Shoprite, Africa’s biggest retailer, is attracting more customers for its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

The retailer, which also owns  Checkers, reported that K’nect attracted 33 944 customers in its first year of operation in 2021.

Shoprite told TechFinancials that K’nect had added 139,556 users in 2022, taking the total of new voice and data customers to 173 500.

K’nect was launched on 23 March 2021.

The prepaid cellular network has partnered with digital enabler FREI One Digital.

It piggybacks off the mobile network infrastructure of Cell C, whose roaming partnership with MTN provides award-winning coverage.

K’nect forms part of the Shoprite Group’s financial services offering, which enables customers to conveniently pay bills, buy cell phones, make money transfers, buy airtime and data, lotto tickets, electricity and even funeral insurance in partnership with OUTsurance.

Also read: How The Shoprite Group Innovates Using AI


In the age of big data, the Shoprite Group is at the forefront of innovating with artificial intelligence (AI). As one of the world’s leanest and most advanced retailers here are three leading innovations which have had a marked impact on the Group’s operations as it continues to create the best possible customer experience. 

Ensuring Sixty60 arrives fast and fresh  

To further improve Checkers Sixty60’s delivery times, the Group developed a machine learning algorithm to dynamically define optimal delivery regions. The solution overlays a map with the spatial-temporal view of orders while using order data to determine the optimal delivery area for each store.   

The algorithm also considers packaging and delivery time to determine the areas which can be best served by a driver within the allocated time (60 minutes). In addition, it uses advanced route optimisation algorithms based on isochrones and open route services to overlay geospatial and traffic data with the available delivery time to determine the optimal delivery route.  

Only the freshest on the shelf 

In a South African supermarket first, the Group successfully deployed a powerful end-to-end supply chain software solution to ensure highly accurate orders. This includes fresh produce such as poultry, cheese, eggs, milk and more, resulting in fully stocked shelves and less food waste.  

Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the system considers a diverse number of external factors when ordering ultra-fresh products. For example, the team fed two years of sales and stock data, together with several extrinsic factors, into the system to better predict how much chicken customers will buy throughout the year and inform suppliers accordingly. The implementation was an immediate success, with substantially increased year-on-year sales growth and significantly reduced wastage.  






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