Proving c-stores really can deliver

Fife retailer Zahid Ullah is aiming to get small c-stores offering online shopping and delivery with new technology.

A Kelty retailer has launched a new service deisgned to make it possible for independent c-stores to offer online ordering to customers.

Zahid Ullah’s store will be the first to use GrocerOnline, developed by his company ZeusLabs. Orders made online will be printed out automatically for retailers. is a website that allows customers to order food, alcohol and tobacco from their local convenience store and have it delivered to their door.
Aiming to do for local c-stores what Just-Eat has  done for takeaways, the platform was developed over a number of years to tackle the specific challenges of convenience retailing.
“I feel there’s a massive gap in the market and no-one’s done it before now because it’s a massive task, logistically,” said  creator Zahid Ullah. “It’s taken me three and a half years to get to this stage, but I’m confident with what we’ve got and we’re ready to launch.”
A kitchen designer by trade, Zahid moved into retail when he took over the family business, Day-Today Express in Main Street, Kelty.

He saw demand among his customers for an online ordering and delivery service, but couldn’t find an existing platform to fit the bill, so decided to create his own., designed by Zeus Labs, is launching with two stores – Zahid’s in Kelty and Saqib Sharif’s c-store in Touch, Dunfermline.
Between 4pm and 9pm, local customers will be able to make orders from a list of products (which each retailer can tailor for their own store).
Orders are then sent automatically to hand-held printers, to be completed by retailers.
Payment is made on delivery and no alcohol or tobacco can be ordered without a credit card.
“At the doors we’ll be running Challenge 25 checks,” said Zahid, whose licence for the delivery service was approved last year.
“I know there’s a chance that youngsters might try to abuse the system, so we’re doing everything we can to minimise that, but a key part of this service is about reducing drink driving.
“In a situation where people are having a party and they run out of booze what often ends up happening is someone will get in a car and drive to the shop.
“When we were at the licensing board meeting that was a point we made and the police were quite positive about.”
Though it’s early days, Zahid is hopeful numerous c-store retailers will see the potential in the service, which he intends to offer without charging commission.
“I feel that’s a no-go area,” he said. “I know how tight margins are in shops. The revenue from this will be generated by increasing what we buy from wholesalers. It’s a bit of a learning curve for some shops but once they put the effort in they’ll see the return.”
• Turn to p24 for an interview with fellow GrocerOnline user Saqib Sharif.