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GIBS and Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division uncover shopping mall gold

The University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division have joined forces to conduct a shopping mall survey to ascertain shopper behaviour and how advertising impacts them.


The research, which was undertaken by GIBS Senior Lecturer and lead project researcher, Kerry Chipp, with financial backing by Primedia Unlimited, takes into account, investigates and uncovers amongst others, the major mall draw cards, where the money goes, what drives people to shop and how advertising actually influences them.


Chipp elaborates: “The GIBS Primedia Unlimited Retail Shoppertunities study makes a valuable contribution to our knowledge of South African mall shoppers. Where so many studies focus only on surveying shopper intentions, this study sheds light on how intentions translate into behaviour.


The results highlight the need for marketers to align their offerings according to shopper segments, to capitalise on in-mall marketing opportunities and to grow sales by reassuring customers that they are savvy shoppers. The researchers have identified a myriad of insights that will enable product brand owners, retailers and property owners to grow revenues and meet shopper needs.”


CEO of Primedia Unlimited’s Mall Division, Molefi Moloantoa adds: “The study surveyed 4200 shoppers over a two week period. They were selected and interviewed randomly across major shopping centres of Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Intercept interviews were conducted across multiple days, Monday to Sunday, and across various times of the day. Sample data was weighted to reflect the catchment area.

ResearchLeaveBehind 2014 Page 2

We’re excited about the project as it proves the immense value in the mall node,” he says. “It shows that there is immense potential for brands wanting to speak to consumers at a critical phase of the purchase funnel, in the last retail mile. We have seen how interest and commitment to the mall space in SA has grown over the years, and our sponsorship of this survey gives credence to this interest.”


According to the results from the research, malls are rarely visited for a single purpose and browsing is the second biggest activity associated with spend. Interestingly, not only are malls draw cards for socialising and leisure activities but also for business executives. This category may not otherwise find the time to visit the mall for socialising and as such often make unplanned visits to retailers.


Shoppers vary in their requirements with the research identifying five key shopper groups.  Such segmentation, which was performed on purpose of the visit, found a set of “Purposeful/Goal Directed”, “The General Shop”, “Taking a break”, “Leisure Shoppers”, and “Business Users”. 


The research also showed that mall advertising gets consumers to particular shops or brands where unplanned purchases happen. Advertising could take the form of washroom advertising, digital directories, underground parking billboards, escalator branding, lift banners, video walls or hanging banners. For example 62% of people who made unintentional purchases noticed the hanging banners.


Once in the mall, nearly half (45%) of consumers are deal prone or value conscious and respond to promotions spontaneously when they see them. What is most interesting though is that the cumulative effect of advertising – that is the more advertising seen and events participated in – is strongly associated with greater spend and unplanned visits.  The impact of advertising is associated with 36% of spend.


“What this means is that advertising builds on itself and so rather utilise multiple touch points within the mall than spread your advertising efforts too thinly,” says Chipp.

Within the research, individual malls are examined by catchment area, tenants and brands, what they are used for, social media usage and size and how these factors affect consumers.


“The research proves that advertising works, not only that it works but that the South African consumer is deal prone and responds favourably to advertising and marketing activities in the last mile,” says Molefi.


To download the research presentation, go to: http://www.primedia-unlimited.co.za/wp-content/uploads/GIBS_Primedia%20presentation%20V7_REVISED.pdf

Published in Sales
Friday, 09 May 2014 08:36

Romance Your Customers

Romance Your Customers

Imagine that you decide that it is time to get married soon. You go out and buy a new outfit, new shoes, and expensive after-shave. You select a demographically-correct singles bar because this, you decide, is the place where the woman* of your dreams will probably hang out.


You sit on the deck, watching the beautiful sun slowly dip down into the horizon, and suddenly you spot a beautiful young lady that seems equally delighted by this magnificent sunset. You march up to her and say: “Hi, I’m Stan the Man, and I am the most successful and well-dressed rep in my company. That sunset that you were so admiring is caused by all the little particles of pollution that cause the deep red colour, and the light particles travelled more than 150 million kilometres to get here. That took only eight minutes, but without those rays there would be no photosynthesis for plants, and we would all die of oxygen deprivation and starvation in the next few months. By the way, will you marry me?”


You see the crazy look on her face, and decide maybe it would be better to move on to someone else. So you try another lady, and when you are rejected, you repeat the strategy for every other woman in the room. When that fails, you think that since you invested so much in the outfit, the shoes and the after-shave, perhaps you better start asking some of the men too. As you walk away, beaten and disappointed, you blame the suit, the shoes, and the after- shave.

But you never question the strategy.


Yet this is what I see most companies doing in their marketing strategy. “Let’s create some beautiful ads,” they say, “And then we’ll broadcast them as widely as possible, and see what happens.” And when it all fails, they blame the ads, and the sales reps. But they never question the strategy!


Imagine the same scenario at the singles bar, but this time you gently walk up to the beautiful young lady and say, “Isn’t this just breathtaking?” And as she looks at you, you follow-up by saying, “It’s so tranquil and beautiful I try to come here and enjoy it as often as I can. How come I’ve never seen you here before?” Better chance of success, right? And it improves as you put in more effort to get to know her better, to truly listen to her, to pay her lots of compliments, to do the things she wants to do, and to overlook the little idiosyncrasies.

