SA’s malls set to enjoy fair trade this festive season… and a bright future

SA’s malls set to enjoy fair trade this festive season… and a bright future

This holiday season is likely to ring in fair festive retail sales despite 2016’s frail and fickle economy. In fact, this December’s retail trade could well be an improvement on last year.

Paul Gerard

This is the word from Paul Gerard of Flanagan & Gerard Property Development & Investment, the leading shopping centre developer and retail leasing specialists.

Even with the current political volatility, macroeconomic indicators favour the festive trading season in 2016,” says Gerard.

His careful optimism is driven by the performance of retailers in Flanagan & Gerard’s shopping centre portfolio, which show better growth than figures published for the industry.

Established in 2001, Flanagan and Gerard has been involved in developing many dominant regional shopping centres and high-end niche community centres across South Africa, working with various joint-venture partners. Noted retail developments under its belt include Vaal Mall, Paarl Mall, Mall of the North, Middelburg Mall, Highveld Mall, Heidelberg Mall, Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, Morningside Shopping Centre and Nicolway Bryanston, among others.

It also has an impressive trio of exciting new retail property developments set to open shortly.

The world-class Springs Mall at Blue Crane Eco Park in Ekurhuleni, on Gauteng’s East Rand, opens on 16 March 2017. At 48 000 mit will be the only major mall in its region. It is a joint venture between Flanagan & Gerard, Blue Crane Eco Mall (Pty) Ltd, JSE-listed retail focused SA REIT Vukile Property Fund and Murinda Investments, which is part of the Giuricich Bros Group.

The spectacular 80 000 m2 Ballito Junction Regional Mall redevelopment on KwaZulu-Natal’s Dolphin Coast will open on 23 March 2017 with 200-plus shops. It is owned and developed by Flanagan & Gerard with Menlyn Maine Investment Holdings.

The highly anticipated 50,000sqm regional Thavhani Mall at Thavhani City in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, opens on 24 August 2017. Flanagan & Gerard is developer and shareholder in Thavhani Property Investments, responsible for the leasing and development of the mall. Vukile Property Fund has also secured a one-third stake in this mall, which will transfer on its completion.

Gerard notes that 2016 has given consumers plenty of new retail space, especially in the Gauteng region, and boosted their choices with new international brands.

This festive season, he believes people will spend mostly on first-order goods, such as food, pharmaceuticals, services and clothing. In contrast, furniture and other discretionary purchases are likely to be least appealing to shoppers.

Dominant regional shopping centres are best poised to attract spend,” reports Gerard who cautions that, even so, trading success relies strongly on a shopping centre’s relevance.

Shopping centres that successfully compete for market share are those deeply rooted in their communities. They offer a mix of shopping, services and leisure that accurately reflect the community or region they serve. They also take part in more community involvement,” says Gerard.

Adding the seasonal bells and whistles to a festive shopping experience can also help support good holiday trade. Gerard says: “Décor itself plays a small part in driving festive trade. People are generally aspirational and favour shopping environments that are more elegant and engaging. Depending on the community in which a mall is located, entertainment can contribute to promoting festive spend.”

As for online shopping, he notes that it still plays a very small role, and only in higher-income areas within metropolitans, so it won’t have a significant impact on bricks-and-mortar retail this summer.

Beyond the festive season, Gerard’s outlook for retail property in 2017 is positive as the shopping centre industry continues to advance.

As the information revolution continues, the shopping centre mix evolves. Service-based retail will continue to become more prominent. In addition, multichannel and omnichannel retailing will become more prevalent. Retailers will offer all forms of shopping and do so in a more integrated way. For example, offering online shopping with click-and-collect options from bricks-and-mortar stores.”

Fanfare as Menlyn Park Shopping Centre opens

Fanfare as Menlyn Park Shopping Centre opens

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria celebrated the fruits of two years of hard work by staging a magnificent party in December to relaunch the popular mall, now the biggest in Africa following a R2-billion makeover. “It was wonderful to see the centre in its final splendour, and to begin this new exciting chapter with our tenants, loyal customers and friends,” said Olive Ndebele, general manager of the shopping centre.

