Customer segmentation and the biometric shopping revolution - 24 Apr 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] We have a strong research focus this week, with Leigh Andrews reporting back on the recent launch of Experian's Mosaic. It's a customer segmentation tool that lets you focus on your specific customers and improve their overall experience of your brand. read more

The sweet taste of expansion - 18 Apr 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] We hope you had a relaxing Easter weekend. To ease into the week we have lots of good news stories to satisfy your retail appetite. read more

The ups and downs of customer loyalty - 10 Apr 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Pick n Pay has been making headlines following its announcement to only reward Smart Shoppers on every R2 spent instead of each rand, which effectively halves the cashback rate to 0.5%. The programme overhaul has been met with a negative response from “I'm off to Spar” to “more down ratings” to “junk status”, including that of Clive Evans, who says there was no real noise or transparency with regard to this major adjustment. Having the opposite effect, McDonald's South Africa's recent National Breakfast Day promotion was less about actively marketing its R10 special and more about saying thank you to its loyal supporters. read more

Tread mindfully with tech - 3 Apr 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Despite the customer experience and engagement benefits that smart technologies can provide, a new study by Oracle Retail reveals that consumers still have a conservative appetite for retail technologies that require personal data and make decisions on their behalf. Basically, customers are keen to take up new technologies that improve their retail experience - as long as they can stay in control. In other recent headline news, Stellenbrau announced a deal that sees the Stellenbosch-based brewery becoming part of Heineken South Africa. read more

Celebrating brand success - 27 Mar 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] In today's #BrandManagerMonth top story I chat to Shaun Stemmet, RGBC's brand manager for Tullamore D.E.W, who shares the inspiration behind the brand's new #3xBetter campaign. He also tells us why he believes Africa to be a primary growth market for Irish whiskey. In related news, Jessica Tennant interviews Sorbet's Jade Kirkel on her role in managing a brand that is fast becoming the 'Starbucks' of beauty salons. The world's top beauty brands were honoured at the recent Marie Claire Prix d'Excellence de la Beauté Awards. read more

Seamless shopping - 20 Mar 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Today's top story announces the South African launch of Italist, an online shopping platform providing shoppers with access to 150 luxury Italian multi-brand boutiques. In related news, the company's CEO Diego Abba spoke at the recent Seamless Africa conference in Cape Town, explaining the urgency for brick and mortar retailers to develop an omnichannel strategy. I report back from the same conference with Nike's masterclass in millennial engagement and retention, as delivered by the brand's seamless commerce director, Esther Hoogstad. read more

Catering to customer demand - 13 Mar 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] In today's top story, coffee chain Vida e Caffè explains the growing demand for high street retail brands in large corporate environments; and caters to it with soon-to-launch stores at the new Discovery headquarters in Sandton, Siemens, Metropolitan Life Buildings in Bellville and Centurion and four stores within Dimension Data's offices in the Campus, Bryanston. In other recent top-story news, Mastercard released the results of its inaugural Index of Women Entrepreneurs to coincide with International Women's Day which was celebrated on 8 March. read more

An insights-led business is future-proof - 6 Mar 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] In today's top story, I bring you another feedback article from the eCommerce MoneyAfrica Confex. This time I share the wise words of Forrester's James McCormick, who warns that in the ‘age of the customer' it's vital to derive actionable insights from digital engagement as a means to boost customer experience and ensure business survival. A jam-packed #DesignMonth ended on a high note last week. read more

Cross-border trade ripe for exponential growth - 27 Feb 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] A recently published PayPal report revealed that cross-border online spend is on the rise. In South Africa alone, 43% of online consumers stated that they shopped online from websites in another country in the past 12 months. read more

SA's big retailers in the limelight - 20 Feb 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] SA's largest and oldest retailers have been the focus in our latest news. In today's top story, the rescue plan to save 159-year-old Stuttafords may hit smaller creditors hard and critics are saying that, for small suppliers already on the breadline, writing off more than 77% of what they're owed by Stuttafords could cause them to go bust. read more

The contest of ingenuity - 13 Feb 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Brick-and-mortar retailers are grappling to boost store traffic and retain their slice of the profit pie in the challenging ‘Amazon era'. But while many are showing signs of strain, their woes have also sparked a greater willingness to try new things. read more

Welcome to #DesignMonth - 6 Feb 2017

[Lauren Hartzenberg, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] In case you missed the endnote in the last weekly newsletter, I'm your new retail editor and I'm delighted to continue highlighting the businesses and business people flying the flag of innovation and creativity in South Africa's growing retail industry. As you may or may not know, February is #DesignMonth at Bizcommunity, which means that we'll be gaining insight from industry influencers and creatives into how design impacts – and inspires – business. Kicking things off, Ruth Cooper talks edible artworks with the confectionery queen behind online bakery LionHeart. She also finds out what inspires the all-female team behind Zana, designers and producers of custom textile products. Aside from #DesignMonth, Jessica Tennant reports on the launch of Starbucks South Africa's rewards programme, which aims to reward both customers and partners and facilitate interaction between them. Last but definitely not least, Pricecheck's Kevin Tucker predicts the top five global e-commerce trends set to take off locally in 2017. read more

The modern, connected economy - 30 Jan 2017

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Underwhelming financial results from traditional retailers indicate that customers are spending elsewhere. I recently met with Catharina Eklof, SVP Global Merchant Development and Victor de Kock, Strategic Merchants and Acceptance at Mastercard to discuss some of the emerging trends in merchant payments, the changing shopping environment and how the financial services company is innovating to address the needs of the ‘connected customer'. As shopping habits change, Julia Ahlfeldt suggests traditional retailers develop strategies that embrace digital as the touchpoint of choice and focus more on what their customers want in-store, which is experience, convenience, integration and personalisation. Gareth Pearson, CEO of BMi Research, agrees. He says local consumers are undergoing fundamental behavioural shifts in the way they shop – before, during and after they hit the stores. A Nielsen survey, which polled online consumers across 63 countries, shows that South Africans are outpacing other countries in terms of online mobile adoption. read more

A new year, a 'new normal' - 23 Jan 2017

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Following on from the release of Woolworths' poor trading update, Stafford Thomas takes a look inside the rot at Woolworths. He interviews Evan Walker of 36One Asset Management to discuss the retailer's tactics of promotions and aggressive pricing in the ‘war to capture the dwindling spending power of SA consumers'. read more

Shifting to the transformation economy - 16 Jan 2017

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] The new year is well underway with much trend talk on what retailers should be preparing for. Last week, Claudia Roth from Soul Luxury looked into the shift from the experience economy to the transformation economy, with five tips to get you started in identifying your own 'currency of connection'; Justin Smith from Woolworths explained why more than ever, sustainability is good business; and Kevin Tucker from PriceCheck believes that a renewed focus on value in e-tailing will level the playing field. read more

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