Yuppiechef launches Johannesburg stores

Kitchen and homeware retailer Yuppiechef celebrated the opening of two new stores in Johannesburg, on the same day. The six-time winner of the South African eCommerce awards and relative newcomer to the world of physical retail, Yuppiechef opened its doors in both Sandton City and Mall of Africa on Friday, 28th June 2019.

Yuppiechef CEO, Andrew Smith, says that the two Johannesburg stores represent a new era for the award-winning brand. “Since the launch of our first physical store two years ago, and with four Cape Town branches now thriving, we’ve always had Joburg customers asking us when their turn was coming, and now we’ve opened two at once. We’ve found the right locations in two world-class centres, in Sandton City and Mall of Africa, and we’re thrilled to finally see our brand brought to life in Gauteng.”

Yuppiechef has pioneered the concept of omnichannel retail in South Africa and Smith says that the vision for Yuppiechef in Johannesburg is no different. “We’re hoping that our customers in Gauteng will see us as Yuppiechef – not an online store, or a shop they pass in their local mall – but rather a single retail brand that they can choose to interact with on their terms, wherever and whenever they feel like it.”

The two new Yuppiechef stores will carry a selection of the products available on yuppiechef.com, but should an item not be available in the store, customers can order it while visiting the store and have it delivered to their preferred address. “Through the combination of our online and physical stores our customers have access to a much broader range, bigger than any single store offering,” says Smith.

The Johannesburg stores will follow the design principles of the other four Yuppiechef stores with an industrial feel and premium features including the iconic wooden panelling and engineered quartz countertops. The stores boast a “no queue” point-of-sale system which means that customers can pay for their basket of items at any position in the store, aided by a store assistant.

Smith says he’s excited about the possibilities that the new stores present for Yuppiechef, “We want to reach as many people as we can, because ultimately, our belief is that quality kitchen tools and ingredients can change the way you feel about being in the kitchen and help you be a better cook – and that’s in our DNA across all of our channels.”

Yuppiechef was founded in 2006 by two good friends and only 32 products in a lounge in Plumstead, Cape Town. More than a decade later, our simple goal remains: To offer you the best kitchen and home products—and to be the very best at doing it. Yuppiechef emerged out of co-founder Shane Dryden’s love for cooking and cool kitchen tools.

Yuppiechef is South Africa’s premier kitchen and homeware store, stocking 700 of the world’s leading brands. From knives, cookware and appliances, to soft furnishings, craft beer and the finest food ingredients; we’ve tried, tested and sourced the best quality products we can find, for you: people who really care about cooking, entertaining and hosting at home.

Katale Square to bring a new shopping experience to rural Marapyane

MDS Architecture has designed a 11 000 m2 shopping complex in Marapyane outside Settlers in Mpumalanga province for clients, McCormick Developments.

“The area is flat and arid, so the design includes both internal and externally focused areas. While the design is utilitarian, it also promotes human interaction and a sense of fun,” explains Aki Savva, MDS Architecture’s partner leading the project.

The restaurants open out on the lifestyle and children’s play area, features water fountains and protection from the hot sun. Shaded canopies can also be found throughout the complex.

Playful elements have been incorporated into the flooring and paving at the entrances. Natural light in abundance is provided by clerestory windows. While uniformity across the shopfronts creates consistency, stepped bulkheads feature side cladding using external roof cladding for interest. Illuminated 3D signs give a contemporary feel.

“Texture is achieved through the use of a combination of cladding and flush plaster on the walls and ceilings. A floating internal roof has been incorporated into the design which appears to hover above the clerestory windows.

Savva says that clay paving has been used consistently throughout the internal and external areas of the complex, which will feature national tenants like Jet, Pep, Ackermans and OK Furniture as well as Shoprite, Cashbuild and a number of smaller trading stores. “The paving is not only non-slip and hard wearing but brings warmth through the earthy colours and interest via the flooring design,” he says.

Katale Square includes a sewerage plant on site and utilizes borehole water exclusively. A community garden is being created on site where vegetables and food will be grown.