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Published in Customer Service
Ignore customers and lose business… but for real stupidity try email

Every opportunity to communicate with customers is an opportunity to build volumes and profit. Maximising the communication opportunity is therefore a business imperative.

Or is it?

Many companies that migrate to email communication, leave their business sense behind, along with their sense of basic courtesy.

In the electronic age, a new rule has emerged for service-challenged companies:

To upset individual customers, simply ignore them; but to give offence to thousands, try email instead.

Email is not the best medium for customer communication. Many forms of rudeness are associated with it.

Most businesses know they should not send spam and should keep emails short. Some even appreciate that careless use of capitals and exclamation marks can irritate customers. Baffling abbreviations are also annoying.

However, an even greater irritation often goes unrecognised – the ‘No-Reply’ email.

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Published in Customer Service
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:35

Building a customer centric business

Building a customer centric business

In our modern world consumers expect companies to be intelligent and connected, Leopold Malan one of the founding partners at BrightRock insurance discusses with Geoffrey Dean, Publisher of The SA Leader, how BrightRock designed its systems and material in a very conscious effort to “debunk the gumpf” and to build products and systems that work for the customer, not just the company.

Published in Media & Marketing
Monday, 08 July 2013 11:33

Six steps to handling customer complaints

Six steps to handling customer complaints

Unhappy customers are bad news for any restaurant, and it only takes one of them to shatter the ambience of a restaurant and to steer many more prospective customers away from you.

Published in CRM & Direct Marketing
Why business to customer communication is broken – and how to fix it

As a customer, do you know how many business relationships you have? Listing them can be an interesting exercise: The phone company, the supermarket, the doctor, the dentist, the garage, the bank, the gym, the place you buy your lunch… almost everybody can rack up at least 20 of these relationships without thinking much about it, and over 50 is common.


Now consider the fact that many of those businesses have multiple digital touch points - email, SMS, websites, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Multiply your 50 business relationships by five touch points and that’s 250 message points competing for your attention. In the resulting clutter and noise, everybody loses – not just the business, but customers too.


Customers lose out because we do, in fact, want to hear from those we do business with. That’s why we connect on social media and sign up for newsletters. But we’re not getting the right information, at the right time, in the right context. The channels businesses currently use to communicate with us are flawed.


The problem is one of context. For most of us, email is mostly about work – or it should be. All too often it’s about prioritisation and productivity. In that context, where we’re just trying to clear the decks so we can get some work done, that carefully crafted marketing newsletter ticks by without being opened.


What about social media? Again, the context is wrong. A study by the IBM Institute for Business Analysis found that only 23% of users have used social media to interact with brands --and most cite discounts and specials as the reason for that interaction. As consumers we don’t want our insurance companies to entertain us and be our friends.


What both businesses and their customers need is a single, dedicated space where they can communicate and engage.  As a customer, it benefits me to have one place where I can store all my account details, access up to date phone numbers, send messages and check special offers – when and where it suits me. 


Businesses benefit too from a single connection space: They get customers who are willing to hear from them, information they can use to design personalised special offers and the comfort of knowing their customers will call them when the time comes – not search Google and find their competitors instead.


As the mobile phone is no doubt the future of customer engagement, mobile apps seem like the best platform for this dedicated connection space. My phone is always with me, and I have no objection in principle to companies using it to communicate with me.


That doesn’t mean a mobile app for every company – who wants to download and manage 50 new apps? What is needed is one app to manage all company-client communication.  We already have Facebook for managing our personal relationships and LinkedIn for our professional networks – we want Connecto to be the app that links businesses and their customers in the same way.

Published in Customer Service
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 11:19

Better retail experiences lead to sustainable and profitable growth

Better retail experiences lead to sustainable and profitable growth

There is a tendency in today’s highly competitive market for businesses to look for growth by adding new products to their mix, adding more stores to their network or by spending more money on advertising campaigns. The trouble is that these efforts are relatively "easy" to execute and are often done in isolation, resulting in short-term growth spikes that, over time, do little to create value. It is much harder to re-evaluate the total brand offering and make meaningful changes that lead to sustainable and profitable growth.


Retail in South Africa is experiencing a radical shift: the industry is evaluating and coming to terms with new channels due to the ever-changing expectations of more digitally-empowered and global thinking consumers. The opportunity to develop more meaningful and loyal relationships with consumers can only be achieved with strategies that focus on designing better experiences and services accordingly, instead of the usual product, store or campaign-based activities.


The key challenge for businesses in 2013 will be how to develop and execute strategies that allow for meaningful and seamless cross-channel consumer engagement. In an ‘always open, buy almost anything at any time, delivered (or collected) anywhere’ market, local businesses are going to have to work really hard to understand and deliver on the needs of their customers.


When we learn the real meaning and value of life-long customer relationships, whether in store or online, we soon come to realise that the job of the organisation (and everyone in it) is not only to sell product, but to also appreciate how the customer journey and the store environment influence the transaction and the experience.


