By Dhivana Rajgopaul for IOL
The Shoprite Group has announced that the sale of personal care products have soared at Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets.
According to the company, as hair and beauty salons remain closed under level 4 of the national lockdown this trend is set to continue.
There has been a sharp increase in demand for ethnic hair care, especially extensions, relaxers, conditioners and other treatments. Hair colour products have also gained significant popularity.
The increase is not only because salons are closed. Many people now have more time to do their hair at home and many hair care processes take a considerable amount of time.
Customers that normally bought groceries and household items at Shoprite and Checkers, and then went elsewhere for conditioner or hair colour are likely also trying to do their entire shop at one store. This may account for some of the sales increases.
There could also be some evidence of the “lipstick effect”, where consumers tend to spend more on small indulgences during a time of economic stress.
In cosmetics, nail polish purchases have increased dramatically while face creams, cleansers and skin refreshers dominate the skincare category. Shaving products, specifically men’s disposables, are also growing strongly.
Recently, the retailer introduced contactless QR payments keep its customers and employees safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is the first South African food retailer to offer QR payments which will be available at the tills in all Shoprite, Usave, Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores within the next two months.
Customers can scan the QR code at the till point with their phones and pay with Masterpass, SnapScan, Zapper, FNB Pay or Nedbank Pay.
As the retailer uses a dynamic QR code, the amount payable will automatically display on the customer’s phone, leaving little room for error.
This development, in line with the Group’s strategic commitment to put its customers first and make shopping more convenient for them, allowing customers to shop even if they forgot their wallet at home or would prefer not to carry cash or touch the pin pad.
By Dhivana Rajgopaul for IOL
Shoprite Group via its affiliate Computicket has launched virtual vouchers which can be redeemed at any Shoprite, Checkers or Usave supermarket to help customers during the lockdown.
The virtual vouchers that can be safely bought, in just a few easy steps, are sent via SMS to a recipient’s cellphone within an hour of placing the order. It can be redeemed immediately once received.
How it works:
1. Go to www.computicket.com to buy a voucher.
2. The virtual voucher can only be used in-store (not online) by entering the unique voucher number into the pin pad at check out.
3. Vouchers can only be redeemed once, with no change given if the purchase value is less than the voucher value. The remaining value will be loaded onto a gift card in store.
4. Vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash and cannot be redeemed at MediRite pharmacies or at Money Market counters.
5. The vouchers are valid for three years.
Customers can also send money to recipients without bank accounts at the Money Market counters located in selected Shoprite, Checkers and Usave stores.
The company has also rolled out temperature testing and mobile clinics for its employees as it continues to do everything in its power to ensure its stores remain safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Daily temperature testing as employees arrive at work and the roll out of mobile clinics follows the issuing of plastic face shields for employees last week.
Stringent hygiene and sanitising protocols have been in place across all of its stores, distribution centres and offices to keep the shopping environment virus-free.
Employees will wear face shields that are santised on the hour and at all till points staff also sanitise till surfaces.
By Dhivana Rajgopaul for IOL
Checkers has launched its exclusive on-demand one-hour grocery delivery service named Sixty60.
It is South Africa’s first 60-minute grocery delivery service from a supermarket chain.
With Sixty60 consumers can shop for their food and grocery needs from the comfort of their home or office, saving them time by having it delivered to their preferred address.
The mobile app delivers groceries and drinks at the touch of a button and offers the same value for money for which Checkers is renowned. Users can track the status of their order and delivery in real time.
“Sixty60 will offer unrivalled convenience because it does all the hard work for you,” said Neil Schreuder, Chief of Innovation and Strategy at Shoprite Checkers.
“In our time-pressed society, providing consumers with a swift, on-demand grocery delivery service is like giving them back time: today’s most precious commodity,” added Schreuder.
Following months of testing the Sixty60 app with its own employees, it is now being piloted to the public in select locations in Cape Town and Sandton.
Schreuder said, “The name Sixty60 captures the service’s main ambition: for customers to order groceries in sixty seconds and have them delivered in as little as sixty minutes”.
Products on the Sixty60 app retail at the same low prices found in Checkers stores. Delivery is absolutely free for the time being during the pilot period.
Sixty60 is currently available to the public in Checkers supermarkets in the Western Cape (including Durbanville, Willowbridge, Okavango Crossing, Rondebosch, Kloof Street, Sea Point) and Gauteng (Melrose and Bryanston). According to the retailer, there are plans to roll out the delivery service nationally from early next year.
Sixty60’s beta app is now available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store.
South African consumers have hit hard times over the past few years as a creeping GDP growth, high unemployment and many political shocks continued to weigh on the economy.
In June, GDP data from Stats SA showed that South Africa has officially entered into a recession, with economists predicting tough times ahead for consumers, as more ratings downgrades are in the pipeline, which will ultimately put further pressure on the pocket.
One of the key components of South Africa’s slide into recession was a cut in consumer spending, in everything from recreation, clothing and transport, to even basic needs categories like food.
And South Africa’s biggest food retailers are feeling the pinch.
In April, Pick n Pay missed expectations for its full year earnings citing strained consumer spending as shoppers sought out cheaper options – which appeared to drive them to Shoprite’s doors, who reported a 14% growth in turnover in its latest financial year.
Woolworths, which has consistently positioned itself as a ‘premium’ food store, has seemed to weather the storm, with its latest results for FY2016 showing a 24% growth in profit from its food segment – which makes up 37% of the group’s total turnover.
A weakening economy and drought conditions hit South African food prices hard in 2016, with food inflation hitting close to 12% throughout the year. With a record yield from crops expected in 2017, some relief is on the cards – but the recession and other expected economic woes are likely to keep the pressure on consumers.
In the latest assessment of prices across South African retailers, we found that there has not been much a shift among South Africa’s food retailers.
When shopping for the BusinessTech basket of goods, Woolworths still checks out at the highest price – though it is apparent that, with the exception of Shoprite, competitors have struggled to keep prices low.
The BusinessTech Basket of Goods
For our basket, we look at some essential and non-essential food products. The basket contains 12 items, with store-brands priced for each item where available. The table below shows the pricing:
Prices were sourced in-store from stores around Centurion and cross-checked online, where applicable.Promotional prices, where marked, were not taken into account. Woolworths self-raising flour prices were determined on a per kg basis. In-store prices are subject to change depending on individual regions and promotions.
Prices have increased significantly in some cases, compared to the mid-2015 review. This is most notable in sugar and maize, which were impacted by drought conditions in the country during the interim period.
The most striking difference between the 2015 and 2017 reviews is that Pick n Pay, which was ranked as the cheapest basket in 2015, is now extremely close to being the second-most expensive, a few rands under Spar.
Checkers, which has positioned itself as the more affordable option, has lived up to that reputation, with many of its prices actually decreasing between 2015 and 2017.