The development has necessitated the upgrade of the road and a new taxi rank area. The complex has plenty of space for possible future phases, including pod buildings or drive-throughs. An existing fuel station is being relocated and upgraded.

Construction began in December 2018 and Katale Square is expected to be completed within just six months from commencement of construction – by end-June 2019.

Professional team

Developer:                                                                      McCormick Property Development

Main contractor:                                                            Tundwe Construction (Pty) Limited

Architect:                                                                        MDS Architecture

Quantity surveyor:                                                        Quanticost Quantity Surveyors

Structural & civil engineer:                                          VSI Consulting Engineers

Electrical engineer:                                                        Ingplan Consulting Engineers

Mechanical engineer:                                                   Pretocon Consulting Engineers

Fire consultants:                                                            Pretocon Consulting Engineers

Health and Safety:                                                         Safe T Worx

McCormick Property Development (MPD) is a market leader in the development of rural and township retail in South Africa, having pioneered the development of these areas since 1983.

From humble beginnings as a family-owned property development company striving to address the retail needs of the lower income bracket, MPD has now completed over 61 developments since its inception.

MPD currently owns and manages a portfolio of 28 shopping malls and centres, totalling over         550 000 m2 GLA, all focussed on the mass market.

With a further 350 000 m of retail in its development pipeline, MPD is continually refining its model to cater for the increasingly aspirant nature of the burgeoning middle-class African market.

Working across the full retail spectrum, MPD weaves global trends into our prime retail developments while maintaining a unique flair tailored to each site. With over 30 years of perfecting the art of rural retail, our journey is just beginning.

Online banking fraud keeps Banking Ombudsman on its toes

The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) released its Annual Report highlighting some interesting statistics for its operations for 2018. Key highlights for the year are:

  • 7 307 cases were closed ̶  12% more than in 2017 and an increase of 40% over the last two years
  • ATM fraud complaints dropped by 4% from 18% to 14%
  • The debt stress-related complaints almost doubled from 3,4% to 6,5%
  • The call centre fielded 26 970 calls, an increase of 18% year-on-year and 58% more than the past two years

“Despite the fact that we were busier than ever, we managed to maintain excellent turnaround times, with an average of 41 business days to close a case, and the service standard to resolve complaints within four months was achieved in 95,3% of the cases,” said Reana Steyn, OBS.

Customer complaints about significant issues in the area of internet banking fraud and ATM and credit card-related complaints kept the office busy.

The office opened 1 459 and closed 1 349 internet banking fraud cases for the year. The number for on-line banking related complaints closed by the office in 2018 is slightly less than the previous year; however, it is still the top category of complaints opened and closed for the second year running, making up 22% of all cases opened.

The second category was ATM-related complaints at 14%, a decrease of 4% from 2017. “This is encouraging and may indicate that customers are more aware and careful transacting at ATMs, or that the fraudsters are targeting other avenues,” Steyn said.

“Internet banking, ATM and credit card fraud account for 48% of the complaints in the office. Customers fall victim to various scams and fraudulent activities that target unsuspecting individuals. The fraudsters and hackers seem to be working around the clock to create fake copies of bank websites and impersonate the bank staff.

Out of the 7 115 cases opened, 2 659 (37%) were related to maladministration. This is the description used by the office in instances where, for example, the bank did not follow its own internal procedures which caused a loss, distress or inconvenience for the customer. Another example of maladministration is where a bank fails to conduct an affordability assessment when granting credit as required by the National Credit Act.

The demographic view shows that the bulk of the complaints are from Gauteng at 42%, Western Cape, 15%, and Kwa–Zulu Natal 13%.

“The more significant statistic is that 70% of the complainants are from people over the age of 40. We believe the older generation may be more prone to falling victim to bank fraud and we are targeting our awareness campaigns and consumer education to address this issue.” Steyn said it was also feasible that older customers were more aware of their rights and therefore more likely to complain.

The OBS offers a free alternative dispute resolution service to ensure all bank customers who have complaints that are not satisfactorily resolved at the bank, can exercise their rights and have access to redress.

