The Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has activated the Gateway Stream online grocery delivery service, which has a geographical reach in all the country’s provinces.
The new feature is expected to help the company hedge against coronavirus-related losses in its core business.
The emergence and rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe in the first quarter of 2020, has disrupted the global economy resulting in most countries implementing country lockdowns.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors. Research shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway, destinations worldwide still have Covid-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in place.
To this extent, hospitality business is likely to remain depressed going forward. According to UNWTO the pressure will only begin to ease around the last quarter of this year for some regions such as Africa and the Middle East with the rest of the globe expected to begin travelling in early 2021.
Through its Gateway Stream, RTG will have a softer landing from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its business. Globally, there has been a surge in internet-based online transaction rates as people move away from physical normal daily shopping patterns in compliance with national lockdowns.
RTG chief executive Tendai Madziwanyika said: “Locally, we have seen a change in customer buying behaviours as more people turn to online and digital platforms to access products and services especially groceries and other services delivered to their doorstep.
“Everyone wants a safe, reliable and convenient access to their grocery needs. We therefore see a huge opportunity in this space.”
Mr Madziwanyika said the group was repositioning and redefining itself, including looking beyond the traditional hospitality products and services.
“We are driven by the desire to create convenience, choice and value for our customers. The creation and development of the Gateway Stream has been a three-year journey. We are proud of this innovation and it is our hope to make it even bigger and better for our customers both locally and across the globe”.
Gateway Stream was formed in February 2018 as an integrated, versatile, innovative mobile and web-based application. At the time of its launch, it consisted of four sub-apps: Hotels, Homes and boats, Restaurants and online room auctions; all of which enabled users to book and pay for the four services.
By the end of 2018, and with further development, Gateway Stream consisted of nine sub-apps with the addition of holiday packages, Book-a-ride (taxi-hailing service) online, and events and venues.
The Covid-19 pandemic has gone some way in reshaping the internet commerce terrain and Zimbabweans are now more receptive to using the internet for conducting commerce transactions.
Official data from the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) shows that as at the end of 2019, 60.6 percent of Zimbabweans accessed the internet using their cellphones, giving the country one of the highest penetration rates on the continent.
Although the e-commerce industry is still in its infancy in Zimbabwe, there is rapid adoption by the market, which makes a grocery delivery service a timely solution for both the local and diaspora markets.
Mr Madziwanyika said of critical importance is that the Gateway Stream value creation model would see the diaspora market getting maximum value for their hard earned remittances to the country.
RTG has deployed teams to the country’s key regional hubs — Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Victoria Falls.
“We are able to deliver grocery orders within a 40km radius of these towns at an affordable charge. Our priority is to establish geographical reach to the less serviced regions” he added.
Since the launch of the online groceries service, Gateway Stream has made deliveries to Chipinge, Gokwe, Emganwini and Chivhu.
The group said it will soon offer hardware, building materials and agro implements on the platform.–herald.c.zw