The United States Department of Agriculture highlighted five online grocery stores that have acquired a significant flow of operations with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before Covid-19, online shopping was not a common purchasing method and was not very popular with shoppers as only a few supermarkets offered this service and only in certain stores.
A few days after the first case of Covid-19 in Guatemala, the Government of Guatemala announced restrictions on movements and activities to prevent the spread of the virus.
These restrictions limited the store hours and the number of customers allowed within the stores. These restrictions led shoppers to shop online as a new purchasing method to avoid exposure to the virus. Supermarkets were unprepared for this huge demand, and third-party online delivery services became essential services overnight.
Grocery stores and market
Guatemala has an estimated population of 16 million, the largest in Central America. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), in 2016, the workforce in Guatemala was 6.8 million people, the unemployment rate was 2.4 percent and the informal economy represented around 4.6 million people, or 65% of the Guatemalan workforce.
In Guatemala City and the surrounding region there are five million people, according to the INE.
Guatemala is a young country, since almost 35 percent of the population is under 15 years of age, compared to the average of 25 percent of the rest of the Central American countries.
Most of the economic activity in the country revolves around the metropolitan areas. Guatemala City and its surroundings offer the largest concentrated market and are considered the business center for the rest of the country.
There are five companies that offer grocery shopping online, some are in stores and others are third-party apps:
Paiz home delivery service: the customer can communicate with a service agent through a “Chat Bot”, an automated program used with Facebook Messenger. This tool allows the customer not only to request home delivery service, but also to find the closest store available for faster delivery. The minimum purchase is Q200 ($ 27); Payment can be made by debit or credit card, cash or personal check.
An application created in El Salvador that offers not only grocery delivery, but also any other type of purchase, including restaurant food, medicine and transportation.
It is a free and easy geolocation application that can be downloaded for iOS and Android. The customer shares their location, selects the requested service by looking at the detailed service or menu lists, and purchases a product.
A private company that buys in supermarkets, small grocery stores, and outdoor markets. Orders are placed through their website or Facebook page.
A website that offers online shopping 24/7 with delivery times of 10:00 a.m. at 8:00 p.m. The personalized service accepts requests through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger where customers send their shopping lists. The site also offers a list of more than 650 imported products, and payment can be made by credit or debit card or in cash, with a minimum purchase of Q150 ($ 20).
A Spanish company that started its business in Guatemala in 2018. It provides an on-demand service with multiple deliveries, allowing customers to buy, receive and send a wide range of products. This application can be used to buy in supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies, etc. Glovo charges a service fee that is added to all deliveries.