Tag: shoppers

SA festive spend predicted to hit over R250bn

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Research by short-term lender, Wonga, has revealed that South Africans will each incur an average of R6 585 in festive expenses this summer, over and above their usual budgeted expenses.

Based on Statistics SA’s mid-year population size estimates, working aged South Africans are set to pump R254-billion into the economy, an increase of 24% from last year.

As part of Wonga’s Festive Spending Survey, almost 6 000 South Africans shared what they plan on doing these holidays, who they plan on doing it with and how much they intend to spend.

“Our research revealed that 60% of people think they’ll spend more this festive season than they did in 2018, despite the tough economic climate. However, rather than turning to debt, the majority have either saved throughout the year or plan on using their end of year bonuses to manage the extra expense,” explains James Williams, Head of Marketing at Wonga.

This is Wonga’s second annual Festive Spending Survey and, when compared to last year’s findings, reveals that South Africans intend on spending an average of R880 more than they did last year. This includes costs such as gifts, holidays, entertainment, transport, food and drink.

Festive budgets

The research revealed that 76% of South Africans spend more than usual over the festive season, with food and drink taking up 37% of most budgets at an average cost of R2 430 per person. This is followed by gifts which account for approximately 20% of festive budgets, with South Africans forking out over R1 200 to spoil their loved ones.

In total, respondents expect to spend an average of R6 585 each, which is almost half (46%) of the average South African’s ‘take home pay’. This is based on Bankserv Africa’s latest index, according to which South Africans take home an average of R14 385 each, after tax. This represents a significant increase from 2018, when festive budgets made up just a third of the average ‘take home pay’.

Half of the respondents indicated that they dislike the pressure to spend money over the festive season. To cope with the extra expense, the majority (45%) plan to draw from their end-of year-bonuses, or dip into their savings (42%) or stokvels (25%). Only a small portion plan on either taking out a loan (17%) or spending money on their credit cards (11%) to get them through the holidays.

Travel plans

Only one in three South Africans have festive season travel planned this year, a 5% drop from 2018, with most people (33%) citing the cost of travel as their main reason for staying home followed by work commitments (27%).

Of those leaving home for the holidays, Durban emerged as the most popular holiday destination for the second year running, followed by Cape Town. Most people (58%) will be travelling to visit family or friends, with only a small portion visiting places because they offer peace and quiet (17%) or natural beauty (12%). The bad news for those hoping to avoid traffic chaos this year is that the vast majority (60%) plan on travelling by car.

Festive gifting

Nine in ten South Africans plan on buying gifts this festive season and, while the majority (83%) plan on spoiling their family, 22% also plan on buying themselves a gift this Christmas. At the top of most people’s Christmas lists, money (34%) and vouchers (26%) emerged as the firm favourites again this year.

Although the popularity of traditional stores has declined by 6% since 2018, 75% of shoppers still prefer to visit brick and mortar stores in search of gifts, with only 13% planning to do their shopping online.

Festive celebrations

78% of South Africans’ favourite way to celebrate the festive season is by spending time with loved ones. Having a braai emerged as the most loved festive tradition for 47% of respondents, making it 10% more popular than a traditional Christmas roast.

Only 57% of South Africans have work parties or functions planned to mark the end of the year and the vast majority look forward to celebrating with their colleagues. However, for 18% this excitement is replaced with indifference either because they find their year-end functions boring (35%), don’t enjoy socialising with their work mates (20%) or resent having to spend money on gifts, clothing or food for the occasion (24%).

“It’s clear that most South Africans have a bumper festive season planned and, while it’s great to see so much holiday cheer, people should be careful not to get swept away in the excitement and wind up spending more than they can afford. Remember, the best gift that you can give to yourself and your loved ones is starting the new year on a strong financial footing,” concludes Williams.

Quick facts:

  • Festive spending to increase by 24% this year, with South Africans budgeting an average of R6 585 each over this period.
  • Just under half of working South Africans rely on a thirteenth cheque or bonus to tide them over the festive season.
  • Two thirds of South Africans won’t travel this festive season, with most claiming it is too expensive.
  • 50% of South Africans don’t like the pressure to spend money during the festive season.
  • Durban is still the most popular holiday destination amongst South Africans.
  • Despite the popularity of traditional shops dropping by 6% from 2018, 75% of South Africans still prefer brick and mortar stores to buying Christmas gifts online.
  • Money and vouchers remain the most popular gifts for 60% of South Africans.
  • South Africa’s favourite way to celebrate the festive season is with their family and friends.

Checkers trails one-hour grocery delivery service

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.

Retailers must prepare for cybercrime spikes

Retailers are increasingly coming under attack by cybercriminals, and there is little wonder why. They process payments on oftentimes unprotected Point of Sale (POS) systems, transfer large sums of money, and store and process sensitive customer information, such as banking and card information. They also process more online banking and card transactions. Cybercrime attacks on retail businesses tend to spike over the festive season, starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday when transactions spike dramatically.

