Tag: shopping

Buying groceries online just got easier

By Catherine Black for TimesLive

These days, managing your life via your smartphone is nothing new – whether it’s organising travel, booking accommodation, banking, reading the news or tracking your fitness.

But when it comes to something as mundane as grocery shopping, apps that allow us to do this have taken longer to materialise – probably because shopping for a whole lot of smaller items and brands from different places is fairly complex and personal. Luckily, it seems technology has finally caught up.

As a Joburger, you can now choose from at least three grocery shopping apps such as Zulzi, OneCart and Grocerease, where you can order groceries, over-the-counter pharmacy items, liquor, pet food and even restaurant food from a cluster of stores in your area via a single mobile interface.

The app then uses the city as a warehouse, matching your delivery location with the stores closest to you among big retailers like Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Pick n Pay Liquor, Dis-Chem and Clicks.

Some apps also let you select the specific stores you prefer, which can be handy if you prefer a particular franchised Pick n Pay to the one closest to you, for example.

Once you’ve selected and placed your order, a personal shopper assembles your shopping cart on your behalf, and a driver – some companies use registered Taxify or Uber drivers – delivers it to your door. Most apps promise delivery within an hour or two, or you can select a scheduled time that suits you better.

As with other food apps like Uber Eats and OrderIn, you can monitor the progress of your order in real time.

With the arrival of these grocery apps, the days of a frustrating grocery shopping experience – the traffic, the parking, not to mention how time-consuming it all is – seem, thankfully, to be numbered.

By Olivia Tambini  for Tech Radar

Google is testing a new feature that allows people to buy products while browsing Google Image search results.

Known as ‘shoppable ads’, these sponsored posts are placed within image search results, and allow retailers to “highlight multiple products available for sale” within an image, according to a post on the Google Ads blog.

Google says the feature is only being tested on “a small percentage of traffic with select retailers, surfacing on broad queries like “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs”, and “abstract art”.

Should the tests go well, it could soon be possible to do your shopping from Google Images by hovering over a sponsored ad with a price tag icon in the bottom right corner, which will then show you the prices and brands of the items in the image.

It looks like the new feature will work in a similar way to Instagram’s shoppable tags, making it quicker than ever to buy products online.

Whether users will appreciate the proliferation of shoppable ads across social media and now search results will, of course, remain to be seen.

How shopping is changing in a digital world

Shopping: love it or loathe it, a wave of innovation is heading this way – and it promises to make a visit to your local mall a far more productive and pleasant experience.

Deloitte is at the forefront of this trend with the creation of a Connected Retail Experience at its Deloitte Greenhouse innovation hub in Cape Town.

Shorter queues at checkout, a much better selection of goods, personalised, relevant special offers and the ability to have out-of-stock items delivered to your door within 24 hours. These are just a sample of the innovations coming to the South African retail sector that promise to make your shopping experience a whole lot more enjoyable and engaging.

That’s according to Corniel van Niekerk, senior manager at Deloitte, the professional services firm which is emerging as one of the key players bringing what’s known as ‘Connected Retail’ to South Africa.

“It’s an exciting time for consumers and retailers alike. Connected Retail technologies will not only make for a vastly improved shopping experience for customers, but retailers and suppliers who embrace and implement them effectively will see a significant boost to their bottom line. In this sense it’s a genuine win-win situation,” says Corniel.

So how could such a Connected Retail experience play out for you as a shopper? It may begin well before a visit to the store with an email, instant message or app notification about a product you’re actually interested in, rather than annoying spam about stuff with no relevance to you.

You may, for example, have a dinner party coming up at the weekend and get a discount voucher on a hard-to-find ingredient for that recipe you bookmarked in the store’s smartphone app last week which has now come into season and just arrived at the store.

Once you go to the store, the personalised experience continues. After you put the ingredients for that recipe into your basket and approach the wine section, you get a notification alerting you to a Pinot Noir that’s not only on promotion but will pair perfectly with the wild mushroom risotto you’ve planning to serve your guests.

Another innovation called ‘endless aisles’ will allow you to buy items currently out of stock or not usually stocked at the store, like a garment or shoes in a less common size or colour, and have it delivered to your home within a day or two.

And leaving with your purchases promises to be a more streamlined affair thanks to technology that lets stores better monitor customer flows and allocate staff to till points more quickly when demand increases – one element of the Connected Workforce which will empower and incentivise staff with technologies like gamification.

Self-service checkouts – which are currently being trialled by a major retailer at one of its Cape Town stores – promise, if properly implemented, to make for another quicker and easier checkout option for customers.

