A new cloud-based delivery system is now in town. Weelo connects customers to its nearest partner supermarkets, and the users can then shop using the app available on Google Play and the App Store. While the biggest challenge facing the new company is gaining the trust of the supermarkets themselves, Weelo already has some 4,000 users and is growing.
Mohamed Asfour, fouder and CEO, and Sophia Korayim, co-founder and COO, spoke to Daily News Egypt about their initiative, their experience and their future plans.
Can you start by explaining to us what Weelo is and what services it offers?
Korayim: Weelo is a new cloud-based delivery platform that helps supermarkets digitise the order and delivery process. Through the Weelo application, we connect customers to the nearest Weelo partner supermarkets. Our partner supermarkets receive technology that helps them streamline their order and delivery process. They also receive access to dashboard and analytics, back office, and customer support, and they receive a real-time inventory management system. Weelo helps digitise traditional supermarkets, chains, and hypermarkets so they can access online customers.
How can customers purchase through the Weelo application?
Asfour: You can download Weelo on Google Play or the App Store in both English and Arabic versions. With Weelo, customers can browse thousands of products from the app on their smartphone from their nearest supermarket, select the groceries they want, and place an order from the comfort of their homes. Once the order is ready, Weelo drivers deliver to our happy customers in 45 minutes.
Are you buying from certain stores or from stores chosen by the customer?
Korayim: Weelo connects its customers to the nearest supermarket through geo location technology. Customers will receive their orders from a selected Weelo partner supermarket that is closest to their area so customers can receive their order in 45 minutes.
How many customers are currently online?
Asfour: We have 4,000 customers and more new users every day. We are also proud to announce that Weelo is currently featured in the App Store in Egypt this week under “New Apps We Love”. We are honoured and extremely proud that our app was selected by Apple. Each week, the local App Store editors determine the best—and most relevant—apps for their specific users. By having humans choose the apps, Apple ensures that the featured apps will be the ones most likely to appeal to local users. This accomplishment validates our technology as well as recognises that our app has an excellent user experience for our customers.
Did the demand for your services increase due to the month of Ramadan?
Korayim: Ramadan is always a busy month. We have peak times before iftar and mainly on weekends.
Do you fulfil purchases and deliveries to any place in Egypt?
Asfour: We currently deliver to residents of New Cairo in Al Yasmeen, El Banafseg, and Al Rehab areas; residents of Sixth of October in El Motamayez District, 7th district, 1st district, 2nd district, Bashayer, andSheikh Zayed. Weelo also delivers to the following compounds: Beverly Hills, Khamayel, Zayed 2000, El Mohandessin, Palm Hills, and more. We will be launching in new areas during Ramadan, covering the Third and Fifth Settlements in New Cairo. By the end of the year, we aim to expand our service throughout Cairo and Giza.
What are the most important features of your future plans?
Korayim: We plan to include personalised shopper services, as well as online payment and e-wallet functionality. We also plan to introduce a Weelo web-based platform as well as build an AI assistant to enhance customer engagement.
Are there plans to get investments to finance your future expansions?
Asfour: We are currently seeking interested investors and venture capital firms to help us achieve our expansion plans over the coming 18 months.
Have you received offers for your acquisition?
Korayim: We have had positive responses and feedback from potential investors in the startup ecosystem and we are currently in talks with a few investors, some of which we are negotiating terms.
What are the most important challenges you have faced?
Asfour: One of the biggest challenges we faced was gaining trust from supermarkets. Lately, retailers all over the world have been showing great interest in online shopping or e-commerce and many supermarkets are searching for the best approach to maintain their reputation in providing the best shopping experience for their customers. Weelo shares this vision with our partner supermarkets and aims to help them achieve these goals. In doing so, we are able to provide the largest selection for our customers and deliver in 45 minutes.
You are involved in helping students in Egypt benefit from Marj3. Can you explain this
experience to us?
Korayim: Weelo currently delivers in two main locations in Egypt: New Cairo and Sixth of October. These areas are populated with university students and, interestingly enough, we have found that many of them are our customers. They mainly order late night snacks, sweets, and dinks that they need delivered in 45 minutes. We wanted to help give back to these students and support them through a fun competition. So we launched the Great Grocery Giveaway Competition’in partnership with Marj3. Any student enrolled in university living in New Cairo or Sixth of October could enter the competition to win thousands of Egyptian pounds in cash to help them buy groceries. We wanted to support them while they are enrolled at universities. In the future, we plan to offer Weelo scholarships and many more initiatives to help student activities. The future of Egypt is in its youth.
Have you launched initiatives to support student activities? Can you tell us about them?
Asfour: Weelo also supports many other student activities in various universities in Egypt. Weelo proudly announces its partnership with Enactus Misr University For Science and Technology (MUST) and MUST Medical Students’ Association – MUST International Research Congress as part of the Weelo ambassadors initiative that supports the students activity scene in universities by giving them a real opportunity to compete in the market and bring their skills to action.
Weelo also offers multiple opportunities available for students and fresh graduates. Our undergraduate internship programme allows students to learn an assortment of functions and they can benefit from learning beyond the classroom when they gain hands-on experience. Based on successful performance and the talent needs of our business, interns may have the opportunity to become full-time Weelo employees.