Malose Kekana, group CEO of Pareto Holdings

The launch party was held in the mall’s Central Park, which is planted with picturesque trees and encircled by trendy restaurants, and is the perfect place to enjoy long, warm summer evenings. Guests were entertained by popular musicians and delectable food from Ocean Basket and Hard Rock Café.

Olive Ndebele (photo: Pretoria East Rekord)

Retailer and shopper demand was the driving force behind the giant makeover, which has created a total lettable floor space of over 170 000 m2.

Gauteng transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi lauded the shopping centre for its integral transport facilities and involvement in the Bus Rapid Transport system to commence early next year. Malose Kekana, group CEO of Pareto Holdings, the owners of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, thanked everyone for making the 500-store mall – now a one-stop destination for all shopping needs and entertainment for the whole family – into a centre to be proud of, while Olive Ndebele was on hand to share all the milestones that were reached through the redevelopment: “We’re so excited to have accomplished this momentous task, and to have turned Menlyn Park Shopping Centre into a place to enjoy all year round,” she said.

We’ve put together a fantastic tenant mix that caters to all our shoppers,” says. The centre attracts residents of all the surrounding and outlying suburbs of Pretoria, a large contingent of foreign businesspeople, diplomats and holidaymakers, and keen shoppers from other African countries, such as Nigeria and Mozambique, where big-name items are hard to find.”

Among the established anchor tenants and top international brands making Menlyn Park their home are on-trend fashion drawcards such as Zara clothing, Fabiani menswear and H&M Clothing. “Menlyn Park is the leading shopping destination in Pretoria and we’re proud to be bringing our customers value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price,” says Amelia-May Woudstra, public relations manager for H&M Clothing.

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre introduced a large, accessible grocery section during one of the two phases of the redevelopment, anchor tenants Checkers Hyper, Food Lovers Market, New World Discount Stores and Pick n Pay were introduced. “I love the fact that I can get all my monthly groceries from a variety of stores in the same area,” explains Sarah van Zyl, a frequent shopper at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.

Another major drawcard within Menlyn is Central Park, an open-air piazza surrounded by beautiful Pride of India trees and edged with popular restaurants.

Ndebele says that Menlyn Park will reaffirm its place as the number-one destination in Pretoria for the best entertainment and shopping all year round, with special offers, events and pop-up sales and stores to cater for the whole family.

For the Christmas season, the mall offers three pop-up gift-wrapping stations, with complimentary snacks, and all proceeds going to the Smile Foundation. Extended shopping hours are 09h00 to 21h00 daily, and 09h00 to 17h00 on public holidays. Menlyn Park Shopping Centre has parking for over 8 200 vehicles.

Black Friday: The key to retail success is ensuring a positive shopper experience across all relevant channels

Taj Elkhayat

Black Friday: The key to retail success is ensuring a positive shopper experience across all relevant channels

By Taj Elkhayat, Regional Vice President Middle East, Turkey and Africa for Riverbed Technology

In the build up to this year’s November 25 Black Friday – and the lesser known Cyber Monday – experts predicted that shoppers would spend double the amount they did in 2015. And they were right! In some instances (see news reports below) this year’s retail shopping bonanza exceeded 300 percent.

At the same time PwC forecast that online sales would account for 77 percent of spending, versus 17 percent in stores, meaning that competition for stores to attract and retain as many shoppers as possible will be all the more fierce.

However, in order to stand out, as customers’ expectations for optimal service continue to grow, it’s no longer enough to simply offer the best prices. The key to retail success is ensuring a positive shopper experience across all relevant channels.

For traditional brick and mortar stores, this means ensuring having the latest pricing database, staff have the latest training, and customers have the latest messaging about special offers. It also translates into being agile and flexible – for example, being able to react to local demand by quickly setting up fully outfitted “pop-up” stores just for the duration of the sale period.

Most important, it’s about guaranteeing shops remain open for business and are able to serve customers even if the network to the head-office or the Internet is down. In the cloud, staying ahead is about scaling up resources in order to support an increased demand from online shoppers, and being able to quickly update applications in order to correct problems, or add new features so that customers and retail staff receive those updates automatically, wherever they are.

This is why most retailers have turned to cloud technologies in order to improve employee productivity, increase time and cost savings and improve customer satisfaction. Today’s businesses are storing information in the cloud as well as on local systems – creating what are known as hybrid environments – with 93 percent of retailers using cloud-based enterprise apps at work today.

