New technology ensures retailers’ compliance with NCA and POPI

Marc Fletcher, head of marketing and sales at Intervate, a T-Systems company.

Marc Fletcher, head of marketing and sales at Intervate, a T-Systems company.

Multi-award winning, Microsoft Gold Certified partner, Intervate has extensive experience with South African retailers and the challenges they face when extending store credit to customers.

Applying the world-class Kofax Total Agility suite as underlying technology, Intervate, enables retailers to improve the quality of their credit scoring, enhance the account opening experience for the customer and ultimately ensure responsible lending.

In addition, by using this suite local retailers can now also ensure compliance with both the Affordability Amendment to National Credit Act (NCA), and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI).

Retailers are also able to securely expose the credit application process directly to customers – enabling them to complete applications from the convenience of their homes, or their smartphones.

NCA Affordability Amendment: Promulgated in March 2015, this new amendment is designed to prevent the use of forged documents such as bank statements, and deliberate under-estimation of household expenses by consumers. With South Africans becoming increasingly indebted, the amendment forces more stringent credit scoring requirements on lenders.

The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, which is yet to come into effect, will govern the collection, storage, usage, sharing and destroying of an individual’s personal information.

Both pieces of legislation include severe penalties for non-compliance. If the NCA is contravened, credit licenses can be revoked, fines of up to 10% of annual turnover can be levied, plus the costs of associated reparations incurred. Violating the POPI Act could see organisations paying up to R10 million in fines, per incident.

“The NCA amendments have extremely positive intent: to ensure financial stability for individuals and the economy in general. However, many retailers are concerned with the increased burdens and risks,” notes Marc Fletcher, head of marketing and sales at Intervate, a T-Systems company.

“When we add the introduction of POPI to the mix, many retailers will have to make wholesale adjustments to their customer on-boarding processes. Our solution is designed to address both the NCA and POPI requirements in one fell swoop.”

The Kofax Total Agility Solution, delivered by Intervate, offers the following key benefits:

· Faster, more accurate credit application and credit scoring processes (compliant with the NCA)
· Conformance with information security requirements outlined in the POPI Act
· Higher quality debtors books with less impairments and write-offs
· Exposing credit application services to customers – via online forms and document uploads
· Integration with any back-end work-flow processing systems currently being used
· Full life-cycle management of the customer relationship

The solution is able to “learn” certain key indicators on, for instance, a bank statement.

So when assessing affordability, a direct debit for a medical aid premium would be automatically classified into a certain category, as would a repayment to a vehicle finance house, or the card-swipe for a purchase at a supermarket.

This auto-populates a credit scoring application form, ensuring that retailers get an accurate view of an individual’s monthly household expenses. If something about a particular document doesn’t match certain expectations, it would be funnelled into an exception queue – where the retailer’s staff can assess the document for validity.

“While the initial impetus behind adopting automated solutions may be regulatory compliance, we expect that retailers will very quickly start seeing the business benefits as well – including better quality credit, shorter queues for in-store applications, and enhanced customer experiences,” concludes Fletcher.

The art – and science – of refurbishment

Transforming, refreshing and modernising existing shopping centres and retail environments requires considerable architectural skill, knowledge and expertise.

In this process, many factors are brought together to result in an aesthetically pleasing centre – an attractive and comfortable space for tenants and shoppers alike.

MDS Architecture of Sandton is a practice of 60 years’ standing renowned for its skill in this specialised field, having designed and implemented numerous revamps for centres over the years. Sean Pearce and Pierre Lahaye, two of the partners at MDS Architecture, share their design insights on two refurbishment examples, one completed in 2015, the other currently in progress:

Riverside Shopping Centre

Riverside Shopping Centre, Bryanston, was recently refurbished by MDS Architecture

Riverside Shopping Centre, Bryanston, was recently refurbished by MDS Architecture

MDS Architecture recently designed the refurbishment and extension for this landmark shopping centre in Bryanston. The contemporary design refreshed and revitalised the centre whilst retaining the village feel, attracting a fresh new tenant mix and new shoppers.

The owners, Moolman Group, wanted to preserve the charm of Riverside Shopping Centre while addressing accessibility issues and improving convenience and parking capacity,” says Sean Pearce, the partner at MDS Architecture heading the project.

Tenants needed to trade during the refurbishment and the commercial considerations associated with an existing property were weighed up in determining the best solution for Riverside. Ultimately, taking into account the yield on land value as well as myriad other considerations, a design began to take shape.

The existing building was well placed on the site but there was insufficient parking. For this reason, MDS Architecture retained the current structure and created new parking, almost doubling the parking capacity to 225 bays.

The team adopted a lean design and searched for ways in which to transform the aesthetic within the budget required for the developer to maintain its desired yields. “Working within the existing footprint, we honed in on areas that were dating the centre,” says Pearce.

