Fin Tech Focus

Future of shopping

October 9 - 15, 2019

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly Future of shopping

LuLu Hypermarket Bahrain launched its online shopping platform with an innovative system that integrates personal shoppers into two of their existing stores and a fleet of six specially designed trucks.

The launch at Ramli Mall was inaugurated by Ali Abdul Hussain Makki, assistant undersecretary of Commercial Registration & Companies, Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Tourism and Abdulaziz Mohammed Ali Al Ashraf, assistant undersecretary for Control & Resources, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism along with Maram Mukhtar Almahmeed, director of information systems, Ministry of Industry and Commerce & Tourism, in the presence of Lulu Group executive director, Ashraf Ali M.A and director Juzer Rupawala.

Having had a soft launch a few months with selected products, more than 20,000 items are now available ranging from appliances, computers, kitchen products, fresh food and groceries for purchase on and the Lulu Shopping mobile app.

Ashraf, who is leading the retail giant’s online push, said:  “The Lulu online shopping experience carries the same brand promise of quality, affordability and customer service excellence as our iconic stores around the world – with the added value of convenience. “The platform, which was first deployed in Dubai, UAE, has a clean interface, with special online exclusives. The app auto-detects location to show shoppers the most relevant inventory of items.”

What surprises one is the wide variety of fresh meat, fish and vegetables available. The weight is pre-determined to ensure freshness and order-delivery efficiency. Even food items like fresh juice, deli items and salads are available.

The platform has an array of e-payment gateways available for quickly and securely paying for one’s order. As soon as the order is in, the fresh items all packed to order at Ramli Mall or Hidd. A personal shopper walks through the store, collecting the items as though shopping for themselves and once the order is collected and processed, it is dispatched via trucks that have separate cold zones for frozen, fresh and non-perishable items.

Stuart Davidge, group operations manager, noted in comments to the GulfWeekly: “Under Mr Ali, the operations team, with its know-how of existing processes, came together with the IT teams to build a platform that easily integrates into existing operations.

“We wanted a system that can deliver same day service, provided customers order early in the day yet robust enough to scale easily as more people start shopping online. We are also planning express delivery options by the end of the year.”

When ordering, customers can choose the best three-hour time slot to have their order delivered, ranging from 11am to 9pm, over the next four days. This convenience will be further improved in the coming months with additional shorter time slots and up to 25 trucks in total.

Additionally, many items are available for click-and-collect, where you can shop online beforehand and simply pick up your items at the store, saving valuable shopping time.

Currently, there is no minimum order required and a nominal BD1 fee was added for delivery regardless of the order size during several tests done by the GulfWeekly.

In response to a question about cash-on-delivery, Ashraf said: “This is not an option we currently have, but we are exploring this along with express delivery on motorbikes.”

The platform which was initially deployed in Dubai has been welcomed by customers and the company is making around 15,000 deliveries per month in the metropolis, according to Ashraf.

Ali Abdul Hussain added: “E-commerce is the future. The ministry has laid the infrastructure for expansion in e-commerce transactions with strong legislation and easy of doing business. We are eager and happy to see yet another retail giant in Bahrain enter the online space with such a robust platform.”

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