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Change and more change – S&R April 2017 Issue

| On the move

“Stop the world I want to get off!” That’s a feeling that nearly all of us experience from time to time as we face the ever-increasing pace of change and the challenges it brings.

Yet change also brings with it new opportunity. In this issue, among other topics, you’ll find many examples of how change is being dealt with and exploited in retail.

One example. Around the world, central banks are pushing to replace cash and escalate the transition towards a cashless society.

In our Checkout Services feature we find it is something that many consumers already want. According to a recent study, more than a third of Europeans and Americans would be happy not to carry cash and rely on electronic payments if they could. At least 20% of them already pretty much do so.

Paying with contactless cards and mobile-phone digital wallets has already become prevalent in many supermarkets around the world. It’s also clear that many more consumers would relish the opportunity to transact quickly and securely using
these new cashless payment options.

While some forms of change are easy to adopt and benefit from others are not.

The general trading conditions in South Africa fall very much in this latter category.

So it is interesting to find that in this tight economy specialist health and beauty retailers are increasing the quality and variety of their private-label offer in an attempt to remain competitive.

In our Health and Beauty feature we investigate this almost counter-intuitive trend and the plans retailers are making to exploit it.

One of the impacts of the recent ratings-agencies downgrade of our credit status is the increased pressure on fleet operators.

The only way to contain these is to ensure the fleets are managed efficiently and that the correct telematic solutions are in place to enable fleet managers to collate and review all the cost elements. Find out how fleets can be maintained more efficiently in our Supply Chain feature in this issue.

In these challenging times loyalty cards and systems have come of age in South Africa. This month we kick off a new series on how they are being used and their growth in popularity.

In these tough times one might well expect a rise in extortionate behaviour by desperate consumers. The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO) has come across cases in which consumers claim to have discovered all manner of grizzly foreign objects in foods they purchased and then sought compensation in the millions. If you or your suppliers are faced with this problem the question will be, can such claims succeed? In his monthly column, advocate Neville Melville explains how the law works in cases like these.

The recent United Airlines public-relations disaster in which a video of their staff dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight went viral must have given many retailers cause for thought. It is just so easy for one’s reputation to be destroyed overnight in one unguarded moment in these days of social media. In our Delight your Customer feature we discuss the social-media lessons that can be learnt from this and give some tips on how you can avoid a similar disaster in your own business.

In this world of never-ending and accelerating change we look forward to highlighting the opportunities that it brings to build your business as well as investigating the pitfalls and solutions to the negative changes it also brings. Have a good read and may the force be with you.

Editorial Comment – Stephen Maister – Managing Editor Supermarket & Retailer Magazine

Click here to view the April 2017 Issue of Supermarket & Retailer


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