Certain walkways were widened, natural light was maximised and the existing square was enhanced by re-orientating the views from the square to celebrate the outdoors.

Before

Before

The existing roof, including its dated skylight, was removed. In its place, a new floating roof was added to create a distinctive feature for Riverside Shopping Centre, particularly as one approaches the site from the spruit.

After

After

The main wall facing Bryanston Drive beneath the floating roof is utilised for elegant, monochromatic and eye-catching signage.

The floating roof was mindfully not enclosed to ensure that maximum natural light permeates the walkway underneath it. As a result, sunlight illuminates the walkway during the day. This is further enhanced by a new floor treatment of tiles in a lighter colour palette and texture creates additional interest,” explains Pearce.

Destination stores have been relocated upstairs in Riverside and a vibrant open square has been created by removing a portion of the previous parking area. “The harshness of the parking area was softened and in its place, we now have a pleasant, private and open space with a lovely ambience for restaurants,” explains Pearce.

Once the square was completed, Woolworths expanded its store from 420m2 to 1,650m2 and now offers a deli, bakery, fishmonger and a coffee shop.

On the exterior, parts of the original facebrick building were bag-washed in places to maintain the village feel. It also boasts a contemporary exterior cladding to create a more modern aesthetic while concealing previous inconsistencies and unsightly infrastructure.

The exterior cladding is a fibre-cement board applied to a lightweight steel screen (LSF). It simplified the alteration and had a massive impact on modernising the centre,” explains Pearce.

The square is now a vibrant space, complete with an animated and illuminated clockface on the wall facing the square. The clock feature can change in colour, which creates interest in the square.

Stonework on the square and at the entrances to Riverside helps to evoke feelings of village squares and adds to the all-important textural aspect of the refurbishment. Landscaping provides much needed greenery and softens the area around the square and the perimeter of the shopping centre.

Signage at Riverside Shopping Centre has been kept monochromatic for an elegant and understated look.

The wider walkway in the existing centre, coupled with white bulkheads, LED cove lights and elegant signage have created a new feel at Riverside. The existing shop fronts feature more glazing. “By pulling the bulkheads back and introducing cut-outs to the upper level, the existing shop fronts were modernised. The main walkway was widened by pulling back the line of the shop front bulkheads, thus giving the appearance of more space and light. The original shop fronts have been transformed into boxes which protrude into the walkway. We have maximised light, which always feels luxurious,” explains Pearce.

Since the revamped Riverside Shopping Centre was completed late in 2015, it continues to enjoy great support from local shoppers. Its tenant mix features national stores such as Woolworths and passionate owner-run businesses, from the Fruit & Veg store to the Riverside Bistro. Certain key tenants were located to the upper level to create a destination of similar offerings. The stores include a hair salon, make-up studio and laser therapy. The upper ground floor has been designated as the health and beauty section of the centre.

The new-look Riverside Shopping Centre is a true case of the ugly duckling becoming a swan and has managed to achieve the precise balance between contemporary design and a cosy, village feel.

Professional team

Client: Moolman Group

Project Manager: Orion Group

Architect: MDS Architecture

Quantity Surveyors: Aecom

Structural & Civil Engineer: Knutton Consulting Engineers

Mechanical Engineer IngPlan

Electrical Engineer Quad Africa

 

Southdale Shopping Centre

Southdale Shopping Centre is currently undergoing a refurbishment to MDS Architecture’s design which will transform the oldest shopping centre in Johannesburg into a light, bright, contemporary shopping centre for its loyal patrons. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Located in a well-established area in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg, Southdale Shopping Centre has been through a number of extensions since its original launch as an open arcade in the 1970s.

Pierre Lahaye, the partner at MDS Architecture heading up the project, says that the team decided to retain the origins of a high street concept, but evolve it into a contemporary interpretation thereof.

The new design features an abundance of natural light and tactile materials in bright and cheerful colours. “The project required a holistic view. The court areas are being opened up and the connection between the top and bottom floor is being stripped out to create circulation. In addition, the escalators are being moved from the entrance to improve flow and to minimise dead ends,” explains Lahaye.

Built in the 1970s by the same developers who constructed Hyde Park, the shopping centre enjoys great support from the well-established surrounding area.

Professional team

Client: ONE Group

Project Manager: Vertias Project Managers

Architect: MDS Architecture

Quantity Surveyors: Van der Westhuizen QS

Structural & Civil Engineer: C-Plan

Electrical Engineer: Debcon

 

MDS Architecture is an award-winning practice that has designed buildings that attract the business, the people and the activity that lead to a sustained performance. With a proud reputation since 1954, the practice is renowned for its skill in the sectors of hospitality and leisure, retail developments, offices, residential buildings and interiors.