How to complain

  • Lodge a formal, written complaint directly with your bank’s dispute resolution department
  • Ask for a complaint reference number from your bank
  • Allow the bank 20 working days in which to respond to your complaint
  • Obtain a written response from your bank, OR
  • Consumers can contact the office of the Ombudsman for Banking Services for free assistance if they experience any banking problems or would like us to assist in lodging a complaint against their bank.



Amazon crowned 2019’s BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand

  • “Eco-system” brands win over consumers as many traditional brand categories crumble
  • Consumer technology brands pass the $1 trillion brand value mark
  • Demand grows for “mindful marketing” practices as the consumer voice strengthens in a more ethically-driven world

With little sign of a slowdown in growth, Amazon has become the world’s most valuable brand, according to the 2019 BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released by WPP and Kantar at the New York Stock Exchange.

Amazon’s smart acquisitions, that have led to new revenue streams, excellent customer service provision and its ability to stay ahead of its competitors by offering a diverse eco-system of products and services, have allowed Amazon to continuously accelerate its brand value growth.   Technology companies have led BrandZ’s Top 100 ever since its first global brand value ranking in 2006, when Microsoft took the top spot. Rising in brand value by an impressive 52% year-on-year to $315,5 billion, Amazon moves ahead of Apple (no 2, $309,5 billion) and Google (no 3, $309,0 billion) which both rose by a modest +3% and +2% respectively, to end the technology giants’ 12-year dominance.

In the Top 10, Facebook remained at no 6 while, for the first time, Alibaba overtook Tencent and became the most valuable Chinese brand, moving up two places to no 7 and growing +16% to $131,2 billion. Tencent dropped three places to no 8, declining by 27% to $130,9 billion year-on-year, in what BrandZ ascribes to a more volatile world; one in which brands must continually anticipate evolving consumer needs and expectations.

As other social media platforms face challenges in terms of trust and desirability, Instagram (no 44, $28,2 billion), now with over 1 billion users worldwide, emerged as this year’s fastest riser climbing 47 places with a massive +95% growth in brand value. Lululemon, the yoga-inspired, athletic apparel company was the second fastest riser, stretching to +77% growth year-on-year to $6,92 billion.

Other top risers, such as Netflix (+65%, no 34, $34,3 billion), Amazon (+52%, $315,5 billion) and Uber (+51%, no 53, $24,2 billion) reflect the rapidly changing, technology-driven world in which consumers are placing more value on richer brand experiences.

David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ, says: “The growth in value of this year’s top 100 brands to an all-time high proves the power of investing in brands to deliver superior shareholder value. Behind this headline growth figure lies the success coming from a new phenomenon of ecosystem brand building. We’re seeing a move from individual product and service brands to a new era of highly-disruptive ecosystems. Brands need to understand the value this type of model can create and should embrace its approach to be successful in the future.”


The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2019

Rank 2019 Brand Category Brand value 2019 ($BN) Brand value change Rank 2018
1 Amazon Retail 315,505 52% 3
2 Apple Technology 309,527 3% 2
3 Google Technology 309,000 2% 1
4 Microsoft Technology 251,244 25% 4
5 Visa Payments 177,918 22% 7
6 Facebook Technology 158,968 -2% 6
7 Alibaba Retail 131,246 16% 9
8 Tencent Technology 130,862 -27% 5
9 McDonald’s Fast Food 130,368 3% 8
10 AT&T Telecom providers 108,375 2% 10

 Despite the economic uncertainty surrounding the US and China trade tariffs, almost a third of a trillion dollars ($328 billion) of value was added to the BrandZ Top 100 Global ranking over the last year, giving it a combined brand value of $4,7 trillion – roughly the combined GDP of Spain, Korea and Russia.

