While we’ve navigated our way through 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the time has come for South African retailers to look for ways to grow and innovate ahead of Black Friday and the busy festive season trading period. Those that grab the opportunity to reinvent themselves and diversify their businesses will certainly be in a position to thrive this Black Friday, says Steven Heilbron, CEO of the CONNECT Group.

“Despite the challenging times we find ourselves in, now is the time for retailers to think about what they can
do to reignite revenue growth and drive profitability,” says Heilbron. 

“The reality is that even in times when market growth is slumping, there are still opportunities for proactive, well-managed businesses to gain market share or move into new markets. While there’s little doubt that the pandemic has led to lower consumer spending, it has also sparked a range of opportunities. Just look at how many businesses have adapted and been creative to provide solutions that are relevant for the current times we are in now,” adds Heilbron.

Heilbron shares some ideas about how retailers can innovate to make the best of Black Friday and the upcoming peak trading season, but he reminds retail merchants to not limit their growth opportunities to this trading season, as these kinds of opportunities do in fact present themselves throughout the year:  

  • Destination shopping & Shopper-tainment: As more South Africans get vaccinated and look forward to the festive season, many of them will be ready for in-store shopping experiences again. This is a good time to add attractions and features to your retail store to attract more shoppers – whether that’s adding a coffee shop, offering experiential shopping offerings or investing in attractive fittings and eye-catching displays. 
  • E-commerce: Home deliveries, click-and-collect and e-commerce are great growth opportunities in a changing market. Now could be a good time to join a home delivery platform or set up an app or e-commerce store.
  • New product and service lines: One of the best ways to grow during a difficult economic period is to get more wallet share from your existing customers. Adding new products and services to the mix can create opportunities to cross and up-sell or bring new foot traffic.
  • Promotions and specials: With Black Friday looming, many people are already planning their big purchases. Now is a time to identify opportunities to bulk-buy goods that will be in demand, in order to attract customers with promos and special offers, but also as a means to clear end of range stock at ridiculously low prices.
  • Pop-up stores: The flexibility of the pop-up store format is a great fit with these unusual times. It allows business owners to expand into new areas or position the business in high-traffic areas with minimal risk and capital outlay.

Click-and-borrow financing solutions, like Capital Connect, enable retailers to move fast to grab these opportunities. Retailers can get up to R5-million business funding in just 24 hours, hassle-free and based on their monthly cash and card receipts. This unsecured finance solution gives retailers quick access to opportunity capital. They simply download an app to click and borrow.

“With Black Friday and the festive season just around the corner, this is an opportune moment for retailers to think creatively about innovations and ideas that will enable them to win. A lack of access to business funding is no longer an excuse – alternative financing puts working capital within reach for most retailers. The question is more around what they could and would do with quick access to funding,” Heilbron concludes.   

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