Mobile Application supported Urban-Township E-grocery Distribution

Marcia Mkansi, S.L.J.M. de Leeuw, Olatoye Amosun

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

309 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This paper presents a mobile application supported township and urban e-grocery distribution models that uses a software application (app) , cross docking, and intermodal transportation to bridge the infrastructural barriers, costs, and complexities associated with e-grocery delivery operations in rural township areas. The use of apps reveals a slow transformation of society towards an inclusive model that integrate different types of workers in an unformal context.

Research Approach: Using a qualitative multi-case approach and semi-structured interviews, the study explored distribution practices of eight national emerging e-grocery retail businesses to demonstrate how mobile applications can facilitate South African urban and township e-grocery delivery models.

Findings and Originality: The study reveals how the need to scale the use of new mobile application innovations fuels value-added services that power new e-grocery distribution models. Of particular interestinterest is how the application aggregates demand rapidly, respond to and enables the e-grocery operators to meet demand withindemand within a short lead time, and how e-grocers use competitors’ stores as their fulfilment centres.

Research Impact: The innovative mobile platform-base model offers emerging contextual insight of a pull e-grocery distribution model that demonstrates the supply chain innovations for addressing under-resource and under-developed logistics infrastructure.

Practical Impact: The mobile application value-added service business model offers a new wave of scaling e-grocery retail to rural and township areas constrained by technological, economic and road infrastructure. The apps transcend e-grocery barriers and enables small businesses with limited resources to leverage e-grocery market opportunities that are unimaginable in townships and rural areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-53
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Issue number1
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Mobile Application supported Urban-Township E-grocery Distribution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this