Much of this value is derived from consumer technology brands appearing in the ranking which combined are now worth in excess of $1 trillion. Examples include newcomers Xiaomi (no 74, $19,8 billion), a Chinese mobile handset brand that also uses the internet of things (IoT) to connect smart devices and is experiencing rapidly growing demand in countries such as Russia, India and Malaysia. Another Chinese brand, Meituan (no 78, $18,8 billion) is seen as a category-disrupting consumer technology platform offering everything from food delivery, room bookings and ride-hailing to bike rentals. Meanwhile, Uber is leveraging the ecosystem model and expanding into food and other delivery services, while Haier (no 89, $16,3 billion), the world’s largest home appliances and IoT platform is committed to co-creating an open ecosystem brand in the IoT era with its customers and partners.

Key trends highlighted in this year’s BrandZ Global Top 100 study include:

  • Luxury is the fastest growing category (+29%) followed by Retail (+25%), fuelled by the shifting preferences to digital channels from GenY and GenZ consumers.
  • Technology, finance and retail categories dominate, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total value of brands.
  • Nine newcomers appear in the Top 100, predominantly driven by Chinese and US technology brands with disruptive business models including Dell Technologies, Xbox, Haier, Meituan and Xiaomi.
  • Asian brands increase their presence with 15 Chinese, three Indian and one Indonesian brand making the ranking among a total of 23 from the region, including LIC and Tata Consultancy Services.
  • A new generation of brands emerge – GenZ brands (created after 1996) are miles ahead in growth rate as they add more value to the ranking per year of existence – almost four times more than brands created in the millennial era of 1977 to 1995. A total of 23 GenZ brands appear in the Top 100 with an average age of 16 years compared to 18 millennial brands averaging 33 years.
  • Sustainable brands – Brand owners are demonstrating the importance of improving and reinforcing consumer perceptions that they are “responsible” through social, environmental and corporate initiatives.
  • China and US trade wars affected the growth of the Top 100 ranking, which slowed to +7% over the last 12 months. Consumer confidence was hit as the trade tariffs impacted several brand categories with cars, logistics and banks suffering most.

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report and rankings, and a great deal more brand insight for key regions of the world and 14 market sectors are available online here. The Global report, rankings, charts, articles and more can also be found via the BrandZ app. The BrandZ app also contains the same features and functionality for all BrandZ regional reports and is free to download for Apple IOS and all Android devices from www.brandz.com/mobile or search for BrandZ in the respective iTunes or Google Play app stores.


Five tips for savvy shopping in a tough economy

With the increasing cost of living in South Africa, citizens find themselves clutching at their pockets trying to find new ways to cut down and save costs at every corner. Saving is no longer an option, but rather a necessity.

“Coupled with budgeting, is the importance of becoming a savvy shopper”, says Bakuena Ntshasa, CEO of Brandbook; a rewards and points app for the South African consumer. He defines savvy shopping as an important consideration for consumers to invest time and effort in seeking and utilising promotion-related information to achieve price savings.

Brandbook gives the following helpful shopping tips to help consumers save money:

  1. Keep an eye on the sales – certain products are cheaper at certain times of the year. Follow your favourite shops’ sales cycles and use this to your advantage and build a shopping calendar. Looking for a new TV? Keep in mind annual sale days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are specifically great for hardware shopping and stocking up on cleaning products and nappies.
  2. Planning your shopping list – planning meals and consumables for the month, before rushing the monthly grocery shopping, will help buyers to reconcile their plan vs their actual spending and prevent them from going above budget. Going through your home and identifying items that must be replenished, can wait and should wait is the first step. Start by only purchasing items in the “must replenish or necessity” list. It is probably also a good idea to eat something before walking through the aisles; your hunger levels can contribute to buying additional snacks that may you not have planned for.
  3. Be selective about your brand purchases – opting for the cheapest brand is not always necessarily wise. However, if you are looking to reduce your monthly spend, consider other alternatives that provide better bang for your buck. Carefully comparing prices vs quantity is key to making an actual saving.
  4. Follow shopping bloggers – shopping bloggers provide great insights and up-to-date tips for scoring deals and shopping wisely. From budget and shopping templates to last minute sales, it is worth keeping your eyes open to shop with a cost-effective mindset.
  5. Keep your receipts and download Brandbook – Instead of your purchase receipts gathering dust inside your wallet or car, you can now upload them onto a new rewards app that has no limitations or bias to specific retailers or stores. By downloading Brandbook and uploading your receipts, consumers can accumulate points that are redeemable for gift cards at retailers such as Takealot, Uber, KFC and Mr Price, to name a few. A great way for users to reward themselves for shopping.

