some of the things that make grocery shopping a nightmare most of us would rather not have to go through. But thanks to a team of young entrepreneurs, you may hardly ever have to step inside a supermarket again.
Developer Tawanda Makunike and entrepreneur Vusi Mbokane, the guys behind big data analytics startup BuiSoft, today launched a shopping service called eButler.
Basically, users request eButler to do their grocery shopping for them, whether large or small, select which items they want and eButler will send a butler to pick the items up and an UberX vehicle will collect the groceries and deliver it to your house.
“The concept for eButler came about last year when I had the idea to build an online mall app,” Mbokane says. “My intention was to have all the inventory from the stores available on an online platform in real time. The concept proved a bit too much to execute so Tawanda and I dumbed it down to get a simple aggregated ecommerce platform for groceries.”
eButler is mainly targeted at busy consumers who normally don’t have enough time to get all their shopping done conveniently.
The service depends on BuiSoft’s data analytics API to anticipate what you want to buy, to save you having to fill out the tedious online shopping sites that are used by supermarkets. It’ll come up with product recommendations and personalised product display based on what’s available in it database and pre-populate a list of groceries which you can review and then order in a few clicks.
And to make things even easier, you don’t need to request the delivery to be made to you as the butler will do so from their own account, on your behalf.
The only ads and promos you’ll see will be for products that appear on your eButler grocery list, apparently.
“We aim to deliver an exceptional service to the consumer by making it as personal as possible, and eventually charge a low delivery fee as the platform grows,” Mbokane says.
eButler partnered with Uber as the taxi-hailing app company has a similar on-demand business model, “an on-demand butler needs an on-demand driver”, he adds.
You can pre-order your groceries during the day and set a particular time when you want have them delivered to your home later on.
At the moment, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths Food are the only food chains featured on eButler. “We are relying on machine learning to map out the nearest retailer to the user,” Mbokane says.
If you’re satisfied with the service, you can rate it, giving eButler an idea of what they can improve and what they are doing right.
As for how much all this will cost you, Mbokane says the shopping service is bundled with the Uber delivery fee and that eButler is looking at a average charge of R130. “The fee will vary based on the time of day, month and any other special requests,” he adds. “But it’s aimed at saving the consumer time and money.”
You’ll have the choice between paying via credit card or instant electronic funds transfer (EFT).
“We’ll be launching mobile apps for all platforms in the coming months to make it as convenient as possible for users to request the service,” says Makunike.
Sign up for eButler here for free to get started.[Image – CC 0 by Public Domain]