A shopping revolution is being trialled in the aisles of selected Gauteng supermarkets and convenience stores that is forcing the consumers and retailers to renew the retail conversation and allow easy purchase of brands that have had to languish out of sight.
A home-grown South African solution to an international problem has positively impacted a brand franchise store outside Mamelodi, Pretoria. It is experiencing double and triple-digit growth in premium brands that used to be removed from the view of browsing shoppers and left to languish in the cigarette kiosk.
Harvard Business Review has noted the global problem of the impact of shrinkage on the small but high-value brands and personal products. These include batteries and baby formula, shaving blades and sexual wellbeing products, pharmaceuticals and face creams.
This placement means shoppers don’t receive an on-shelf reminder message and they are inconvenienced by being made to join another queue to make the purchase. Worse still, a shopper could be looking for a personal product such as condoms or a particular medication that they don’t want to discuss with staff.
Whatever the reason, shoppers can’t exercise their immediate desire to buy. The store also risks the shopper choosing to go elsewhere, while the brand could lose the sale altogether if a cheaper rival is more readily available.
But a locally developed secure, self-service sales system called NEO is reversing these sales and brand equity losses and retailers, brands and shoppers are all improving revenue as they interact more easily again.
NEO, one of the new generation of self-service kiosks that are creating big jumps in sale of premium brands internationally, is achieving up to triple-digit growth. Shoppers are equally satisfied. Across more than 2 500 surveyed shoppers, 92% indicated that the system is easy to use. They are no longer intimidated about asking for a “back of the kiosk” product or concerned that staff will judge them
This result underlines the fact that a practical response to a begrudging reality is needed – especially as grudge choices are never ideal for a business. There are also other drawbacks to isolating stock. It diminishes the ability for brands and retailers to hold promotions and brand ambassadors cannot offer a full shopping experience.
“The physical action of removing items from the aisle means that the general range gets depleted,” says Quattro Management Systems’ Sales Manager Ben Jansen van Rensburg. “The category in the aisle may consist of a hundred products, forming a distinct range that attracts shoppers. But the moment that you start decreasing the range, sales decline and brand values get depleted.”
Various automated responses have been developed to counter such problems but he believes NEO creates an especially unencumbered shopping experience. It allows brands to advertise and promote their products, and retailers to keep valuable stock safe.
It has been developed to be more than a standalone vending machine. It integrates the chain’s planogramed aisle display with the store’s point of sale system. In this way, automated stock-monitoring enables it to predict when stock will run out and create many levels of analytics that can be used for planning. Overall, it counters the negative effects of removing goods from shelves and placing them elsewhere.
SA’s retail technology breakthrough
This new solution allows a customer wanting to buy a certain item, such as a premium face cream, to find the product during their regular shopping journey in the aisle thanks to NEO’s interactive aisle display. This enables them to generate a token, pay for the product at any checkout and collect it on the way out of the store.
Quattro Management Systems applied years of experience in retail technology and service kiosks to developing this new kind of shopping experience.
“Because of the unique nature of the retail industry, we understood there are many different departments that are part of this journey,” says Jansen van Rensburg. “This solution affects purchasing, loss prevention, marketing, category management, even e-commerce. It has been important to us to get every department in a retail chain on board and get buy-in from the different role players.”
Brands no longer have to hide from shrinkage as this locally developed, new-generation solution brings the full shopping experience back into the aisle.