With Mzansi’s consumer marketing becoming truly concerned with “the price of eggs”, the time to adopt a savings mindset is now. When shopping and expenses are planned correctly and consistently, consumers will enjoy seeing the reward in their bank balances, which will in turn help them to plan for their future and desired luxuries responsibly.

Online shoppers value unique digital experiences

Online shoppers have little tolerance for ineffective or clunky purchasing experiences. Consumers expect reliable sites and easy ordering and fulfilment, in large part because of the elevated transactional experiences digital commerce leaders like Amazon, takealot.com and others have proven possible. Free shipping, shipping tracking and information about returns are the top three capabilities services online shoppers expect brands and retailers to offer.

Online shoppers seek out digital experiences that are on par with what is available from a physical retailer: zero fees for receiving a product, complete knowledge of when their purchase will arrive and access to no-fuss returns.

Now that there is an almost universal expectation for seamless experiences online, brands and retailers must push into experience-driven commerce territory to stand out. An emphasis on experience-driven commerce has not diminished the importance of factors like convenience, selection, search and price to shoppers. Rather, brands and retailers must master these capabilities to even earn shoppers’ consideration, and then go beyond them to differentiate from competitors.

Consumers go where they can receive the most seamless, memorable experience, not just the best price or delivery options. With standards for seamless transactions so high, content represents the key differentiator for brands and retailers to earn business.

Online shoppers may turn to popular marketplaces and retail giants for perks like low prices, but they appreciate how brands and retailers can offer memorable, educational content experiences. Personalised content experiences enable brands and retailers to really shine.

Regardless of where shoppers choose to engage a company, they should be able to trust the accuracy and completeness of the information they find. It’s clear that brands and retailers must approach content marketing with a clear strategy for scaling and delivering experiences that are relevant to shoppers’ personal needs.

Introducing a fraud-fighting first in South Africa

The PWC Global Economic Crime and Fraud survey 2018 South Africa cites that South Africa has the highest level of fraud in the world. PWC’s 2018 Fraud Report estimates that R100 billion was lost in revenue due to fraud.

In our age of all things digital, high value documents can be fraudulently altered within minutes with free PDF hackers, but technology can also provide a solution.

The DigSig from iPLATE Technology is fighting fraud on the front lines. It is the first and only technology that can actively protect businesses against fraud. “Scanners, PDF documents and universal fonts make forging a document child’s play,” says Nicola Tempest, Director at iPLATE. “The solution lies in making information on these documents ‘unalterable’.

Revolutionary anti-fraud technology, a first in South Africa, creates a DigSig, or digital signature, secured in a QR code that is embossed onto a document or encrypted onto a digital platform. The DigSig secures the authenticity of the information by securing the information digitally, thereby protecting the original data and making it immune from alteration.”

The iPLATE DigSig is a revolution in the fight against counterfeit documents like pay slips, proof of payment, proof of accounts, title deeds and academic qualifications.

The cost of proactively preventing fraud pales in comparison to the costs that are incurred to prosecute it. 19% of South African organisations have had to spend between twice and ten times as much on investigations as the original amount lost. (PWC Economic crime survey 2018)

“The DigSig is a digital signature secured in a QR code that is embossed onto a document or encrypted onto a digital platform,” explains Tempest. “The DigiSig secures the authenticity of the information by securing the information digitally, thereby protecting the original data and rendering it immune from alteration or forgery. The authenticity of the information can be checked using the iPLATE app that is easy downloaded from both Apple and Android app stores.”

