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Monday, July 26, 2021

Lulu, QF launch trial of Qatar’s first direct online grocery service

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online shopping Tim Reckkmann Flickr

In response to demand for an online shopping and delivery service, Lulu Hypermarkets has partnered with Qatar Foundation (QF) to launch a trial version of the idea.

No timeline has been given for the start of this new service, which will initially be limited to the QF community, the foundation announced in a statement.

The groceries will come from Lulu’s Express store, located near staff housing, close to Education City. That market has been popular with residents of the surrounding community housing district since it opened in December 2010.

The trial will initially run through a portal dedicated to QF employees and their families. If successful, the plan is to expand the service to include other local and regional shops.

Currently, online grocery shopping and delivery services in Qatar are possible through sites such as freshqatar.com, but this will be the first time a supermarket chain has set up its own dedicated web ordering service here.

Online market

The number of online shopping/delivery options in Qatar is growing.

Spinneys grocery store, which recently opened a new branch at the Pearl-Qatar’s Medina Centrale district, has said it also plans to introduce a similar service in the country, although it has not given a date for when this might start.

Already established in Lebanon, the spinneysdelivery.com service is in the process of being rolled out across the region.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, IKEA announced plans to introduce online shopping and delivery, in which customers can access a limited section of the shop’s range via the company’s Qatar website.

Online shopping caution

Though popular in many parts of the world, online shopping appears to be eyed warily by most residents in Qatar.

While the internet is relied upon here for accessing news, online shopping remains a niche activity in Qatar, according to recent research by ictQATAR, which found that just 15 percent of residents bought items over the internet.

The ICT Landscape 2014: Households and Individuals report found that reluctance to embrace virtual shopping stemmed from a fear over lack of security of a shopper’s card details, a lack of personal control and a feeling that the process was too technical.

Complicating matters is the difficulty in using debit cards online in Qatar. The country’s central bank recently began enforcing restrictions on the use of these cards to improve cyber security.

In December last year, retail banks began notifying their customers that only credit cards would be able to be used for online transactions.

If more online shopping/delivery options were available in Qatar, would you use them? Thoughts?

15 COMMENTS

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MrJames
MrJames
7 years ago

This is an interesting one. I have some close ties to Ocado in the UK, actually the largest online food retailer in the world,and that also handles online shopping for the likes of Waitrose, John Lewis and Carrefour. Despite 14 years of trading, it’s never once generated a profit.

The potential for online food shopping in Qatar is huge, but fraught with difficulties All the reasons listed above are valid, but it’s also a logistical nightmare: just getting a valid, clear address is hard enough, without all the issues of online card transactions.

Good luck to them, but it sounds like, at least for a few years, this will be nothing more than a subsidised perk for the employees of QF.

PlanetCitizen
PlanetCitizen
7 years ago

Embracing online shopping will be difficult without allowing Debit transactions. Online debit purchases need to be rolled back with consistent improvements on cyber security in the banking sector…

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago

I’m not remotely interested in using my computer to submit an order for groceries when at present I can pick up my phone, call the shop near my compound, tell him exactly what I want and exactly when I need it, and he will drop it to my door. And if I don’t have any cash that day, no problem, I can pay next time.

How would Internet based shopping improve on that service?

rahidkader
rahidkader
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yes, you will have a better service coming up sooner. You will use your phone itself to order using an app. No more surprises, you can see the items, track them, and also your favorite cash on delivery available 🙂 The new service is called egrab (egrab.qa) yet to be launched.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

A good idea and likely a market demand for this in Qatar, but here are some problems–

1) Produce quality in Qatar varies enormously from day-to-day and within the piles of fruits and vegetables. Unlike Waitrose, a customer has to dig and sort to find good apples, potatoes, etc. (part of the challenge, because there is a certain joy in finding decent bunch of bananas or a dozen crisp and unblemished apples). I’d rather not let the store select my produce.

