Massmart using Walmart-inspired tech to improve the online experience

By our News Team | 2023

Company says order-fulfilment software from the US digitises and optimises the picking, packing, staging and distribution of online orders.

With the e-commerce sector in South Africa increasingly competitive and concerns around what impact Amazon’s arrival will have, Walmart-owned Massmart has announced the launch of what it calls “Walmart-inspired technology set to improve online customer experience”. 

Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores in 20 countries and has numerous localised e-commerce websites. Massmart owns retail chains Game, Builders and Makro which are prominent in Southern Africa.


Photo courtesy of Massmart

Walmart’s Global Integrated Fulfilment (GIF) software has first been introduced to all Makro stores, with plans underway to expand into Game and Builders shortly.

GIF Store Assist is an order-fulfilment software application that digitises and optimises the picking, packing, staging and distribution of online orders.

“This world-class fulfilment app was custom-built by Walmart and adapted for Massmart, leveraging Walmart’s years of operating experience in the United States,” Massmart says in a press release.

“We have made significant investments to build and grow our e-commerce offering at Massmart,” says the company’s Vice President of Group eCommerce Pickup & Delivery, Merlin Otto.

“Given growth in 2022 of over 90% across the e-commerce portfolio, our ability to efficiently process higher volumes of orders is a key success factor., We anticipate that the integration of GIF into our business will enable shorter lead times for online orders.”

Otto adds that the technology leverages the group’s store network to create a strong omnichannel ecosystem.

Real-time visibility of new orders for store-fulfilment teams

Massmart says the key benefits that the Walmart technology will deliver include automated, real-time visibility of new orders for store-fulfilment teams; configuration of optimal paths for picking orders based on factors like efficiency, product locations and the customer’s chosen fulfilment option; and the addition of product images on orders, enabling easier identification of products on the shelf.

The rollout across Makro stores was completed in April, with Massmart saying that order pick rates having increased by up to 150% since implementation, with an overall 40% reduction in total order-processing time.

This week, South African tech entrepreneur and CEO of Innovo Networks, Damian Michael, warned that Amazon’s high profile, product range, cutting-edge technology and well-proven delivery and returns systems mean that SA-based online retailers will have to step up like never before to remain competitive. Innovo is a voice, data, and cloud solutions provider.

Michael said local retailers are multichannel – meaning that if, for example, a customer phones the call centre to complain about a problem with the pick-up of an item being returned, the call centre team can’t see that the client previously complained about the same thing on WhatsApp and Facebook. The customer gets frustrated at having to explain everything again and there’s tremendous wastage of human resources in trying to resolve what may be a simple reverse-logistics issue.

“The answer is omnichannel – where a single contact centre has an overview of all the data, all the customer orders, all the customer interactions, all the stock availability and all the product returns.” states Michael. “Done correctly, it is personalised, seamless, integrated and efficient. It is what the likes of Amazon do well.”

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.