Woolworths quietly ‘launches’ new online tech and smartphone store

 ·22 May 2024

Retail group Woolworths has quietly launched a new tech and cellphone store called WConnect, broadening the range of products South Africans can get online.

The site’s launch passed without much fanfare, with some Woolworths shoppers receiving SMS and other notices directing them to the specials.

According to MyBroadband, the site has been around since January 2024 but has only been populated with products recently.

The retailer now offers smartphones and devices from a range of brands including Samsung, Huawei, Sony, Nokia, Hisense, Honor, Xiaomi, and Vivo.

It also offers tech products beyond smartphones, including the likes of PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles and accessories, laptops, battery packs, smartwatches and tablets.

Woolworths said that it established WConnect is an established part of the business “since the early 2000s”, but the online division is a recent addition.

It said the online component launched in November 2023 with mobile devices and accessories, but has now expanded to a broader range of products.

“The WConnect strategy is to meet our customers where they are by increasing our online capabilities while providing value, convenience, and a wide range of options,” it said.

Woolworths has been rapidly expanding its online presence as well as the range of items it has on offer. It has also moved into other retail streams such as pet care.

In October 2023, Woolworths Holdings Limited (WHL) announced its intention to acquire 93.45% of the shares in privately-owned pet retailer Absolute Pets (Pty) Ltd from Sanlam Private Equity and Absolute Pets management.

In April, the Competition Tribunal approved the transaction.

Absolute Pets, in addition to WPet (the group’s existing pet care business), forms part of Woolworths Ventures, which the group said was a newly created internal unit “focussed on accelerating and delivering on the full potential of various strategic growth initiatives across the business”.

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