 

Mall Indaba a huge success

Mall Indaba a huge success

Anthony Stokes, Centre Manager at St Georges Mall - JHI Properties, addresses delegates at Mall Indaba 2016

Anthony Stokes, Centre Manager at St Georges Mall – JHI Properties, addresses delegates at Mall Indaba 2016

The inaugural Mall Indaba held in Sandton recently was well received by delegates and the shopping centre industry as a whole.

Organised by CADEK Media, the two-day conference addressed all aspects of mall management, operations and marketing and was well attended by mall managers, owners, marketers and suppliers to the mall and retail industries.

Fourteen speakers addressed the conference on a wide variety of topics including the latest shopping centre trends, threats and opportunities.

Belinda Clur, Managing Director of Clur Research International opened the conference with an insightful overview on the Impact of the Economy as well as current Shopping Centre and Retail Trends. She said that conflicting and contrasting economic and retail trends now emerging require careful crafting from the shopping centre perspective.

The retail sector has shown considerable stamina amidst the broader economic slowdown over the last year. The Clur Retail Risk Indicator, part of Retail Live, an interpretive early warning system for shopping centres, showed a reduction in shopping centre risk over 2015 as mall space worked harder, driven by better use of space and most notably the impact of strategic tenant mix, sizing and product mix to correct under-performing space dynamics. Thus shopping centre managers and retailers are adapting to fast changing consumer dynamics.

Dirk Nico Prinsloo from Urban Studies added that with slower economic growth expected in South Africa over the next two to three years it is expected that a number of new retail developments planned will only enter the market in 2019 or later. Redevelopment opportunities will however gain momentum especially in established residential markets. Detailed market research will be critical for future retail developments especially with regards to the positioning of the new facilities.

The message from speakers at the Indaba was crystal clear: Malls need to be innovative in their approach to the management and marketing of their centres in order to ensure good foot traffic and to stay competitive.

Mall Indaba speakers: Back row, from left: Anthony Stokes, Justin Cohen, Dirk Nico Prinsloo, Chris De Klerk (Organiser). Front, from left: Belinda Clur, Francois Coetzer, Adrian Morris, Jasper De Vreugt

Mall Indaba speakers: Back row, from left: Anthony Stokes, Justin Cohen, Dirk Nico Prinsloo, Chris De Klerk (Organiser). Front, from left: Belinda Clur, Francois Coetzer, Adrian Morris, Jasper De Vreugt

Adrian Morris, COO of Design Partnership, said that Malls need to start transacting in culture, experiences and relationships. They need to become the hub for citizens, communities and tribes alike through re-imagining themselves as marketplaces for relationships, by offering complementary services and experiences that go well beyond products.

While utility and relevance form a solid foundation, malls must strive to deliver more, to truly capture the hearts and minds of today’s shopper. By tapping into an ecosystem of partners and citizens, they can create a powerful halo effect, generating value for all who participate.

Mall Indaba aims to be the annual meeting place where shopping centre management teams can gather to learn about the latest trends and opportunities in their industry. The conference also includes discussions on industry threats and challenges and sparks new ideas for shopping centres. A must attend event for the industry.

The next Mall Indaba will be held on 13 & 14 March 2017 at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton.

Editor’s note… What recession?

What recession?

John Thomé

John Thomé

In this harsh economic climate, isn’t it refreshing to see that the retail sector, in particular shopping malls large and small, continue to grow and prosper?

Consider the range of shopping centres and malls either currently under construction or being refurbished, or having been recently completed – the list, and its relative contribution to our economy at various levels – is indeed significant:

Construction and finishing of the iconic Mall of Africa has just been completed, and opened amidst great fanfare in April; expansion of Fourways Mall will double its size within the next two years; the recently refurbished Eastgate Mall as well as East Rand Mall (which is also being renamed East Point Mall); Cresta; The Pavilion in KwaZulu-Natal; Century City; Ballito Junction; Blue Route Mall in 2014; Rustenburg’s Waterfall Mall; and Kyalami Corner now under construction, to name a few. The list is seemingly endless – and let’s not forget those under construction in the rest of Africa.

This is not a new trend or phenomenon, but one that has been ongoing for decades. Cyclic in nature, property owners take advantage of the current low cost of construction – and plan new malls and revamps accordingly in these tough times.

Whilst this is no panacea for our ailing construction sector, it is certainly an encouraging indicator in terms of investor confidence at development level, as well as retail operation level with home brands coming to the party all the way, and with new international brands demonstrating their confidence by opening up in South Africa.

Let’s hope that this thread of continued growth and success in retail development and operation forms the catalyst to spin off confidence across our economic spectrum.

That said, I wish to thank Bernadette for her outstanding work in bringing Shopping and Retail SA to such great heights. We wish her every success in her new endeavours.

It’s certainly exciting to be back in the vibrant field of shopping and retail.

John