Just about every business operation is enabled and mediated by applications, so it is easy to see why 96 percent of retailers believe app performance plays such a relevant role in productivity. However, business applications do not always perform optimally. 62 percent of retailers say the poor performance of enterprise applications has negatively impacted their work on a weekly or more frequent basis. This can lead to retailers’ failure to meet customers’ demands for a reliable, time-effective experience. Slow apps present retailers with a number of pitfalls which can have serious repercussions for a company’s bottom line, including dissatisfied customers (36 percent), contract delays (35 percent), critical deadlines missed (35 per cent), and loss of clients or customers (29 percent).

The risk of application performance failure is particularly high with flash and anticipated online sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where retailers have been unprepared for the spike in website traffic from the increased volumes of shoppers visiting their sites. If a store doesn’t have the monitoring and diagnostics systems in place to detect where network issues lie, it can take much longer to resolve and have the website back online as normal, frustrating customers and employees alike.

To deliver superior application performance in today’s hybrid environments, retailers should consider using technology that provides end-to-end application visibility, optimisation and control, allowing them to quickly – and remotely – detect, analyse, and fix any network and application performance problems before they impact business revenue and customer experience.

In times where online shopping is the norm, companies cannot afford to lose customers over poor application performance. Only by optimising and monitoring the end-to-end performance of their applications and websites can retailers deliver the seamless service that shoppers expect – and ensure they make the most of the upward trend in sales.

Takealot’s website crashes on Black Friday

In a TMG Digital report by Roxanne Henderson, the newsline states that although the Takealot online shopping website went down in the Black Friday frenzy it still predicts its current sale will be the most successful in its history.

According to Henderson, although Takealot had planned for five times the usual traffic the site still experienced checkout problems as the payment gateway was affected by nationwide Black Friday pressure and slowing down checkouts.

In her report, Henderson notes that IT company Snapt says that site crashes such as Takealot’s‚ caused by high traffic volumes‚ can be avoided with proper IT infrastructure.

Takealot however, remains upbeat, as web traffic continued to grow throughout the day. Exceeding 300 percent of the usual traffic expected on a Friday in the festive season.

Resilient TFG reports 16.9 percent retail turnover growth

Resilient TFG reports 16.9 percent retail turnover growth

The TFG Group, now operating in 34 countries, has announced robust turnover growth of 16.9 percent to R11,4 billion, for the six months to end-September 2016. Turnover from TFG Africa (all its African operations) grew by 9.5 percent, with comparable sales growth of 2,1 percent.

The impressive results were achieved despite a subdued economic climate and difficult trading environment, which has led to a decline in earnings for most retailers.

Doug Murray

CEO Doug Murray attributed the impressive results to diversification, international expansion, supply chain optimisation, operating cost controls, capital allocation discipline and attracting cash customers.

The Group now has 22 brands, spanning a variety of age and income groups. Over 3 220 outlets stock clothing, jewellery, accessories, sporting apparel and equipment, homeware and cellular goods and services.

Headline earnings per share increased by 5,7 percent to 496,8 cents per share, up from 470,2 cents per share in the previous period. An interim cash dividend of 320,0 cents per share has been declared, a 4,6 percent increase.

The total cash component of turnover was 61,4 percent (TFG Africa: 50,2 percent). Group cash turnover growth was strong at 29,5 percent (TFG Africa: 19 percent). Credit turnover, however, grew by only 1,4 percent due to the affordability assessment regulations, specifically proof of income requirements, that have reduced the number of new accounts.

Gross margin remained broadly consistent in all merchandise categories. The Group achieved a gross margin of 49,6 percent (September 2015: 49,1 percent).

Total trading expenses increased by 19,0 percent over the previous period, largely due to the acquisition of Whistles, a leading contemporary fashion brand for men and women. Trading expenses in TFG Africa were well contained and increased by only 9,7 percent. CEO Doug Murray said Whistles had already generated a positive EBITDA profit (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) due to the strategies implemented since acquisition.

The international division performed well, with earnings growth of 48 percent in GBP for the period. Phase Eight, offering high quality fashion to women aged 35-55 years, had 11,6 percent turnover growth in GBP.