“Levels of detection are still being outpaced by fraud risk. The rules are changing for businesses, profoundly and irreversibly, with tolerance for corporate and/or personal misbehaviour vanishing. Not only is public sensitivity about corporate misconduct at an all-time high; in some cases, corporations and leaders are also being held responsible for past behaviour, when the ‘unspoken rules’ of doing business might have been more lax. PwC’s 21st CEO Survey underscores this theme, with chief executives citing trust and leadership accountability as two of the largest business threats to growth. All of this points to a heightened risk of incidents of fraud or economic crime occurring, and to a need for organisations to take the lead in preventing it before it can take root”, says the PwC 2018 report on economic crime.

“We’re excited to be bringing this innovative technology into South Africa which is already having significant impact among both small and large businesses,” says Nicola.

Why more retailers are going green, by Iggy Sathekge

Every week, around the world, an area of floor space the size of Paris is constructed. With building and construction comes harmful emissions that remain with us for decades, threatening our environment, livelihoods and economy. Buildings and construction contribute close to 40% of the emissions causing climate change today.

The recent World Green Building Council survey found that, because of climate change, 77% of organisations are looking to reduce their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Green buildings are growing in popularity – particularly in the retail sector – and not just because of the positive impact on the environment, but on people and profits too.

Understanding green buildings

Green building refers to both constructing, operating and maintaining a building that is environmentally responsible, resource-efficient and sustainable. Green buildings consume less energy and water, have less indoor air pollution, and manage waste more effectively – reducing the negative impact of construction and development.

South Africa currently has over 100 certified green buildings – one of which is the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria, the country’s largest green retail space. In 2014, Pareto re-invented its 500-store, 170 000 m2 mall to go green, introducing sustainable building materials, sophisticated metering systems, responsible transport options, air quality sensors and waste management programmes. As a result, today Menlyn Park uses 49% less energy and 71% less water than SANS204 compliant buildings.

Retailers going green

Because shopping centres boast large floor spaces (that need to be cooled or heated) and thousands of occupants (with ablution needs), the need to go green is pressing. But the benefits are many. Outside of tackling global warming, lower utility and operational costs benefit owners and tenants, while healthy, attractive indoor environments result in less sick days for staff and longer stays for shoppers. Something as simple as introducing more natural daylighting and greenery, for example, can increase sales by 40%.

For South African retailers, who are regularly plagued by local issues like load-shedding and water shortages, green solutions also mean more uptime and less disruption. By installing solar PV panels, Massmart has been able to produce some 4,4 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy a year, accounting for 60 to 80% of the building’s daily electricity needs.

Millennials expect green

Going green is also likely to appeal more to today’s millennial consumers, who are increasingly dedicated to wellness. A Nielsen study found that millennial consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainability. While this is currently more for the product itself, it’s not long before it expands into the environment from which the product is sourced.

The “Australian Food and Grocery Council’s Green Shopper Summary Report”, for example, found 96% of shoppers place importance in a retailer’s efforts to reduce their environmental impact. The renovation rate of shopping centres in Europe is also 4,4% higher than other buildings, as consumer demands shift and expectations for more sustainable solutions increase.

The opportunity in front of us

South Africa currently has the sixth most shopping centres in the world, with close on 2 000 individual centres, and hundreds of new stores and expansions in the pipeline. Given the current impact of buildings on the environment, and the increasing size of malls today, this presents a massive, untapped opportunity for us to make malls greener, addressing climate change and promoting wellness on a broad scale.

The World Green Building Council has set a goal for all new and existing buildings to be net zero carbon by 2050. It’s an ambitious goal, but achievable if more stakeholders join the cause. As Pareto, we have committed to creating a base for knowledge-sharing, leadership and overall expertise within the South African built environment, so that sustainability is something we can achieve together.

About Pareto

Pareto is one of South Africa’s largest retail property companies with a portfolio worth R25 billion. That portfolio includes some of the country’s most prized regional and super-regional shopping centres, including Menlyn Park, Africa’s largest mall at 177 000 m2 and a 25% stake in Sandton City, the continent’s most expensive retail space per square metre.

About the World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council is a non-profit organisation and global network of national green building councils. It has member councils in over 70 countries worldwide, which collectively have    49 000 members (25 000 member companies and 24 000 individual members).

