Lobels Bakery now allows you to order your bread and other baked goodies via their WhatsApp service. Unlike most WhatsApp ordering services that are manned here you interact with a bot and the entire process is automated.
I recently moved to a somewhat posh suburb from the ghetto and one of my biggest gripes has been how far it is to get to the nearest shop. In the ghetto, there is at least one tuckshop on every street and often there is more than one. Now I have to walk more than 1 kilometre in order for me to get my bread every morning. This service is therefore going to be a godsend to people like me.
How it works?
The process itself is pretty simple although there are a few tricky bits that we will cover below. To use the service you have to follow these steps:
- Save the number +263 719 488 183 in your contacts
- Send a message e.g “Hi”
- Select option 1
- Now, this is the tricky part. You will be presented with a menu of items as well as their relevant prices. You will have to type in the quantity you want to buy followed by @ and then the name of the item in small letters.
- For example, 4@jam bun means you want 4 Jam Buns.
- For multiple items separate your order using commas.
- For example, if you want 5 loaves of white bread, 2 high fibre loaves and 5 Jam buns your order would be: 5@prime white loaf,2@high fibre,5@jam buns
- You will then be asked to enter your address in the specified format
- The final step is payment, you can pay for the order using Ecocash or select cash on delivery. If you opt for Ecocash you will have to enter your number
- A prompt will be sent to your phone and you will be asked to confirm the amount and enter your pin
- Your order will be completed
Lobels will deliver your order the following morning as long as you place your order before 16:00 hours each day. Delivery is also free but the minimum order is 10 loaves but since they sell more than just bread one can surmise that as long as the value of the order is equal to or exceeds the value of 10 loaves it will be delivered.
The good and the bad
This is a great initiative and I like how the process can be completed from within WhatsApp. We are always saying it here and it’s worth repeating. In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp is the internet. The majority of people with smartphones only use WhatsApp and this makes Lobels’s offering a shrewd one.
Free delivery is another big draw here. Lobels is probably banking on the fact that they already a pretty extensive delivery network that services neighbourhood shops. These trucks will only have to drive a short distance from whatever shop they are delivering to in order to reach customers. This makes it cheaper than only delivering to customers as other services do.
The ordering process takes some getting used to especially the selection part. It would have been easier to have a customer select an option and specify quantity, go back and select another option and select quantity. That process would be longer but it would be less confusing to execute.
Another drawback is the fact that you have to wait until the following day. Baker’s Inn has more options here. If you order directly from Baker’s Inn you get your delivery the following morning for free or if you are in a Dial A Delivery neighbourhood you pay about US$2 and your order is delivered within 60 minutes.