Capital optimisation

As part of a capital optimisation programme, 33 Group stores were closed during the reporting period and another 129 outlets were opened: 46 internationally, 74 in South Africa and nine in the rest of Africa. This includes the first TFG store in Kenya – Sterns – in Nairobi’s The Junction mall.

Trading space in African operations increased by 5,3 percent during the reporting period.

The Group plans to open more than 100 new outlets in the second half of the year: 90 in Africa, and the balance internationally.

Expanding our footprint in the rest of Africa remains a Group objective in line with our growth strategy.”

Online and merchandise turnover growth

TFG’s e-commerce offering increased with the addition of Foschini cosmetics, Markham and Fabiani to the seven brands already online. “Turnover from our online trading continues to grow above expectation for both our local and international brands,” said Murray.

Group turnover growth in the cellphone category was 20,3 percent, closely followed by clothing at19,6 percent. Homeware turnover growth was 7,3 percent, jewellery 4 percent and cosmetics 3 percent. Total same store turnover (TFG Africa) grew by 2,1 percent. Production inflation averaged 9 percent.

Credit turnover

The retail debtors’ book of R6,7 billion had no growth, compared to March 2016. This was due to the impact of the affordability regulations on credit turnover and the number of active accounts. Murray estimated the negative impact on credit turnover to be in the region of R310 million for this period.

Commitment to strategic objectives

Despite the uncertain outlook for the domestic and global economy, Murray said that continued commitment to strategic objectives around growth, profit, customers and leadership development would support efforts to achieve a reasonable result for the full year.

Cost control is a key focus area, but we are continuing our investment in future growth.”

Initiatives planned for the second half of the year include working capital management and capital optimisation projects.

Concerned about the continued acceleration in crime-related losses in South Africa, TFG has already invested in various forensic capabilities to manage this risk. It has also started to roll out a revised and enhanced security strategy.

As always, festive season trading will largely determine performance for the full year.

As a listed company that currently employs over 20 000 people, Murray said that TFG is strongly supportive of the recently announced “CEO Initiative Pledge”. The Pledge stands against corruption and policy uncertainty which are having a negative impact on the South African economy.

Mastercard’s gamification campaign

Mastercard’s gamification campaign

Digitata takes Mastercard’s digital payment message to mobile masses

Mastercard in collaboration with Digitata Insights, a subsidiary of Digitata, recently launched a gamification1 campaign to educate South Africans on the benefits of making safe, secure and fast payments with Masterpass, the global digital payment service from Mastercard.

The interactive game – “The Masterpass Race” – showed South African consumers the benefits of Masterpass across digital payments channels including airtime top-up, online purchases, bill payments and in-store payments. It also demonstrated the security features, convenience and ease of use people will find in Masterpass—including the fact that they can pay with a smart app on their smartphones and leave their physical wallets at home.

Gabriel Swanepoel

We at Mastercard are innovating faster than ever before in our efforts to make digital payments simpler, more secure, and more accessible,” says Gabriel Swanepoel, Product Development and Innovation, Mastercard. “To create widespread adoption of our Masterpass solution, we looked for a unique, fun and engaging platform to bring its benefits to life for consumers. Gamification was a perfect opportunity to educate consumers about how digital payments can improve their lives.”

To participate, subscribers had to dial a USSD2 short code. Players earned points for by answering questions relating to information supplied in the game about mobile and cashless payments and Masterpass, and completed actions such as downloading and using the Masterpass app. Accumulating points got players to the next level of the game and points could be converted into airtime.

Richard Walton

Richard Walton, acting CEO at Digitata Insights, says: “Gamification – the incorporation of game play into online marketing – is an extremely effective way to keep mobile users engaged, offering the ideal opportunity to educate them in an interactive manner. The fact that players could receive free airtime ensured continued engagement and made the game extremely popular.”

Digitata Insights developed the USSD-based gamification service using the company’s MeMe measurable mobile media platform. “Text-based USSD was the ideal channel as all mobile users are familiar with the *111# service. It is also a prolific channel because it is device and network agnostic, which means there is potential to deliver bespoke content to a huge market, all without the subscriber incurring any charges as no data is required.”