“The coming Connected Retail revolution will combine the best aspects of the online and bricks and mortar shopping experience, making for happier, more loyal customers who spend more at the store,” says Corniel.

But for this to happen will require looking beyond the Connected Customer, Connected Store and Connected Workforce, and bringing a series of technologies and innovations to the entire retail value chain.

The Connected Supplier will use embedded sensors and advanced analytics to prevent unscheduled asset downtime, increase labour productivity and synchronise or integrate activities, while the Connected Supply Chain will employ advanced computational techniques to forecast disruptions, reduce shortages, optimise warehouse collection and delivery slots and pro-actively manage advanced chains to reduce waste and theft.

Digitalisation and the store of the future have been topics of discussion in various forums, but at Deloitte, we believe it’s now time to make the concept real for the clients in our market and link business value to practical solutions,” says Corniel.

To this end, the firm recently strengthened its South African retail team with the addition of a number of individuals with extensive expertise in the international and domestic retail sectors.

It has also established a physical Connected Retail Experience at its Deloitte Greenhouse innovation hub in Cape Town. This immersive, interactive experience allows visitors to gain practical, tangible insights into every aspect of the Connected Retail ecosystem, sampling proven solutions alongside brand new technology relevant to each of the touch points: consumer, store, workforce, supplier and supply chain.

“It’s part of Deloitte’s new focus on ‘show not tell’ and we’re confident it will give our retail sector clients a significant advantage over their competitors as they position themselves to avoid the pitfalls and capitalise on the enormous opportunities offered by the Connected Retail wave,” concludes Corniel.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

It’s no secret that South African shoppers are beset by a storm of rising prices and it seems their shopping baskets are definitely feeling the pain with the average consumer now hyper aware of what they’re purchasing.

As a result, the latest Nielsen Shoppergraphics Report – which looks at shifts in consumer purchasing behaviour within 4 000 representative households across the country on a quarterly basis – reveals local consumers have dropped products from an unprecedented three grocery categories from their shopping basket; namely Household/Cleaning Goods, Beverages and Toiletries.

Nielsen CPG client service director Kelly Arnold comments; “It’s no secret that South African consumers are experiencing a severe wallet squeeze thanks to a raft of rising costs including spiralling petrol and electricity prices, the implementation of sugar tax and a VAT increase to 15%. The effect that this has had on consumer behaviour is profound and we’re now clearly seeing shoppers jumping out of some categories and consolidating their spend.

“As the household basket has become more expensive, we have also seen consumers limiting the number of trips, to 60 trips a year on average, and the top up shop that used to be twice or three times a week has dropped to once every two weeks, with spend per trip now averaging at R210.”

Overall the volume of sales has grown by 2.8%, with the monetary value of sales growing at about 6.3%.

“That said, we’re simply not seeing massive growth with consumers shopping less and spending slightly less; although there are instances of upgrading to larger pack sizes which may be a contributory factor to the small levels of growth.

“Interestingly, the repertoire or number of stores that consumers visit has increased to 4.9 retailers a year. This is as extremely price conscious consumers seek out deals, and are more prepared to shop around.”

What’s in and what’s out?
Drilling down to category performance, Arnold reports that consumers now purchase around 68 categories per year. “We have seen a move towards consumers spending more on dry groceries and perishables with staples remaining stable. The highest amount of spend is happening in frozen chicken and ready to eat cereals, sugar and UHT milk (a long-term trend) and canned meat. The latter might be because of the Listeriosis crisis earlier this year which compelled many consumers to switch from cold meats.

Looking at the specific categories that have experienced the biggest declines Household/Cleaning Goods which are no longer seen as a necessity have dropped by 6% and Beverages by 6%, with Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSDs) experiencing particularly negative performance.

“In this regard, contributing factors may well be the shift in volumes from 500ml to 450 ml size bottle within some of the top brands as well as an influx of other brands carving out a market share for themselves and now spreading their national footprint,” explains Arnold.

An upswing in branded retail
The Shoppergraphics Report also revealed a shift towards modern branded retail outlets away from independent retail within the LSM 1-6 market.

“The growth in usage of branded retail chains by this market could be due to the fact that more retail chains have opened stores in previously under-served areas with large, traditionally modern trade retailers having invested in this sector in the last two years. We also know that branded retail offers more competitive pricing and is therefore seen as less expensive,” says Arnold.

