SOUTH AFRICA – Seeming like a timely undertaking, a new online shopping website for alcohol, has launched in South Africa, just days after the country moved to the Adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown.

Under the new directives, booze is once again available for purchase for offsite consumption between 10:00 Hrs and 18:00 Hrs, Monday to Thursday and onsite consumption from 10 Hrs to 20:00 Hrs.

Despite the resumption of alcohol sales, has been introduced to foster a convenient, efficient and safe way of undertaking purchases.

The digital platform caters to the need for an e-commerce portal that can service both direct-to-customer (D2C) and high-volume business-to-business (B2B) requirements, and is the result of a collaboration of expertise from key players in the liquor and entertainment industries.

The Cape Town-based, forms part of bar and beverage business Cascade Holdings, the brain child of entrepreneurs Adam Chaskalson, Tyrone Lasarow, Shaun Duwe and Allen Jaffe.

“Liquor, in particular, is something that should be easy to order from the comfort of your home.”

Co-Founder – Adam Chaskalson

Chaskalson and Lasarow previously owned one of Cape Town’s largest mobile bar companies, and have experience on the product-development and logistics side, while Duwe has an in-depth understanding of how SA’s alcohol and entertainment landscape fits together.

Jaffe is part of a team that heads up eComplete, an e-commerce solutions firm that helps local retailers and small businesses build and maintain an online store.

The new liquor portal comes as SA’s e-commerce sales reached a tipping point last year, growing by 66% to total online retail revenue of R30.2 billion, according to research firm World Wide Worx.

Chaskalson believes there is still a gap in the South African e-shopping market for this type of offering, as the food and beverage trade is still mainly ordering using a frustrating, antiquated, archaic mechanism, which still includes fax.

“Since COVID-19, the world has moved to online platforms when it comes to meetings, shopping and anything that gives people a sense of security in terms of not being in crowds or having to drive somewhere.

“Liquor, in particular, is something that should be easy to order from the comfort of your home,” he comments.

The team of entrepreneurs created two separate websites under the domain.

“The B2C interface is exciting, but the B2B side perhaps even more so. Our platform will enable businesses to order using a self-service approach with easy-to-use functionality, which in the past hasn’t been available,” Duwe points out.

Food and beverage managers can login to the back-end portal, select their own products and volumes, or re-order their last order.

According to Duwe, is not driven by traditional liquor retailers trying to do e-commerce for the first time, nor is it being run by digital specialists who are just making a go at the liquor market with no skin in the game.

“It is a wholly online-only offering for the local liquor market, run by professionals with pedigree in the liquor trade as well as the digital landscape. Essentially, tech is one part of the puzzle, but supply, merchandising and customer support are all crucial too,” says Duwe.

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