Challenges facing retail marketing in SA QH #IEApplication 2014
IE MBA CANDIDATE 2014
1. South African retail environment
2. Retail marketing challenges
3. My role in the medium term
1. SOUTH AFRICAN RETAIL ENVIRONMENT
Fierce competition exists in the SA retail market. The large retailers buying power, Wal-Mart’s
entry into the local market, integrated supply chain solutions and Private Label products are some
of the indicators.
Growth and demand is expected to be modest, and mostly driven by the continued rise of a
black middle class according to PWC, October 2012. “South African retail and consumer products
A skills shortage, especially among middle management. Most retailers have had to develop
significant in-house training capacity in order to continue developing skills.
Adoption of new technologies and online retailing has been slow due to internet access being
expensive and slow. A new consumer trend is online price comparison through price checking
website s such as Guzzle and Price Check, followed by in-store purchase.
The high (24.7%) unemployment rate is the country’s largest inhibitor of growth.
Currency volatility. The below graph was published in 2012 and currently the Rand Dollar
exchange rate is at R11.13, much higher than the predicted R8.3 directly impacting the margins of
*PWC, October 2012. “South African retail and
consumer products outlook 2012-2016.”
2. THE RETAIL MARKETING CHALLENGES
a) Engaging customers
b) Keeping customers engaged
c) Attributing sales and measuring performance
of specific marketing channels
d) Rapid changes in technology and the
A) ENGAGING CUSTOMERS
Understanding and influencing the customer journey
Understanding social behaviours and trends such as
social media and online shopping
With new technology customers have access to more
information and can plan their purchases better. I.e.
product, price, availability
B) KEEPING CUSTOMERS ENGAGED I.E.
VISITING STORES, ONLINE SHOPS AND
Providing the right product at the right price using the right channel
Great customer service
Strengthen loyalty and emotionally tie them closer to the brand.
Basically win their minds and hearts.
Know your customer, with rapidly developing technology this is
easier than 10 years ago.
• An example of innovation in this area in the Insurance sector in
South Africa would be HealthID from Discovery. Giving doctors
access to previously prescribed medicines, blood test results
and patients' health measures such as body mass index and
• Sophisticated loyalty programs to targets specific segments of
the market with offers and initiatives.
Customers expect captivating communications and offers targeted
specifically at them.
C) ATTRIBUTING SALES AND MEASURING PERFORMANCE OF
SPECIFIC MARKETING CHANNELS
Calculating ROMI (Return on marketing investment)
Creating co-ordinated system integration across POS, CRM
and financial systems. Therefore resulting in:
• Ability to measure long term marketing objectives such as
brand equity using customer lifetime value information
• In addition to short term objectives such as total revenue and
• Quickly and accurately test pricing strategies
• Accurately measure effectiveness and efficiency of various
D) RAPID CHANGES IN TECHNOLOGY AND THE
Price optimization technologies, pricing strategies should be pro-active and not
reactive. With pricing being one of the most powerful levers for increasing operational
profit, proactive pricing can significantly boost financial performance.
Various initiatives to roll out free Wi-Fi in malls across South Africa, could generate
additional footfall. Due to the log-in nature of free Wi-Fi, this creates an opportunity to
capture shopper demographics and preferences and in time the information can
become available to retailers.
• This will result in even bigger data analytics for retailers
• However compliance with legislation and protection of personal information need
to be kept in mind.
Interactive screen and window display systems, that allows the following: e.g.
• Convert passers-by into shoppers.
• Creates 24 hour virtual store with life size products.
• Utilizing retail space outside of normal trading hours.
Considering the drive towards informal retail being formalized in South Africa by means
of new developments in informal settlements for example the 4 malls in Soweto, one
has to start questioning the use of “dead time” in these malls:
• Interactive screens could be an opportunity to engage consumers in after hours
retail shopping or
• Uplifting the community through access to free education online such as the
Khan academy and Couresa.org
3. MY ROLE IN THE MEDIUM
My role in the retail sector in the medium term is to use
my skills in marketing and my passion for IT and finance
to create sophisticated marketing process models.
Resulting in the communication of performance data in
a way that empowers business leadership to make
quick, intelligent, fact based decisions based on
historical, strategic and tactical trends.
Compiling business cases for new and innovative
To mentor and coach energetic and aspiring marketing
talent in South Africa.
1. Elizabeth Cameron, Divisional Manager, Manufacturing, Marsh Africa , 22
February 2012 “Fierce competition amongst South African retailers leads to new
risks in retail industry”
2. Fitch Ratings, October 2010 “Rising competition and margin pressure”
3. PWC, October 2012. “South African retail and consumer products outlook 20122016”
4. Duncan McLeod, 16 January 2014. “MWeb in aggressive free Wi-Fi play”