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OneCart – do you really buy it?

OneCart – do you really buy it?

Ever heard of OneCart – after this you’ll wonder how you missed it!

In short, OneCart is an on-demand concierge and delivery platform that simplifies the shopping for and the delivery of groceries, pharmaceuticals and many other essentials from local retailers in the major cities of South Africa.

OneCart lets you shop online for household items from your favourite stores, similarly to the way you would when you actually physically go to a shop. You can then choose to have your order delivered within two hours of purchase, or you can pick your preferred time of delivery.

Does this just sound too easy? It gets better…

Retailers are displayed based on your geographical location and the option to shop at multiple stores online not only replicates an in-store offline shopping experience, but also saves time.

“Lynton Peters, our CEO originally came up with the concept because he wanted to create a solution to allow consumers to shop for groceries online, the same way that they are likely to shop in the physical world,” says Tay Zombulovich, CTO of OneCart. “At the time, no solution existed to allow a consumer to purchase online, from multiple stores, on one platform, and then get it delivered when it suited their schedule – so we set out to create it.

The main purpose for establishing the business, says Zombulovich, was to solve the problem of online grocery and delivery services, so that people actually have the time to spend on doing the things that they love, instead of the mundane tasks.

But how does it work?

By using the app or logging in online, customers can order groceries and daily essentials by choosing to shop from one or more of the stores in their area.

The trick is geography! Because OneCart shoppers are in the vicinity of where their purchase was made, drivers can pick up and drop off without delay.

What’s the damage?

“We charge a concierge/service fee to the consumer,” explains Zombulovich. “This then pays for the cost of pickers, and our the customer support team.

“We also charge a delivery fee: the base delivery fee for one store is R45 and we charge R30 per additional store that is located within the same mall.”

More importantly, customer service is guaranteed.

Okay, so let’s get into the technical stuff…

Initially a mobile-first web platform, OneCart quickly expanded into fully native Android and iOS applications. From 2017 until now the platform expanded from 30 to over 2500 orders a month with continuing steady growth. So 2 500 orders can’t be wrong…

In order to support this growth, OneCart 2.0 is being developed in Amazon Web Services Cloud, and OneCart developers will be specifically making use of AWS Elastic Beanstalk, an easy-to-use service for deploying and scaling web applications and services.

They are also making use of Amazon’s Relational Database Services (RDS) to manage their customer database.

Other services that they are still exploring include AWS Lambda instances to run code without provisioning or managing servers and Amazon CloudFront to speed up distribution of their dynamic web content.

OneCart 2.0 in AWS cloud

At the end of 2018, once OneCart had a well-established business model, the company decided that it was time to build for scale. “We undertook a project to build OneCart 2.0, a highly scalable platform, built using a best of breed and very popular tech stack,” explains Zombulovich.

“With the AWS Cloud Region making their way into the South African landscape, it was a no brainer move for us. We started off by launching some free instances of different services through the AWS Console, playing around and testing the functionality of those services.

“After we had done sufficient testing, we decided on the exact setup we would be using for the initial launch of our new platform and the route towards our ultimate set-up. Currently, we are completing the development of our new platform and testing it.

Being a start-up and having to keep an eye on every cent that we spend, the AWS cloud gave us access to a whole host of enterprise infrastructure and services at a fraction of the cost.

“It is fast, highly scalable, extremely reliable, secure and offers us the flexibility to choose exactly what services we want to use and when.”


To read more on AWS, click here.


Pic credit:

Clare Petra Matthes

Hi, I'm Clare and I am a freelance writer and Tech journalist as well as the owner and founder of where I review tech devices and also cover emerging technology news. Outside of I write for a number of publications and have regular tech slots on chaiFM radio station and eNCA's Tech Matters national breakfast TV news show.

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