In contrast, higher LSM groups are increasing their spend in independent retail. “The type of behaviour driving this trend is that higher LSM groups are going to branded retail for their big monthly shops and utilising independent retail outlets to do their more frequent top-up shopping. For example, ‘I’m on my way home to Soweto I stop at the taxi rank where there is a Spaza shop nearby, grab a couple of things as a top-up’, resulting in LSM 7-10 spending more there,” explains Arnold.

To counter these trying times, retailers need to ensure they have the right composition of goods for their shoppers, at the right price given that positive price perception is extremely important for future success.

Arnold stresses: “Retail data has also never been more important in order to move past tough times .”

Source: Business Wire 

Staples, the back-to-school specialty store, commissioned a recent survey, with parenting authority Fatherly, that discovered 85 percent of parents and 83 percent of children prefer to shop in-store during the back-to-school season. To help accommodate shoppers, most of whom find it important to interact with products before purchasing, Staples’ dedicated in-store specialists make the annual shopping trip as convenient, efficient and fun as possible.

“Staples plays a proud role in millions of families and teachers’ annual back-to-school shopping trips and we are excited to deliver a one-of-a-kind Staples in-store shopping experience,” says Amy Lang, Vice President, Store Experience, Staples. “As the Back to School authority, our store associates are eager to help parents get their children everything they need on their school lists to ensure a successful school year.”

The survey also revealed that the back-to-school shopping season is a way for parents to spend quality time with their children. More than 90 percent of parents surveyed said they allow their children to get involved in the aisles by having them read the lists aloud, and encouraging them to pick out their favorite colors and designs for the supplies they need.

Online shopping grows in SA

By Joseph Booysen for Business Report

Although traditional retail stores dominate the South African market, consumers are choosing the online option for cheaper technical goods purchases.

According to the latest research report by GfK (Growth from Knowledge), South Africa, E-commerce 360:Navigating the Technical Goods E-Commerce Market in South Africa, e-commerce retailers grew their share of the South African technical consumer goods market by 52 percent last year, accounting for 6.9 percent of total consumer spending by rand value for the year.

This meant they had nearly doubled their share of the market since since 2015.

Cherelle Laubscher, a senior retail manager at GfK South Africa said e-commerce in South Africa was still in its infancy compared to European markets, where a quarter of technical goods spending goes through digital channels.

“However, growth in South Africa is strong and shows no signs of declining as bargain-seeker flock online to buy technical consumer goods like smartphones, IT, consumer electronics, and major home appliances,” said Laubscher.

She said although traditional stores dominated the market, they were not growing the value of the sales they generated in technical goods as quickly as the digital players and e-commerce retailers were seeing strong growth in smartphones, panel televisions, small domestic appliances, gaming consoles and laptops.

According to the report, survey respondents cited better prices, attractive promotions and wide product selections as major reasons for shopping online rather than at at a traditional store, while by contrast, experiential factors such as getting to see and feel goods motivated shoppers to go to physical stores.

GfK South Africa’s point of sale data showed that the consumer perception that e-commerce prices were lower than in-store prices was accurate. More than two-thirds of the top 100 sellers among technical goods products in South Africa were cheaper through digital stores that at physical retailers.

Across the top 100 products, online prices were an average of 4.7 percent cheaper.

Odette Jardim, a client solutions manager at GfK South Africa, said 45 percent of connected consumers in the survey claimed to increasingly use the internet to buy products online compared to the previous year (2016).

“However, a consumer journey often straddles both physical and digital channels, meaning that the most successful retailers should have an omnichannel strategy,” said Jardim.
Meanwhile, Kevin Tucker, PriceCheck chief executive, said although South African consumers might be lagging in the amount of online shopping they did compared to the US, for instance, with increased innovation and tech security, South Africa would continue to see growth.

“South Africa has seen a boom in cutting-edge e-commerce innovation, and this needs to be celebrated,” he said.

Tucker said although the e-commerce industry had grown by 25 percent in South Africa, only 1.5 percent of online consumers ended up making a purchase.

“Online spending in South Africa is expected to reach R53 billion by the end of 2018, up from R37.1bn in 2017, according to research conducted by PayPal. There is clearly huge untapped potential in this industry,” said Tucker.

While some retailers managed to draw crowds and lines on Thanksgiving Day with Black Friday sales, other stores remained almost eerily empty as the holiday-shopping season kicked off.

However, that may not necessarily be bad news for companies banking on a profitable holiday season. On Thanksgiving Day, people spent $2.9 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics.

Here’s a look inside the shockingly empty stores this Black Friday.

Quite a few Targets seemed surprisingly empty, The Street’s Brian Sozzi noted.