The organisation is committed to achieving the following goals by 2050: limiting global temperature rises to 2°C; reducing the building and construction sector’s CO2 emissions by 84 gigatons; and ensuring all buildings have net zero emissions. These goals will ensure the buildings and construction sector plays its part in delivering on the ambition of the Paris Agreement.

Creating standout digital shopping experiences

While there has always been a natural uptick in how often people shop online, consumers’ digital habits have started to stabilise. Digital commerce will reach critical mass in 2019. This is according to Episerver’s “Reimagining Commerce” report, an in-depth look at the trends, tactics and technologies guiding brands and retailers in the age of experience-driven commerce.

In a survey of more than 4 500 global online shoppers, 26% of online consumers currently shop online at least weekly. This is just a small increase from last year’s report, which found that 23% of online consumers shop online at this frequency.

Bluegrass Digital CEO, Nick Durrant, points to the report and says the plateau effect in digital commerce leaves companies with a clear mandate to improve or get left behind. “The quality and diversity of digital commerce experiences play an even greater role in the struggle to stand out and earn customer loyalty.”

“To understand just how valuable innovative online shopping experiences are, consider today’s commerce environment. Leaders like Amazon have perfected seamless transactions, leaving fewer opportunities for differentiation via investments in this area,” he explains.

At the same time, traditional retailers are using technology to improve the customer experience and deliver new perks through sophisticated loyalty programs, bridging the online, in-store gap. The average shopper’s path to purchase is more complex than ever, filled with a wide variety of capabilities and attractions popularised by digital native brands.

Vying for consumers’ attention and wallet share will only grow more difficult as additional players enter the fray, further congesting an already crowded digital shopping ecosystem.

To get ahead, brands and retailers must implement dynamic, integrated content marketing and customer experience strategies that forge personal, emotional connections with shoppers beyond transactions.

Durrant says retailers need to look at the principles to achieve standout, experience-driven commerce that converts consumers into customers and buyers into brand advocates. “According to the survey, final purchases require guidance because only 20% of online consumers say all of their online purchases are pre-planned.”

Although seamless transactional experiences are the standard, online shoppers say the top three capabilities or features brands and retailers should support include free shipping, shipping tracking and information about returns.

“Even though 88% of online shoppers say it is the same or higher priority for brands and retailers to offer personalised experiences online in 2019 compared to 2018, 93% say it is the same or higher priority for companies to respect their anonymity online,” he adds.

It is also evident that digital commerce overwhelms consumers, nearly half of online shoppers have failed to complete a purchase online because there were too many options to choose from. Ten percent of online shoppers view an item five or more times before making an online purchase, adding to feelings of always-on commerce.

The survey also says ineffective content has major consequences: incorrect or incomplete content on a brand’s website or mobile app has stopped 98% of online shoppers from completing a purchase.

Social media has evolved into an established shopping channel, particularly for younger shoppers. Influencers are more important than ever  ̶  52% of online shoppers who use social media have clicked on an influencer’s post, according to the report, and a third of those shoppers (31%) have made a direct purchase from the post.

The report states that 21% of online shoppers aged 37 and under turn to social media for inspiration online when they do not have a product in mind for purchase, compared to just 5% of online shoppers aged 38 and older.

Durrant says according to the report, marketplaces are online shoppers’ top destination. “Online shoppers flock to marketplaces to start their online purchase journeys, whether they have a product in mind for purchase (46%) or not (39%).”

According to the report, voice-assisted shopping is most effective for repeat purchases. Voice is gradually becoming part of online shopping habits; more consumers are turning to voice for online shopping.

“Voice technology has also grown in popularity, 17% of online shoppers use voice devices to make purchases multiple times a month or more frequently, and 22% use the technology for research purposes in the same time frame,” he concludes.

The report, however, shows there is a preference for voice research over voice purchase. Brands and retailers should consider using voice to attract frequent shoppers for repeat purchases, while using traditional channels to build relationships with new customers or less frequent shoppers.