To ensure the broadest reach, Digitata Insights partnered with South Africa’s two largest network operators, gaining access to millions of potential customers. The results from the campaign were impressive: more than 398,595 people started the race and some 153,000 reached the finishing line by completing all 17 levels in the game.

Overall we feel that the Masterpass campaign was on par with some of the biggest USSD-based consumer engagement campaigns run globally,” says Walton. “And despite this form of mobile marketing being around for 15 years already, we’re not aware of any other campaigns that have been able to generate these numbers. We therefore feel that we’ve taken USSD-based marketing to the next level, and are now starting to realise the full potential that this form of mobile engagement has always held.”

1 Gamification – the incorporation of game play into online marketing

2 USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is a Global System for Mobile(GSM) communication technology that is used to send text between a mobile phone and an application program in the network.

Digitata Insights is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digitata Limited, a privately-held multinational technology company founded in 2008 with a strong mobile telecommunications and revenue management background. Digitata Insights provides innovative mobile solutions that focus on mobile engagement mechanisms through gamification and other marketing strategies that create extended, emotional and valuable customer engagements with mobile subscribers via USSD-based media and gaming services. Services include the MeMe Mobile Premium Media Channel, an innovative premium media channel and targeted marketing solution that presents selected content and customised brand marketing messages on the mobile devices of subscribers based on certain demographic, location and other value criteria, and the USSD-based multiplayer, highly engaging Mobile Gaming Platform, Game Arcade.

Mastercard, www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry which operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, travelling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.

Focus on West Africa’s retail sector

Focus on West Africa’s retail sector

Leonard Michau, Director and Head of Africa Operations for Broll Property Group shared these insights on the retail sector in Ghana and Nigeria during the West Africa Retail Power Panel discussion – part of the West Africa Property Investment Summit held in Accra, Ghana in November, at which Broll was the Platinum Sponsor.

Leonard Michau

Some economies in West Africa are experiencing a number of challenges including slow economic growth, shrinking private sector investments, devaluing currencies, forex shortages and uncertainty about country financial risks.

Once Africa’s sought-after economy, Nigeria is losing its attractiveness as an investment destination due to its dismal economic growth outlook triggered by the low oil prices and reduced output which has led to its first recession in 20 years.

Amid these challenges, we have seen the emergence of new formal retail developments in West Africa that started more than a decade ago, yet the development of new modern first world malls has been relatively slow during the past 10 years, especially within the context of the narrative “Africa rising” which positioned Africa as the next frontier for investment opportunities.

Asaba Mall, Nigeria

Retail penetration in West Africa is said to be less than 5 percent compared to East Africa which is estimated to be around 30 percent (South Africa 60 percent), so considering the lack of formal retail developments and the potential of consumerism, one would have expected development to be more progressive.

Investors and developers still face challenges such as the inability to find suitable land, high interest rates, poor infrastructure, land prices, land claims and red tape.

Kumasi City Mall, Ghana

In Ghana and Nigeria, retailers are now faced with a further challenge – the erosion of household disposable income since early-2015. This is reflected in the lower 2016 GDP growth rates for Ghana and Nigeria, brought about by lower commodity prices, macro-economic imbalances, foreign exchange devaluation, erratic supply and high cost of power and the general slowdown in the global economy.

In Nigeria, the retail market is likely to experience further pain due to the uncertainty and volatility around the official exchange rate and Government’s policy to restrict the availability of foreign exchange on certain imports.

The majority of planned retail developments in Nigeria have been put on hold or downsized, as trying to achieve the required pre-let percentage remains a challenge under current market conditions.

Although the retail sector is currently facing some headwinds due to the economic downturn, the long-term prospects remain compelling. The high rate of urbanisation and the expanding upper and middle class are two fundamental reasons why this sector cannot be ignored.

However, new entrants to the market need to critically review the feasibility of each project by ensuring that the mall is built in the right location, is right sized, includes sustainable rentals as well as a tenant mix that matches the primary demographics. In terms of new opportunities, while there is still a place for the so-called regional mall, there is a gap for the development of neighbourhood shopping centres of 6 000 m2 or less.