“Hmmm not what I expected,” the reality-TV star Tamra Judge posted on Instagram after visiting a Target in California. “First time ever Black Friday shopping. I was so excited to fight the crowds.”

Part of the reason for empty stores could be chalked up to Black Friday sales kicking off on Thanksgiving Day.

As one commenter on Judge’s Instagram post put it: “That ’cause that crowd was there yesterday at 6pm!!! They are all sleeping now.”

However, many shoppers may simply be shopping online instead of visiting physical stores.

Target said on Friday that it had received more than three times the number of orders through its Order Pickup service than it did on Thanksgiving last year — which could explain the empty stores.

Some Best Buys seem to be facing a similar situation.

Though crowds lined up outside the retailer on Thanksgiving, Black Friday seems more tranquil — at least at some stores.

There were also empty Walmart locations, as well as some empty Big Lots.

Shoppers spent $2.9 billion online on Thanksgiving — a 18% increase over last year, according to Adobe Analytics.

Shoppers are expected to spend $107.4 billion online this holiday season, which would represent an increase of nearly 14% over last year, according to Adobe.

By Kate Taylor for The Independent

The way that cryptocurrencies have been implemented – with blockchain technology – is absolutely not a viable consumer product, says South African entrepreneur Hannes van Rensburg.

Van Rensburg, who sold his payments platform Fundamo to Visa for $110 million (R1.4 billion) in 2011, was speaking at StartupGrind Cape Town on Thursday evening, reports Ventureburn.

He said that cryptocurrrencies that use the blockchain won’t see the same kind of adoption as credit or debit cards because of the impracticality of settling payments on the blockchain.

“I think there are a lot of things that could happen in the back. I think there’s a lot of things that could happen around settlement of transactions and so forth, but it is a fallacy. I know people are going to shoot me, but I am just a straight shooter,” said Van Rensburg.

One of van Rensburg’s biggest sticking points is the way in which cryptocurrency transactions take place – also arguably one of their biggest selling points.

“If I do a transaction in Bitcoin it means that before it is actually concluded with the text in the distributed ledger, 50% plus one of the participants in this ecosystem have to acknowledge that they have written it into the ledger,” he said

“Now just consider if you were to run it as a global currency where, before you walk out of the shop having bought my packet of chips for a dollar, half the population has to acknowledge that I bought a packet of chips. It isn’t going to work in that environment.”

Van Rensburg said that he still believed that blockchain was an important technology – just not one that is consumer-driven.

Good for business but not for consumers

Van Rensburg’s viewpoint is not a unique one, with many financial experts around the world voicing their concern about the commercial applications of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Regulatory uncertainty is a big hurdle, especially in the financial-services industry. Legal frameworks, globally, will have to change to adapt to the growing use of the new technology, said a former former US Reserve official speaking to the Wall Street Journal.

There are also issues of cybersecurity; despite backers of blockchains claiming that they are secure by design, the technology hasn’t been adopted widely enough yet for it to be seriously tested.

Click here if you are intersted in checking some ICO Spotters.

Source: BusinessTech

Value for money is always going to be a key motivator when it comes to shopper behaviour. But to keep customers loyal over time, their overall emotional connection with your shopping centre is vital, says one veteran shopping-centre manager.

“The most significant positive impact of a great customer experience is long-term loyalty,” says Olive Ndebele, general manager of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria. And one of the many challenges facing shopping centres today is how to consistently give their customers this great experience.

The 37-year-old four-level Menlyn Park mall has just undergone a two-year, R2-billion, three-phase expansion and refurbishment project that will position it as the largest shopping centre in Africa. Usually during giant projects of this kind, shoppers tend to swap loyalties to other malls to avoid the chaos and inconvenience of construction but footcount numbers to the centre actually increased during some phases of the building at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, showcasing unusual resilience. Included in the reasons Ndebele cites for this atypical customer behaviour is the fact that the centre went to great lengths to ensure their customers were inconvenienced as little as possible, and to keep them engaged throughout the process. “We ensured that our customers continued to have great customer experiences in our mall, regardless of what was happening behind the scenes,” she says.

This philosophy is being carried over into the new Menlyn Park mall, which is much more than “just” a shopping centre: aside from a greatly expanded fashion wing hosting a range of international and local fashion brand stores, there’s the reconfigured two-level food and entertainment hub that includes 3D Nu Metro cinemas and the massive Fun Company centre, and a number of restaurants situated around a beautiful outdoor piazza. And, acknowledging the ever-growing number and diversity of its client base, a Prayer Centre will cater to Pretoria’s growing Muslim community.

