Tag: shop

The Shoprite Group is fighting crime by investing heavily in sophisticated security and other measures to make its shopping space secure, reduce the number of criminal incidents and increase the number of arrests.

This is in the wake of the retail industry experiencing significant crime incidents in which the Shoprite Group had to contend with 489 armed robberies and burglaries in its 2018 financial year.

Its investments in crime prevention, including a centralised Command Centre and anti-crime team, gives the Group the ability to monitor stores and vehicles, remotely trigger security devices, follow up on crime incidents and ensure suspects are arrested.

Through an extensive intelligence network, the Command Centre receives live information on strikes, protests and other incidents. This information can be used to react and take necessary measures to safeguard the Group’s fleet on the road as well as staff and customers in its stores.

Shoprite’s efforts to keep its customers and staff safe are reflected in a reduction of contact (violent) crime incidents and increased prosecutions. “It is a work in progress,” says Group Loss Prevention Manager, Oswald Meiring. “Incidents of violent crime and robberies are coming down, and we will continue to do everything we can to make us a harder target.”

Arrests have increased by 200% as a result of the Group increasing its capability to identify, trace and arrest suspects. Recently the Group was also able to assist with the arrest of two suspects after the manager of its Worcester branch was shot and killed in a robbery. A third suspect has been identified and arrest is imminent.

“We continue to focus on creating a safer environment for customers and staff. That is our first priority and we will go to any length to prosecute whoever is committing these crimes.”

The Group works closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to affect the necessary arrests. It shares intelligence with them to ensure that bail is successfully opposed and that prosecution of criminals is successful.

In addition to tracking devices, the Group installed cameras and electronic locks on trucks which are managed from the Command Centre. Trucks can be remotely opened and closed, with alarms triggered if trucks are stationery for a certain length of time, or if unusual driving behaviour is detected. Since these devices were installed, there have been no incidents in transit on these vehicles.

It has also employed an in-house investigation team made up of experienced investigators. It has a team of Data and Crime Analysts who utilise predictive and historical analysis of all the crime data, to identify which stores or areas should be focused on. The Group has also employed an expert criminal lawyer to assist with the successful prosecution of criminals.

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.

In many countries — SA included — shopping centre vacancies are ticking up. The reason: depressed sales, coupled with rising competition from e-commerce, force retailers to consolidate space and close underperforming stores.

Understandably, mall owners and retailers are increasingly grappling with the question of how to stay relevant amid the fast-changing habits of fickle shoppers.

Speaking at the annual congress of the SA Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) in Cape Town last month, a number of international panellists warned that landlords and retailers will have to become far more innovative in their tenant mix and products if they want to curb rising mall vacancies and falling trading densities (turnover per square metre).

Shopping centres need to promote a sense of community if they want people to keep coming back
Herculano Rodrigues, associate director of UK-based retail strategy consultant Javelin Group, said the global retail landscape will change more over the next 10 years than it has over the past 40 years. One of the key industry challenges, said Rodrigues, will be what to do with a growing oversupply of shopping centre space as retailers downsize.

Rodrigues said this year in the US alone 20 of the biggest retailers will collectively close around 3,000 stores. “E-commerce hasn’t even hit SA yet, so the change in the retail landscape will be even more pronounced in SA than in developed countries over the next few years,” said Rodrigues.

However, some industry players believed that the advent of e-commerce has also created new opportunities for astute developers, landlords and retailers.

UK-based retail futurist Howard Saunders said the irony of rapid digital transformation is that people are increasingly returning to old-world values, with a renewed search for a sense of community and physical interaction. That has given rise to what Saunders terms “brand playgrounds” — stores that not only display products but offer consumers a social experience and a place to simply hang out. He referred to Nike’s new flagship store in New York, which houses a basketball court where people are encouraged to engage with one another while trying out Nike shoes.

Saunders says interestingly enough the trend is also being embraced by some of the big online retailers such as Amazon and prescription glasses and eyewear seller Warby Parker who both recently opened huge brick and mortar stores in the US to give customers a physical experience that e-commerce simply cannot provide.

Another major trend is that people are sick of mass produced products, Saunders said. There is now a global search for authenticity, which he believed has supported the rise of markets and the artisanal food and beverage revolution. “It’s no longer other big brands that are scaring the likes of Starbucks or Cadbury’s but rather the small barista, bread maker and chocolatier. Similarly, McDonald’s isn’t interested in what Burger King is doing — they are more worried about food trucks and salad bars.”

Saunders noted that in the US for instance, the number of markets has grown fivefold from around 10,000 to 50,000 over the past decade. He believed traditional malls will only survive if they embrace the same trend. “Mall owners need to bring entrepreneurs back into their centres.”

However, Saunders argued that it won’t be financially viable for smaller tenants to open shop in malls unless landlords start adopting more flexible lease structures that make provision for pop-up shops and affordable, short-term rental options.

Trevor Hardy, CEO of international brand strategists The Future Laboratory, voiced a similar sentiment. “The most forward looking businesses today are not those that are saying how can we use technology to make retail more efficient but rather those that are using technology to make retail more human and emotional.”

He said younger consumers in particular, typically aged between 17 and 35, want to opt out of fast-paced consumerism. “The new mindset is that more is not better. Younger consumers are less into acquisition and opulence and more into experiences.”

Hardy said the new sharing economy has also encouraged a mindset of borrowing rather than buying. “Shopping centres therefore need to promote a sense of community if they want people to keep coming back,” said Hardy.
SA industry players said local mall owners are already adapting their business models in a bid to survive shifts in consumer behaviour.

Wilna Savio, portfolio executive for property management group Broll, said SA retail landlords are now actively looking at ways to improve tenant retention and create more flexible lease scenarios. They hope this will counter rising vacancies left by the recent closure of retailers such as Stuttafords as well as international fashion brands Mango, Nine West and River Island.

She noted that after the closure of some of these “big box” stores they are being successfully “repurposed” through subdivision to create space for smaller tenants. Others are turning large, vacant spaces into boutique-type gyms, kids’ play areas, entertainment areas or food courts. “It’s now all about ‘shoppertainment’,” said Savio.

By Joan Muller for BusinessLive

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