2) Stock levels and availability is sporadic at best compared to countries that operate online shopping services mentioned in the article. One week a grocery has bread flour and a favorite cereal, the next week it completely out. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I went to buy food with a list of a dozen items and they were all in stock. This is fine, because it forces me to try something else and is part of the adventure. This is true of store stocks across the country. Waitrose and other grocery-store based shopping services offer a ‘substitution’ option. Cultural differences would make me hesitant to let the stock boy in Lulu select what I want instead of my preferred breakfast cereal along with probably 50 percent of the other items on my list.

Basics like milk and eggs works fine for delivery, but, as already noted, compound and local small shops deliver already with quick phone call.

MrJames
MrJames
7 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

I know exactly what you mean about stock levels: I’ve been here 2 years, and beer/wine/booze in general seems to be permanently out of stock. I blame Ze Germans..

rahidkader
rahidkader
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

egrab.qa is a mobile app that would solve most of these issues. Stock is updated very often. You will get great prices and bundled offers. You can see the pictures of daily vegetables and add notes to it. Reviews from other shoppers etc.. and these comes from your favorite store that you choose, say Spinneys, Carrefour or whatever. Our staffs are well trained to select the produces and do exactly as per your advice.
The service is yet to be launched, expected in September. Hope you will give a try 🙂 thanks.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

I wouldn’t want to order online in Qatar as the standard of food varies hugely day to day.

Now if QDC delivered then that is something I would welcome.

Myrddin
Myrddin
7 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Now you’re talking. I’d happily pay a delivery charge to substitute the nerve-wrecking drive across town.

If QDC management are reading, this idea is a WINNER!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

Maybe we should all email QDC and make this suggestion. It would certainly reduce the burden on the most popular shop in Qatar. Either that or they need to open at least four more shops in different areas.

Cerebus
Cerebus
7 years ago

Beyond just the purchase of groceries, online shopping in Qatar is practically non-existent. Services like Amazon that are used all over the world cannot work here as the arduous customs and shipping restraints prevent the timely delivery of goods for which these services need in order to be successful. I do say, I miss the ability to order a book online and have it in my hands the following day, or a pair of shoes that actually fit (big feet seem to be unacceptable here, as they never have my size in stock), or clothes, a computer, etc. It will require some significant changes in business practices, to allow such a business to work, along with warehousing, storage, stocking, etc. All in all, the idea of online shopping, even if people were not confused by the process or scared of conducting online transactions, seems decades away.

Lesley Sharon Hughes
Lesley Sharon Hughes
7 years ago

On line shopping would help reduce the amount of traffic on the roads if deliveries could be made instead. We live close to CityCentre mall and do the main shopping at Carrefour but the quality of fresh produce isn’t as good as Monoprix or Megamart which means driving further to pick up our fruit and vegetables. I buy a lot of them as I like juicing so to have this delivered in bulk would be really helpful.

In the UK I shopped on line since the inception of online shopping and miss that here.

The debit card situation needs sorting out as I only use my debit card here and we’ve noticed a few problems when booking flights and hotel rooms on line.

rahidkader
rahidkader
6 years ago

The debit card issue will be sorted out sooner, its already working on some websites like q-tickets.com
Next time you will be able to order your fav groceries online with cash on delivery at your convenience as little as an hour using an app and we are working on. You can choose your stores like Monoprix, Megamart, Carrefour etc.. and even consolidate the orders from different stores and we deliver it to you. egrab.qa is yet to be launched and you will be amazed with the experience 🙂 Hope all your support and prayers, thanks

Fryderyk Bukoski
6 years ago

It is a nice concept, I want to say a big thanks Lulu and QF, appreciate your thinking. It seems to me that the idea becomes get huge popularity in future. I recommend your idea to my favorite online shop Hurtownie wólka kosowska to start it immediately.

Spark Qatarcom
5 years ago

Hello,
Spark Lifestyle Electronics Online Shopping recently started operation in Qatar. Now Qatar’s can buy Smartphone, Laptop, Tables, TV, Cameras, Domestic Appliances, Home Appliances, order Cakes and Electronic at cheaper price from sparkqatar.com. Spark offers everything from deal of the week, Now Spark Electronics is largest of e-commerce of Qatar. visit our website: http://www.sparkqatar.com

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