Protecting customers’ payment information at every stage of the payment process is vital. Point-to-Point encryption is becoming more critical as it facilitates secure communication channels between devices and company servers, and so protects payment data in transit. POS systems should be designed to encrypt sensitive data from credit cards the moment information is received and again when it is sent to the payment server, such as passwords, configurations and other critical confidential data. The Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) increases the governance around cardholder data to reduce credit card fraud. Many banks urge organisations to be PCI DSS compliant to have the right to make credit card payments. Review systems regularly to make sure these standards are followed.

“Most cyber-attacks on retail companies happen in the e-commerce space. However, in-store POS systems are not immune to the treats. With Black Friday around the corner and the festive season looming, it is a boom time for cybercriminals. Retailers must be aware and implement strategies to guard their businesses, both online and in-store,” says Charl Ueckermann, CEO at AVeS Cyber Security.

According to Ueckermann, AVeS Cyber Security has encountered numerous organisations that have limited to no protection on POS devices. This has a direct impact on cyber security for organisations because most times, the POS and corporate systems run on the same infrastructure and network. What this means is that when a POS system is compromised, a network breach can occur for the corporate network as well, leading to confidential client information breaches.

“Protecting POS systems, therefore, requires a multi-faceted and multi-layered approach. You want a highly-effective detection and protection tool to identify and remedy vulnerabilities proactively. The solution should have anti-virus capabilities specifically designed for POS systems. You also want to ensure that the POS software itself is up to date to the latest version, at all times. This is especially important for high transaction times, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

POS systems are vulnerable to attack when they are old or outdated because the software would not have been designed with today’s modern-day hackers in mind, making them vulnerable and susceptible to malicious code. Attacks on POS systems are becoming quite sophisticated, and cybercriminals are known to use both hardware and software to hijack payment card information and steal business data. Malware targeting POS systems is common and is one of the many ways to steal payment card details. Malware is used to obtain sensitive information, and in some cases, to even steal money directly from bank accounts.

“Your security technology should be able to detect malware, tampering, rooted/jailbroken POS devices, and more. The security stack should include a feature that proactively alerts retailers and POS providers when it is not safe to use the POS devices for making payments or performing other electronic transactions. If not, your system and your business will be vulnerable,” stresses Ueckermann.

Attackers also exploit mobile POS applications to steal personal and sensitive information that is used to make fraudulent purchases. This can result in big financial losses and damage to credit reputations for unsuspecting customers, and worse still, identity theft.

The backend of mobile applications can also be used by cybercriminals to compromise POS systems as well as the majority of business transactions that are processed on the server’s side. This gives them a way into internal business systems. Once the attacker gets inside the network or central system of POS vendors or retailers, they are able to access the compromised POS application as well as other POS applications used by the retailer in other locations. Attacking the entry point at the backend is a common attacking method, and Ueckermann says countless large-scale security breaches have been caused by this method.

He concludes: “The onus is on retailers to do the due diligence to protect their customers and data against cyber-attacks over the holiday shopping season and beyond. Strategies and measures should be in place to provide a safe and secure experience for customers online and in-store.

“Card and online payment processes should be secured and encrypted, controls should be in place to check and ensure the integrity of handheld POS devices, and mobile payment systems should be subjected to regular patches, updates, and equipment upgrades to protect against continually evolving threats.”

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Criminals will likely target the influx of shoppers bustling to get their festive season shopping done over the next few weeks, says Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT.

Hattingh said that shoppers should particularly cautious of follow-home attacks.

“We are urging all shoppers to be vigilant at malls and shopping centres and to be aware that we generally see a spike in follow-home incidents at this time of year,” she said.

In most cases shoppers are followed home from the malls and hijacked in their driveways.

“Criminals are aware these shoppers have a car full of newly-purchased items and are generally easy, distracted targets.”

“If you suspect you are being followed drive immediately to your nearest police station or security provider guardhouse,” Hattingh said.

Fidelity ADT said drivers should also remember general hijacking safety tips such as waiting in the road for the gate to open before driving in, and making sure the gate is closed properly behind the vehicle before getting out.

Safety tips at malls

“When in the mall or centre carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets and rather leave unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home,” said Hattingh.

“A packed clothing store or supermarket is the prime hunting-ground for a pick-pocket or bag-snatcher. And, never leave a handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley.

“If you don’t use a bag or do not take one along, keep your wallet or purse in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers. Criminals are also targeting phones so make sure your phone is out of sight either in a zipped-up bag or in a front pocket.”

“If you are drawing large amounts of cash, take someone along to keep watch while you are at the ATM and to keep a lookout for any suspicious individuals or vehicles on the way home. If you can avoid drawing large sums of cash, do so. Electronic payments are the safer route,” she said.

Your safety outside the mall is just as important as it is inside, Fidelity ADT said.

“Before you exit the mall, have your keys ready so that no time is wasted to get your purchases and yourself into the car. This also means that you’ll be able to hold onto your handbag as you walk. If someone does try to snatch your handbag, let it go. Do not resist or fight back,” Hattingh said.