Ghana’s modern retail potential is no longer a secret as Accra alone now boasts six malls excluding retail space in mixed-use developments with more projects in the pipeline approximating 60 000 m²”

Existing malls tend to target high and middle income Ghanaians (a minority of the population), and expatriates which represent less than 20 percent of the population and in Accra middle income earners account for 32 percent of the population.

While foreign exchange, inflation and competition remain risk factors, Ghana’s low-penetration of the modern retail market remains an opportunity for new entrants into the market.

Major investors in the supply side of the formal retail sector include Atterbury, Actis, RMB Westport, Mobus, BGI and some private investors with retail brand such as Shoprite and Game having presence in almost every existing mall. Other SA retailers include Woolworths, Truworths, Identity, Edgars, Jet and Mr. Price, as well as TFG trading with American Swiss, Markham, Sportscene and Foschini brands.

International brands in Ghana include Springfield, Bata, Lego and the Azadea Group trading with five different brands – Mango, Mango kids, Payless, Violeta and Sunglass Hut.

Opportunities in Africa

Although Ghana’s economy is showing limited growth, we remain positive about Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy,” says Michau. “And opportunities exist for investment sales with many funds and investment firms looking to buy quality dollar based assets in the commercial, industrial and retail sectors.”

Michau points out that Broll is still dominant in the retail sector in Nigeria which makes up the bulk of the Broll Nigeria business. Furthermore, he explains that growth in East Africa is of significant value to the Group as plans are in place to expand service lines in countries in the east region of the continent.

Virtual Reality, Chatbots to Dominate Brand Interactions by 2020

1280px-larry_ellison_ceo_of_oracle_corporation-970x646Virtual Reality, Chatbots to Dominate Brand Interactions by 2020

Johannesburg, 6 December 2016

 

Chantel Troskie, Customer Experience Account Manager at Oracle South Africa tells Shopping & Retail SA that more than three quarters of brands will deliver Customer Experience through VR and chatbots in the next four years. 
The relationship brands have with their customers is set to undergo a technological revolution causing the number of human-to-human interactions to fall significantly, according to new research released by Oracle today.

The Oracle report Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality? polled 800 senior marketing and sales professionals across EMEA and revealed how the use of emerging technologies is set to surge by 2020.  Seventy-seven percent of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual reality in the next four years, while 79 percent expect to serve customers through chatbots.

chatbots-100687209-carousel-idgeHowever, despite this eagerness to embrace new technologies, many brands are still struggling to make use of the valuable customer and prospect data, with 56 percent not currently including social or CRM data in their customer analytics.

The changing customer dynamic
In South Africa, 77 percent of brands expect to be providing customer experiences through virtual reality and 79 percent will be serving customers through chatbots by 2020.

Most brands put this fundamental change in relationship down to the rise of social, digital and mobile platforms.

The research found that 43 percent of senior sales and marketing executives agree customers do more independent research before contacting them to make a sales enquiry, and 35 percent noted their customers preferred to make purchases or resolve a service issue without speaking directly with a member of the sales or customer service team.

VR and Chatbots set to surge
In response, brands are looking to implement innovative technologies that allow their customers to continue interacting with brands on their own terms.  In terms of upcoming technology investments, the research found:

77 percent of brands expect to be using VR for CX by 2020; 34 percent have already implemented the technology to some degree
79 percent of brands will be using chatbots for customer interactions by 2020; 30 percent have already implemented them
48 percent of brands have implemented automation technologies in sales, marketing and customer service, with another 38 percent planning to do so by 2020.

Data continues to pose a challenge
Despite the race to innovate, the reality is that many brands are still struggling to unify, organise and process the growing volumes of customer data they have coming into their business, making it difficult to truly understand and deliver a personalised experience for customers.

56 percent of brands don’t currently include social or CRM data in their customer analytics
48 percent agree smarter analysis of customer data will have the biggest impact on the experience they deliver to their customers
41 percent already collect a great deal of data from multiple sources, but are unable to extract customer insights from it

“For most organisations, the use of digital technologies has become the norm both inside and outside their walls. However, when it comes to VR there is a widespread perception that adoption will be slow due to high costs and because it will take some time before brands discover its relevant applications in their own business. Our research shows there is a strong appetite for VR, but it will be up to individual brands to tap into VR in a way that meets both their needs and those of their customers”, says Troskie.