I have always been a huge proponent of eCommerce – even from before the COVID-19 pandemic. As the effects of the pandemic began to set in I kept underscoring the need for businesses to take online approaches more seriously. I continue to make the same clarion call because those effects are still in progress. It is pleasing to see the numerous innovations and adjustments that have emerged from people strategically repositioning their businesses. One interesting area that has gained so much online activity is deliveries. Several businesses have added the online deliveries feature to stay relevant whereas new businesses have even been set up solely based on that model. Today I look at a recent local development in this regard.

Tourism Has Felt The Brunt Of COVID-19

Aside from the countless effects of the pandemic, the biggest one has been restricted movement. Lockdowns have been the order of the day the world over since around March. Screws have been loosened in some regions but restrictions are still rife for the most part. The tourism industry has been hardest hit because it, in principle, thrives on the free movement of people. Reports indicate that if we are to see things improving on that front it can only be around the period of October to December. Continents like Africa can only begin to see a resumption of normal travel next year. As for now, there is not much activity that is happening in the tourism industry. That is why players in the tourism sector are exploring alternative ways of doing business. Herein I am looking at the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG).

Let Us Look At Gateway Stream

The Rainbow Tourism Group set up this platform 2 years ago in February. This is a web application that integrates several different services. When it started it only had 4 services integrated onto it. These were for hotels, homes and boats, restaurants and online room auctions. Essentially you could make bookings and even pay for these services online. As time progressed 5 more platforms were integrated. The additional services constituted holiday packages, an online taxi-hailing service, events and online booking of venues. Thus by the end of 2018 Gateway Stream had 9 services integrated on that platform.

Addition Of The Online Grocery Delivery Service

The RTG has decided to add this service given the local status quo. There has been an increased affinity to order things online especially basic commodities. So far their operating epicentres are Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Victoria Falls. The service enables people to order and get delivery of groceries within a 40-kilometre radius of those 5 major cities. The RTG already has working teams on the ground in those cities. They have indicated that since they kick-started the online grocery delivery service they have even made deliveries to places such as Gokwe and Emganwini. They have plans to diversify by adding building materials and agricultural implements to the list. The focus on this service is a repositioning RTG is making to not solely focus on just hospitality.

Keys To Success

In a bid to create value the RTG is seeing the colossal role the diaspora has in making this service a success. Most people in the diaspora can pay for goods and services in foreign currency. This is coupled with the fact that most diasporans look after their loved ones back here. Thus, tapping into that market is a major key to success. Locally there are two things that they have to work on to see significant success. One, they must make the service easily and affordably accessible. For instance, having a dedicated WhatsApp platform through which people can make and pay for orders would go a long way in easing access. Two, their reach must be widespread such that they can make deliveries to anywhere in Zimbabwe. They have to come up with strategies here because there are now many local players in this domain of online grocery deliveries.

If you have never heard about Gateway Stream you can kindly check out their web application. You can contact them by using +263 242 758496 or +263 772 298 779. Alternatively, you can email them using bookings@gatewaystream.com.