Lastly, she suggested avoiding shopping late at night.

“While the idea of a quieter shopping mall may seem appealing, you are more vulnerable in the car parks, mall bathrooms and the likes. If you have no other choice, be vigilant and report any suspicious individuals to the mall security.”

By Lisa Du and Ayaka Maki for Bloomberg/Fin24

It’s watching, and knows a crime is about to take place before it happens.

Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters, using footage from security cameras for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language.

While AI is usually envisioned as a smart personal assistant or self-driving car, it turns out the technology is pretty good at spotting nefarious behaviour. Like a scene out of the movie “Minority Report,” algorithms analyse security-camera footage and alert staff about potential thieves via a smartphone app.

The goal is prevention; if the target is approached and asked if they need help, there’s a good chance the theft never happens.

Vaak made headlines last year when it helped to nab a shoplifter at a convenience store in Yokohama. Vaak had set up its software in the shop as a test case, which picked up on previously undetected shoplifting activity. The perpetrator was arrested a few days later.

“I thought then, ‘Ah, at last!’” said Vaak founder Ryo Tanaka, 30. “We took an important step closer to a society where crime can be prevented with AI.”

Shoplifting cost the global retail industry about $34bn in lost sales in 2017 – the biggest source of shrinkage, according to a report from Tyco Retail Solutions. While that amounts to approximately 2% of revenue, it can make a huge difference in an industry known for razor-thin margins.

The opportunity is huge. Retailers are projected to invest $200bn in new technology this year, according to Gartner, as they become more open to embracing technology to meet consumer needs, as well as improve bottom lines.

“If we go into many retailers whether in the US or UK, there are very often going to be CCTV cameras or some form of cameras within the store operation,” said Thomas O’Connor, a retail analyst at Gartner. “That’s being leveraged by linking it to an analytics tool, which can then do the actual analysis in a more efficient and effective way.”

Because it involves security, retailers have asked AI-software suppliers such as Vaak and London-based Third Eye not to disclose their use of the anti-shoplifting systems. It’s safe to assume, however, that several big-name store chains in Japan have deployed the technology in some form or another.

READ: Amazon facial AI matched politicians with criminals in test
Vaak has met with or been approached by the biggest publicly traded convenience-store and drugstore chains in Japan, according to Tanaka.

Big retailers have already been adopting AI technology to help them do business. Apart from inventory management, delivery optimisation and other enterprise needs, AI algorithms run customer-support chatbots on websites. Image and video analysis is also being deployed, such as Amazon.com’s Echo Look, which gives users fashion advice.

“We’re still just discovering all the market potential,” Tanaka said. “We want to keep expanding the scope of the company.”

Founded in 2017, Vaak is currently testing in a few dozen stores in the Tokyo area. The company began selling a market-ready version of its shoplifting-detection software this month, and is aiming to be in 100 000 stores across Japan in three years. It has ¥50m ($450 000) in funding from SoftBank Group’s AI fund, and is in the middle of its series A round, seeking to raise ¥1bn.

What makes AI-based shoplifting detection a straightforward proposition is the fact that most of the hardware – security cameras – is usually already in place.

READ: Microsoft seeks to restrict abuse of its facial recognition AI
“Essentially this is using something that’s been underutilised for decades,” said Vera Merkatz, business development manager at Third Eye. Founded in 2016, the startup offers services similar to Vaak in the UK market, where it has a deal with a major grocery chain. Third Eye is looking to expand into Europe.

The ability to detect and analyse unusual human behaviour also has other applications. Vaak is developing a video-based self-checkout system, and wants to use the videos to collect information on how consumers interact with items in the store to help shops display products more effectively.

Beyond retail, Tanaka envisions using the video software in public spaces and train platforms to detect suspicious behavior or suicide jumpers. At Third Eye, Merkatz said she’s been approached by security management companies looking to leverage their AI technology.

“The potential is broad since it can be applied outside of shoplifting prevention and outside of retail — such as with manufacturing or other types of marketing,” said Hiroaki Ando, a retail consultant at Ernst & Young Advisory & Consulting in Tokyo.

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 .”

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, which is currently undergoing a major R2-billion redevelopment, has introduced a unique concierge ambassadors programme to minimise inconvenience to shoppers. Twelve fully trained concierge ambassadors are stationed at the busiest nodes of the mall to advise and guide shoppers during trading hours, seven days a week.

“During a refurbishment project such as the one we’ve implemented, it’s very important to make sure that shoppers are well informed of the processes that are underway. This is one of the reasons why the concierge ambassador programme was started,” says Andrea de Wit, marketing manager of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.

Apart from helping shoppers to navigate through the centre during renovations, the ambassadors provide helpful hints and updates on new tenants. “Our shoppers have been thoroughly delighted by this initiative and it’s had a positive effect on our footfall numbers over this period.”

The ambassadors are stationed in the existing centre, in the Village (the “temporary mall”) and in Grocery Avenue, which contains the centre’s main food and grocery outlets. They will be on duty right through to December 2016, seeing the centre through most of its renovations.

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