In conclusion, 43% of consumers cited a lack of security features as the number one reason they won’t make more purchases via voice-enabled devices. Difficulty searching for and comparing products were also cited as barriers to increased voice purchases.

About Bluegrass Digital (www.bluegrassdigital.com)

Bluegrass Digital is a leading provider of digital solutions for business. We simplify tech. We help you architect and build digital products and services, ensuring you transform and succeed in a digital world. With over 20 years of engineering experience and proven track record, Bluegrass Digital offers expert knowledge and its unique offering that is centred on service delivery excellence.

Canal Walk Shopping Centre launches social media brand campaign

Since their rise in popularity in the mid-20th century, shopping centres in this day and age tend to reflect the communities they serve; delivering on daily wants and needs, as well as acting as central meeting points for young and old. Understanding the social importance a shopping centre reserves within a community led Canal Walk Shopping Centre to launch its latest brand campaign, #CWSquad, spearheaded by three homegrown, Cape Town-based social media icons.

“Understanding our customer has always been of paramount importance to Canal Walk” explains Camilla Lor, regional marketing executive for Hyprop Investments Limited. “Being relevant to our customer within the societal context in which they live, work and play is key to our overall success, and so we turned to influential content creators within our very community to assist in delivering our brand message.”

Introducing the #CWSquad

The #CWSquad is made up of Nadia Jaftha, Aqeelah Harron Ally and Paula Lakay; three young ladies that will over the next year showcase the best Canal Walk has to offer across over 400 stores. When considering candidates for the campaign, it was important for Canal Walk’s marketing team that each squad member selected was not only already a friend of the brand, but also a greatly admired social media content creator offering their followers relevant and entertaining content.

“During the selection process, we naturally gravitated towards Jaftha, Harron Ally and Lakay because they effortlessly reflect who our customers are,” adds Lor. “From meeting friends for coffee and a catch up, doing a spot of wedding shopping, indulging in a shopping spree or two, grabbing a bite to eat or taking in a movie, Canal Walk has been part of these ladies’ lives every step of the way; as it has for so many of our customers.”

Over the next months, the #CWSquad will share with their followers everything from the season’s hottest lip colour, to where to find the best outfit for that special occasion, and anything and everything in between. “What makes the #CWSquad so impactful is not only are they respected and revered by their followers, but that they are genuine Canal Walk customers,” says Lor. “Customers no longer respond to disruptive, non-consumer centric content; they respond to recommendations from those they trust and admire.”

Meet the #CWSquad

Nadia Jaftha

Jaftha, known as the Content Queen by her fast-growing following, is always out and about creating hilarious pranking videos and relatable content. She has a charismatic, outgoing and vibrant personality, which captures her audiences on Instagram and YouTube.

Follow Nadia: Instagram | YouTube

Aqeelah Harron-Ally

The always elegant yet edgy Harron Ally is on the pulse of modest fashion styling and the latest beauty trends by means of her vlog. Along with her husband, Malick, she loves travelling the world and capturing their adventures. She is a total girl-boss, with a strong vision for her brand, Fashion Breed.

Follow Aqeelah: Instagram | YouTube

Paula Lakay

Most know her as Ms Paula Bee, through Instagram and her blog, but she recently got married to become Mrs Lakay. She is all about embracing and nurturing her gorgeous natural hair, as the Curl Queen, giving her followers beauty tips and tricks and capturing her life through vlogs.

Follow Paula: Instagram | YouTube

Plan of action

Month-by-month, Canal Walk will offer its shoppers a more in-depth look into each #CWSquad member’s life; highlighting their unique style by means of in-centre marketing touchpoints as well as via its direct marketing, and digital and social media platforms.

Canal Walk Shopping Centre is open from 09:00 to 21:00 seven days a week.

Social media and digital information for Canal Walk

Website www.canalwalk.co.za

CWSquad campaign information www.canalwalk.co.za/cwsquad

Facebook www.facebook.com/canalwalk

Instagram www.instagram.com/canalwalk

Twitter www.twitter.com/canal_walk

YouTube www.youtube.com/CanalWalkShopping

Hashtag #CWSquad