The key to delivering a great customer experience, says Ndebele, is finding out what your customers need and want, and giving it to them. In the case of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, which has long been a popular mall in the country’s executive capital with its 100+ foreign embassies and consulates, customers include “residents of all the surrounding and outlying suburbs of Pretoria, a large contingent of foreign business people, diplomats and holidaymakers, and keen shoppers from other African countries, such as Nigeria and Mozambique, where big-name items are hard to find”, according to Ndebele. And, she adds, “We’ve put together a comprehensive tenant mix that caters to all our shoppers.”

But having great tenants doesn’t necessarily automatically translate into a great customer experience. “We live in a dynamic age of technology and innovation, and one in which caring for our customers has never been more important,” says Ndebele. “An unhappy customer can instantly share a negative experience with thousands of people through social media – but so can a customer who’s had great service. Customers are always looking for ways to feel valued, and ways to make their lives easier.”

Delivering this, says Ndebele, comes down to the personal touch – arguably, the one thing that online shopping can’t compete with in the bricks-and-mortar version. As an example Ndebele cites Menlyn Park Shopping Centre’s lightbulb concept of a “concierge service” during the last phase of the refurbishment, when friendly, efficient and well-trained staff members were stationed at busy nodes in the mall to answer queries and give directions, spoil shoppers with refreshments, and generally make sure that everybody felt genuinely cared for.

While many of today’s shoppers regard a visit to a mall like Menlyn Park Shopping Centre as an outing in its own right – during which they not only treat themselves to luxury purchases, and perhaps see a movie, play games or have a meal with family or friends – there are still those who want to simply “get in and get out”. “Career and business people, especially, don’t regard grocery shopping as a social event,” Ndebele points out. “They’re just trying to get a lot done in often very limited time.” For these shoppers, convenience and accessibility are paramount, and that’s the essence of the thinking behind the mall’s “Grocery Avenue”, with a Checkers Hyper, a Food Lovers Market and a Pick n Pay alongside each other in one section, with easy access to parking. The Pick n Pay offers even more for the busy shopper: banking services, drawing social grants, booking flights and car hire.

And proving that Menlyn Park Shopping Centre truly has gone the extra mile to cater for everyone, there are options, too, for those who like to shop at leisure while they stock their kitchen cupboards, says Ndebele: “There’s an in-store coffee shop and a take-away burger bar in the Checkers Hyper, and a seated eating area in the Food Lovers Market.”

BTS shopping will soon be in full swing, and parents are undoubtedly looking for ways to save money on school supplies.

According to a recent study from Ebates released by Consolidated Credit, 34% of Canadian parents surveyed will spend less than $100, and 22% plan to spend more than $200 per child.

Of the parents in British Columbia who were surveyed, 20% say they plan to spend more than $200 per child and 41% said they plan to spend less than $100 per child.

Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit, says that back to school season is one of the busiest shopping times of the year behind the winter holidays.

Parents with kids heading back to school this fall should make sure they take stock of what supplies they already have at home before going shopping.

“If you’ve got more than one child, that can get pretty expensive and take a bite out of your budget around this time of the year,” he says.

Schwartz suggests families go into stores with a plan and stick to it in order to keep costs down.

“Don’t go overboard. A lot of schools will provide lists that you need and sometimes those lists don’t come out until after school started,” he says.

Families should also go through their homes to take stock of what they already have and items they can potentially reuse.

“Recycle, reuse and rummage,” says Schwartz. “That means going through everybody’s backpacks from last year. Maybe you’ve got a drawer that you have in the house that’s full of pencils and pens and some of the staples that you might need and see what you can reuse there so you can avoid buying it altogether.”

Schwartz also suggests involving kids in the decision making process.

“Give them a budget. Give them a list. And perhaps even split some of the savings if they come in under budget,” he said. “It’s a fantastic learning tool for the kids around this time of year.”

Families should also keep an eye on any drops in price on items they’ve already purchased. Many stores will give shoppers back the difference.

According to research from MarketWatch, parents also make the mistake of shopping at dollar stores assuming they will have the lowest prices on everything, which isn’t always the case.

Big box stores can offer good deals on items by offering them as “loss leaders” for incredibly low prices. Their research also found that Amazon can also offer good deals if you buy in bulk but not necessarily on individual items and that a majority of consumers plan to shop both online and in-store.

By Ross McLaughlin & Carly Yoshida for www.bc.ctvnews.ca

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