Exclusive interview by Hamed Mahmoud
talabat, the region’s leading food and grocery delivery platform has been launched in Kuwait in 2004, and entered the Egyptian market in 2017 through the acquisition of Otlob. Talabat is serving as the home of food delivery in the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq, and is an affiliation of world giant Delivery Hero group. Initiated by talabat, the T-Mart will revolutionise and facilitate online ordering in Egypt”, Hadeer Shalaby, Managing Director of Talabat Egypt, said in an exclusive interview with The Egyptian Gazette.
- What are the advanced services that Talabat adds to Otlob customers and what is the business relationship between (Talabat / Otlob) with delivery hero company?
Otlob was the first and oldest food-delivery platform in the region (launched in 1999) and they’ve highlighted an extremely important opportunity in a country where 100 million people have a love for food! It holds an incredibly special place in our hearts and we are continuing its legacy under the talabat brand. talabat has acquired Otlob in 2017 as we’ve seen the massive growth potential in the Egyptian market, which was in line with our regional expansion plans as well. Our operations have been extremely successful and we’re now expanding and creating opportunities more than ever.
This rebranding brings safety, speed, affordability and variety to our customers in Egypt. We’re constantly working on improving and finding solutions that fit our customers and partners’ needs. Another important factor is the technology that we build in talabat and our AI that gives us the ability to configure, change, and personalise everything according to not just the country or the city, but actually based on the area and even the demographics of the customer we are serving which completely changes the Egyptian customers’ online experience.
Talabat is the home of food delivery in the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. And is a proud member of Delivery Hero group, one of the leading online food ordering and delivery marketplace; and it has also recently entered DAX 30, Germany’s leading stock market index for top 30 companies. It is a company rich with market insights, technology and operational best practices.
- Investing in Egypt at the present is it at risk or considers an opportunity and why?
The Egyptian market holds vast potential and in the upcoming years talabat will continue to invest significantly in the country to stimulate growth in a range of delivery-related sectors.
We have seen an 81% increase in orders and 82% increase in online payments last year which gives you an image on the growth potential the economy provides especially in light of the efforts exerted by the Egyptian government in building the country’s digital infrastructure.
- Did the E-payment solutions contribute to achieving the company sales superiority more than the cash payment?
E-payment is a very important pillar in our line of business, so we always work on utilising the latest technology to facilitate the food ordering experience for our customers. In fact, and as I mentioned before, we have an 82% increase in e-payment usage on our platform from 2019 to 2020.
We promote e-payments through an array of partnerships with key electronic payment service providers, such as our partnership with Visa, where we offered a discount of 25% to 50% to encourage users to use their cards and reduce the volume of cash transactions, especially during the spread of “Covid-19”.
We are exploring other options with different electronic payment service providers and working on enhancing the skills of our delivery staff in using the e-payment technology.
- What are the main pillars of talabat business strategy for 2021 in Egypt?
Our key focus and main pillar is on creating a seamless consumer experience on our platforms from the moment they log in to the moment they receive their order at their doorstep making use of our cutting edge technology and Artificial Intelligence. We plan on investing in growth by introducing new services to support our restaurant partners and provide stronger value to end users – such as affordability, variety and speed.
We are also committed to the small and medium enterprise community, who represent around 96% of our vendors, focusing on helping them scale up. We will continue to drive the growth of the delivery sector, opening up new jobs and new opportunities for the Egyptian people.
- What are the most important new services that will be launched by talabat for the next period?
Q-commerce (quick commerce): the future of e-commerce. talabat is paving the way with Q-commerce, that’s our next play for the future of the delivery industry. We are launching talabat Mart, initially in greater Cairo and will expand in 4 more cities by the end of 2021. Talabat mart will enable people to order their groceries 24/7 and have them delivered to their doorstep within 30 minutes. The model is powered by dark stores (those are large retail facilities that house goods and not available to the public – this allows talabat to fulfill orders placed online rapidly). The service is already operating in seven of talabat’s markets including Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, and Jordan. This is truly innovative for a market like Egypt and will revolutionise and facilitate online ordering moving forward.
- What distinguishes Talabat from other competitors?
We have the highest variety and number of restaurants and vendors in the country, we have our own dark grocery stores delivering to the consumers’ doorstep in 30 mins. And we are not just in Cairo and big cities, we are expanding in all Egypt, enhancing the lives of consumers all over Egypt.
Also, our operations are backed up with Delivery Hero’s cutting-edge world-class technology and Artificial Intelligence that enables us to meet our customers’ expectations. This technology is also customisable by our highly talented local team adding to our flexibility and ability to change it to better fit local market needs and cater for our customers in a more personalised way.
- What are the locations with the highest number of food orders; mentioning the number of riders distribution ratios per city and governorate?
I can not give you exact locations and ratios as these changes depending on so many factors. However, big cities where smartphone penetration is high and the digital infrastructure is advanced would come first. For example, cities like Cairo, and Alexandria would always be among the top; as well as areas like Maadi and Rehab within Cairo. Our commitment is that we will continue to drive the growth of the delivery sector, opening up new jobs and new opportunities for the Egyptian community as a whole.