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Some quick facts on the Econet EcoShopper service and App

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After all the promises made and all the work being put into its mobile money service, EcoCash bound to happen eventually. Econet is now giving online retailing a shot with the new service and application called EcoShopper that was launched today.

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How do I access the service?

There is an Android app

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EcoShopper-AppEcoShopper (which is obviously powered by EcoCash) is available through an Android application that is already available for download on the Google Play Store. It offers shopping options through six different baskets or preset options which are priced at $20 (Quick Meal), $30 (Budget Shopper), $40(Weekend Warrior), $60 (Weekly Supplies) $150 (Monthly Basics) and $299.

Econet Executives
Dr Jimmy Shindi, Head of Econet Services speaking at the launch of EcoShopper

According to EcoCash executives, an iOS app is slated for launch in the next two weeks and some members of the technical team are working on a Windows App set for launch in the short term as well.

There is USSD access which is available on the EcoCash menu. Dial *151# and select the option for sending money. There is an option for EcoCash groceries which will ask for the recipient’s phone number.

Another alternative is to go to the website www.ecoshopper.co.zw and buy your basket there, together with a specification of the person who will pick up the groceries.

Something in there for small scale entrepreneurs?

The $299 basket called Grow Your Own is targeted at poultry production with a combination of stock feed and day old chicks. This was an easy way for Natfoods to push its product but also gives Econet a chance to facilitate the most common SME enterprise, the poultry project.

Econet isn’t a retailer or an expert in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) which explains the relationships that are being leveraged on to make it work. The partner for this launch phase is National Foods which is why products from the producer such as rice, cooking oil, flour, peanut and popcorn are in each of the baskets.

The delivery points are specific Natfoods depots 

The service doesn’t offer delivery of purchased goods, something that Econet has sidelined instead for a collection system. The executives did hint on an extension of that service but not anytime soon. In the mean time there are delivery depots in 7 provinces; Harare, Bulawayo Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo and Matebeleland.

Specific depots for each city and town in each province are available on the website.

Prices are meant to compete with retailers

The issue of cost is a big issue for any e-tailing service, which is why Econet cut out the retailer altogether. We haven’t compared the different prices from local retailers, but Econet and Natfoods have said that they have priced these groceries competitively to account for the wholesale discount.

More partnerships are on the way

According to Natalie Jabangwe, a senior executive from Econet Services, EcoShopper is exploring partnerships with other producers so as to expand the service’s product suite. This makes sense because of the limited product range.

The EcoShopper website isn’t zero-rated

Accessing the EcoShopper website will still cost you in terms of data, something that you might want to add to the cost of that basket. Econet has said that the move to make access to the e–commerce free is being explored.


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16 thoughts on “Some quick facts on the Econet EcoShopper service and App

    1. Have you seen/read or attended the launch show ….. read the product faetures it is positioned for sending purpose or kind of “Groceries Remittance” from City to village etc , buy for others … not for you and me who can drive and buy

      1. Even when you are sending to someone the fact that the grocery is in a basket already packed and to be collected at certain points. I would rather send cash and the person will buy what they need at those collection points. So the difference is the same. Delivering is the game changer.

        1. Does any of the following words/phrases mean anything to you:
          incremental, ship it, fail fast fail often.. I could go on and on.

          Its nearly impossible to launch a product/service that does everything from the onset. You start with a minimum viable product/service, launch it and then enhance + add/remove stuffs.

  1. There is a need to zero rate access to the website and App since the main purpose of the consumer is to make a purchase. I guess they already made the USSD access to Ecoshopper via Ecosha of course. I see Ecoshopper being convenient for those in the rural arears whereby one can save busfare and time. Just wondering the possiblity of making Ecocash purchase directly from Amozon, Alibaba, etc without the hassle of those virtual card number .blah blah..

  2. A problem is always an opportunity to create a business. So here’s a business opportunity for the enterprising. Offer delivery services to EcoShopper customers!

  3. Makes sense why they didnt open up their Ecocash API.

    They want to cover & exhaust every entrepreneurial corner possible.

    No chance for any up and coming m-commerce business.

    Well,… its because they can!

  4. Well done Econet and National Foods. I like the idea it saves time although delivery would make the whole idea more appealing.

  5. Simple logistical solution.. 3 wheeler Motorbike, factor it into the cost; negligible cost.. send me my $5 airtime consultancy fee !!

  6. This is a very interesting concept. I see it as a “do not send cash, but send groceries” option. Where you are trying to manage the lifestyles of your own folks. Kind like you are being your own local donor agency by supplying the food provisions.

  7. More pick up points are needed or you deliever the baskets to the customer. I cannot go to a Nat Foods depot in workington whilst there’s an OK, Pick n Pay supermarket nearby.

  8. One needs understand the buying trends and pattern for zimbos , for example online buying , trends and demographic that drive people to buy online or order goods or services. Trust in the system as well plays a big role , up until systems have been put in place to have society trust such shops. BRICK and motor will always be there . Strategy could have gone through working with the already setup brick and motor shops . ok , tm etc.
    The shops will then push their products to their portal they have a better understanding of buying trends and demands of products and goods. This econet will make money through 2 or 3 verticals . One commission based charges on all goods sold on their site.. they don’t need to be in the business of groceries . Instead they become the vehicle to their targeted market. value proposition is in creating an ecosystem that will allow them to make more money from their subscribers by simply linking a service from the already shops to their users. imagine econet subscribers being able to buy staff on this portal from tm . ok spar. . instead of playing the business why dont you become the road to channel traffic from ur subscribers to the shops and u make your money through commissions , adverts and ecocash payment platform .. bottom up approach

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