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

Introducing #BizTrends2017 - 9 Jan 2017

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Twenty-sixteen was very much a year of disruption. As the theme for 2017 begins to take shape, we once again forecast what industry leaders believe to be the most influential trends for the new year. Curated by Louise Marsland and Bizcommunity's editorial team, #BizTrends2017 features trend predictions by industry experts across all industries. read more

#BestofBiz 2016: Retail - 12 Dec 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] 'What would shopping look like if you could walk into a store, grab what you want and just go?' Amazon asked this question about four years ago, and last week introduced Amazon Go - a cashier-free grocery store currently being tested by Amazon employees in Seattle, and set to open to the public next year. Also on the subject of trends, Graham du Plessis from Zando looks to the mobile landscape for 2017 and what e-retailers could expect, from more content rich apps to more creative methods of advertising. And Antoinette Coetzee from Redefine Properties does not believe the peak in shopping around the start of the festive season means better than expected festive spend, but rather customers starting earlier, and suggests retailers "connect with customers to bring cheer this festive season". She goes on to discuss some key trends for this year's festive shopping season. Wrapping up, we've compiled the annual #BestofBiz 2016 lists across all industries featuring our most-read content, from articles, to contributor pieces to press offices. read more

Flavour of the month - 5 Dec 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] December has arrived and while Bizcommunity was celebrating the end of the year on Friday, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre celebrated its R2bn makeover. At the relaunch event, Gauteng transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi lauded the shopping centre for its integral transport facilities and involvement in the Bus Rapid Transport system to commence early next year. Another cause for celebration is the arrival of Baskin-Robbins - the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops - in South Africa this Friday. read more

The South African adoption of American retail trends - 28 Nov 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] With the increasing uptake of South African retailers adopting the American Black Friday craze, so the hype of South African consumers has seen related hashtags dominating the social media front. On Twitter alone, local Black Friday mentions grew 2,200% year on year, reports Meltwater. Anton van Heerden, Executive Vice President: Africa & Middle East at Sage shares the pros and cons of Black Friday for small businesses. read more

Let the festive shopping begin - 21 Nov 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Just a few days to go until Black Friday, the start of the festive shopping season, and retailers are readying themselves for the busiest shopping day of the year. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre is reopening the day before, offering extended shopping hours, extra security and a park-and-ride service, expecting at least 100,000 customers on the day. While e-commerce sites prepare for a surge in web traffic. Justin Drennan, co-founder and CEO of Parcelninja, says online retail in South Africa is set for a boom in the coming months, particularly this quarter, adds Thomas Pays, co-founder and CEO of i-Pay, in a release sent to Bizcommunity. read more

'Tis the season to have specials - 14 Nov 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] As reported by AFP, Singles' Day, created by Alibaba in 2009, took place on Friday, seeing Chinese shoppers spend more than $1bn in the first five minutes. It's become the world's biggest online shopping promotion, surpassing the main US online spending spree - the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, in just one day of trading. read more

Why Whitey quit - 7 Nov 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] Last week Groupon announced that it has wound down its operations in South Africa, as part of a global shedding in an effort to "make the business more efficient", reports Andy Walker of Memeburn, who also explains what this means for any coupons you've not yet redeemed. In other top story news, Whitey Basson will step down as Shoprite CEO at the end of the year. read more

What consumers and businesses want - 31 Oct 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] The mobile payment industry is quickly evolving to meet the growing demands of mobile users, "with more recognisable brands stepping into the industry to advance technology and offer what consumers and businesses want in terms of apps and services that allow them to pay with their phones". According to John Rampton in his article, 'The evolution of the mobile payment' on TechCrunch.com, it's anticipated that there will be more than 4.8bn individuals using a mobile phone by the end of 2016. Moreover, consumers have come to expect a broad range of sophisticated technology features in their cars, such as Wi-Fi access, voice-activated controls, keyless entry and remote start and stop. read more

Beyond customer complaints to a skilled workforce - 24 Oct 2016

[Jessica Tennant, Retail Editor (@Biz_Retail)] In a must-read for any business, Wynand Smit, CEO at INOVO writes about slick complaint resolution tactics. His top tip is to implement customer satisfaction surveys to nip these in the bud before they're taken to the social media realm where thy risk going viral. Leigh Andrews also rounds out her #BeyondRetail2016 conference coverage, with an overview of the final panel session. read more

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