SOUTH AFRICA – South African grocer Checkers, part of the Shoprite Group, has unveiled a smaller-format neighbourhood store concept under the banner, Checkers Foods.

The first Checkers Foods outlet opened at the Weltevreden Park Shopping Centre in Roodepoort, Gauteng, set across a sales area of 1,200m2.

The store has created 71 new jobs, and boasts an expanded fresh food offering with solution-based convenience ranges, curated to meet specific customer needs including lunch, braai, dinner or emergency purchases.

Conveniently located and ideal for quick top-up shops, Checkers Foods offers a broad range of exclusive brands including Forage & Feast and Simple Truth, a wine cellar, Starbucks and a bakery with artisan breads.

It also features a butchery with free range chicken and restaurant-quality steak and an impulse island – with ready-to-eat options such as fresh sushi and sandwiches

“We have spent a great deal of time to understand what our customers want and how they like to shop, and the new format Checkers Foods neighbourhood store was designed with the customer at the forefront.

“The result is an improved shopping experience with fantastic fresh foods on offer, together with the convenience, quality, value and competitive pricing customers have come to expect from Checkers,” commented Willem Hunlun, chief operating officer at Checkers.

Three more Checkers Foods outlets are scheduled to open in early 2022, in Westlake, Franschhoek (both in the Western Cape) and Ballito (in KwaZulu-Natal), the retailer confirmed.

Pick n Pay upgrades Whatsapp services

Meanwhile, competitor, Pick n Pay, has selected Clickatell, a leader in mobile communications and chat commerce, to manage its WhatsApp customer communication channel.

Customers can easily access the retailer’s services by sending a prompt message to a dedicated number, which cues an easy to navigate menu that allows shoppers to choose which action they want to perform.

This partnership between will enable customers to manage their Smart Shopper status and details via WhatsApp.

This includes the ability for Pick n Pay’s nine million active Smart Shoppers to view their loyalty points balance, block their lost or stolen cards, as well as order card replacements. Also, customers can quickly and easily update their personal details and enter competitions.

“We are constantly looking to improve our customer service and to make it easier for our customers to engage with us.

“WhatsApp is a popular communication channel so it made sense to launch a chat option for our customers to engage with us whenever they choose.

“Customers are loving the WhatsApp messaging function and the opportunity to get store or Smart Shopper information within seconds,” says John Bradshaw, Head of Omnichannel at Pick n Pay.

The Pick n Pay WhatsApp channel currently hosts catalogues, COVID-19 FAQs, store locator, Smart Shopper card services and other customer services options.

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