The retail business is not for the faint of heart. The sector is well-known to be difficult and highly competitive.
That’s not to say there haven’t been companies, both big and small, who have succeeded by providing a quality and value for money offering and taking a innovative approach to their retail channels, marketing and pricing.
Here’s selection of the top retail strategies that you can learn from some of SA’s best.
1. Be Where Your Market Is
Takealot is the country’s largest e-commerce retailer, and was voted the best online shop in South Africa in the 2017 MyBroadband Online Shopping Survey.
CEO of Takealot, Kim Reid, told Fin24 that Takealot is banking on more South Africans shopping online and that mobile access has led to greater ability to unlock the potential of e-commerce in the country.
Julie-Anne Walsh‚ head of marketing at Takealot‚ told Business Live that the penetration of e-commerce in SA is only about 1% of the total retail market. “In the US and China it is 13% and 15%‚ respectively.” She said that although no one knows what the potential ceiling is for SA’s e-commerce activity‚ the gap between SA’s market and that in other countries presents an opportunity for many businesses.
2. Partner with the right retail partner
Wife-and-husband entrepreneur team, Dawn and Barry Petersen’s company, Green Logik SA, produces Lunch-Box Buddy, a 2ml waterless antibacterial hand sanitiser sachet that can be placed in children’s lunch boxes. In December 2016, Green Logik SA listed Lunch-Box Buddy with 26 Pick n Pay Pharmacies nationwide.
Early on Petersen realised that large scale retail wasn’t quite what she expected.
“To overcome the challenges of logistics, administration and seasonality, we realised we needed to reach a wider target market. With no retail experience, it was at this point that I was introduced via the Department of Economic Development to Pick n Pay’s Enterprise & Supplier Development (ESD) Programme in August 2016”, says Petersen.
“Pick n Pay provided merchandising at a reduced fee given our business was categorised in the incubator phase of the programme, which was a huge advantage and saving to our small business. But we quickly realised that building a brand is extremely rewarding, but hard work and that you can’t just expect sales to happen. You need to continuously improve your approach, build relationships with the stores, reps and merchandisers, be innovative in your approach with customers, and do in-store promotions, which I did personally in the first few months to save costs.” Read full post
3. Have a good product
Breva beverages is a range of alcohol-free malt beverages which can be found in Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, and select Checkers Liquor and Spar Western Cape outlets. The brand has also made inroads in hotels. It is available in select Tsogo Sun four and five star hotels.
Founder Gladys Mawoneke puts some of her success to focusing on providing a quality product: “Retailers want a product that will sell. Equally important is the ability of the SME to support the sale of the product once it’s on the shelf. The retailers provide space and the SME must make sure that the product gets from shelf into the consumer’s basket. This is what can make or break a small business.”
She continues: “Breva is a great product. To get it off the shelf we conduct in-store demonstrations and tastings so that the customer interacts with the brand. We also give sample stock to our customers among others so that they can conduct promotions using the free stock.” Read full post
4. Make the most of retail trends
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have changed consumers’ shopping habits, says Viresh Harduth, Vice President: New Customer Acquisition (Start-up and Small Business) for Sage Africa & Middle East.
“Rather than buying Christmas gifts throughout December and cashing in on January sales, shoppers hunt aggressively for discounted Black Friday deals. There’s little money left for December and January shopping, which could further hurt small business profits.
What SMEs can do? “Use Black Friday to clear out-of-season or surplus stock. This will make space on your shelves for new inventory and gives you an immediate cash flow boost,” says Harduth. Read full post
5. Be persistent
Local entrepreneur Portia Mngomezulu is the founder of Portia M Skin Solutions, a skincare range of 12 products for both men and women, they are also in the process of launching her baby range of five products.
Through Pick n Pay alone, her business has generated over R20 million in sales . This excludes the products she has sold through her online shop, other retailers, and independent pharmacies. They employ 27 full-time staff.
Mngomezulu credits her success to being persistent.
“A no isn’t a no, it only means you have to do it better than before,” says Mngomezulu. “And if a buyer tells you a year, it might seem far away, but there are many things you can correct during this time. I am grateful I started with only a few stores as this allowed me to manage and learn from the mistakes I made along my retail journey.” Read full post