Credible data on trends within South Africa’s booming township retail sector remains scant, prompting virtual distribution platform Selpal to undertake an ongoing extensive campaign to collate the information and provide a window into the township and peri-urban economies which sustains millions of people.
“To date, trustworthy data on the township retail sector has been scant at best. This has been a disabling factor for manufacturers when considering strategic business decisions, as this market segment is not understood, yet is estimated to be worth billions of rands,” Selpal chief executive Stephen Goldberg said recently.
Gathering data through bespoke mobile apps on both the merchant and consumer devices, Selpal is building a dynamic database that profiles shoppers who live in the townships and informal settlements.
Goldberg said, to date manufacturers have been reliant on guess work regarding the township retail sector — a group estimated by the World Bank to constitute as much as 38 percent of the country’s working-age citizens.
Selpal uses its relationship with the manufacturers to give end-customers in the informal sector incentives to shop at merchants in their areas, and to give those merchants incentives to use a virtual platform that cuts cost and boosts the transparency of the supply chain,” said Goldberg.
He said the Selpal solution is providing the first definitive link between manufacturers and their township merchants and consumers.
They offer a range of products including: virtual products such as airtime, data, electricity, gaming, insurance, DStv and more, eWallets where traders, street sellers and customers can store cash and transact and supply chain products that facilitate purchases and payments between suppliers and store traders, among others
According to media release, both merchants and the customer stand to benefit.
Through partnerships with merchants and spaza shops, Selpal guides foot-traffic through their doors while consumers are given cash back by shopping for selected items at partner stores. The extra value for consumers is funded by manufacturers who buy the data detailing consumers’ shopping trends and preferences — data which Selpal gathers for closer analysis. (via African News Agency)