With as many as 8 million brands in the market, the transaction is now much more than the exchange of money for product. The factors of time, cost and anxiety need to be written into the equation to determine proper assessment of the experience.  In restaurant terms, the food, the service and the ambience are the difference between a good, bad or amazing experience.


When we understand this, the store is no longer just a place to purchase product, but rather becomes the product, and should be seen as an experience delivery centre. The measures of success will no longer be the traditional monthly foot traffic and sales, but be replaced by what percentage of customers made a purchase on any particular day.


A good marketing strategy, however, is not enough - and more often than not the missing piece is people, not technology. People strategies are needed to pull off a good experience: intelligent, trained, empowered people are the glue that holds the entire experience together. There is a real danger in this digital age to want to ‘mechanise’ the system. I haven't yet met a device that can outplay a spirited, helpful and attentive store assistant or manager.


This is a summary of the presentation delivered by Jones, who spoke at the 6th annual POPAI Marketing and Retail Conference in Johannesburg.
Published in Sales
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 11:14

SA businesses overlook customer experience at their peril

Hebrew & English Coke Labels - Consistent Branding

The world’s most valuable brands, such as Coca-Cola, Google, McDonalds and Apple, all have one thing in common - they recognise the crucial role of providing a consistent customer experience. As a result, South African businesses are being urged to follow suit and measure customer experience, as well as utilise the data to improve operating efficiencies, grow market share and drive innovation, among other key business strategies.

Published in Branding
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:37

Customer Experience

Customer Experience

As the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded with products and services, it is becoming tougher for companies to stand out amidst the noise and clutter. In the past, how you packaged your product or service was of paramount importance, along with the messaging around it. These elements are still critical, but in addition, you need to offer the customer or consumer a unique experience. Simply put, the customer experience is the end-to-end experience that a company provides to customers. It is the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company. Direct contact generally occurs in the course of purchase, use, and service and is usually initiated by the customer. Indirect contact most often involves unplanned encounters with representations of a company’s products, services, or brand and takes the form of word-of-mouth recommendations, advertising, news reports, reviews, and so forth. Notably, the customer experience is a blend of a company’s physical performance and the emotions evoked, intuitively measured against customer expectations across all touch-points. This means that every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company that will either strengthen or weaken the future relationship - and with that - the customer’s desire to return, spend more and recommend.


Cumulative Effect

The more experiences a customer accumulates, the more his/her perceptions will shift from fact-based judgments to a more general meaning of the whole relationship. In essence, a better customer experience buys you loyalty, and tolerance on the occasions when things do not turn out as planned. Subsequently, improving the customer experience has become a central strategic issue in many industries as companies realise it offers the chief means of distinguishing themselves in an overly commoditised industry.



A Company-Wide Philosophy

Customer experience is based not only on operational concerns, but emotional aspects as well. The challenge is therefore to orchestrate a company-wide focus of contributing to the best possible customer experience. It should be a company-wide philosophy, and to instill a common philosophy can be a daunting task. Too often the responsibility to deliver a better customer experience rests on the shoulders of a few departments in an organisation, customer service, marketing, or sales - but giving the responsibility away creates the risk that functions like operations, back office, HR or IT do not share the same customer ethos, which puts the total customer experience at risk.  Customer experience management and the subsequent measurement should not be viewed as stand alone projects, but rather as a company-wide philosophy in which staff buy-in - including top management - is non-negotiable.


Ample Rewards

Companies that succeed in providing the right experience develop stronger emotional bonds with their customers, which in turn will prompt customers to advocate the brand to others. In addition, improved customer experience correlates positively to customer commitment, and customer commitment is proven to relate significantly to profitability, with 20% of customers being more likely to take up new product offerings and approximately a 9% increase in profitability over a 6 month period (Hofmeyer; 2000).


Here are some interesting international statistics that reflect the importance of customer experience:

1. 40% of organizations cite ‘complexity’ as the greatest barrier to improving multichannel customer experience, overtaking ‘organisational structure’ since 2010.

Source: Econsultancy MultiChannel Customer Experience Report


2. Only 37% of brands received good or excellent customer experience index scores this year. 64% of brands got a rating of “OK,” “poor,” or “very poor” from their customers.



3. RyanAir received less than 1 complaint per 1,000 passengers in January 2012. It answered 99% of complaints within 7 business days.

Source: RyanAir Customer Service Stats


4. Poor customer experiences result in an estimated $83 Billion loss by US enterprises each year because of defections and abandoned purchases.



5. Just 47% of US contact centers reward their agents based on customer satisfaction ratings.

Source: The US Contact Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide 2012


6. 50% of smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile customer service application to try to resolve their customer service issue before calling into the contact center.

Source: SpeechCycle and Echo Research Study


7. Customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers.

Source: Bain & Company Report – Putting Social Media to Work


8. 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.

Source: RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report 2011


9. 84% of US adults who have conducted an online transaction through a mobile device in the last year report experiencing a problem.

Source: Tealeaf Mobile Transaction Research Report 2011


10. Customer power has grown, as 73% of firms trust recommendations from friends and family, while only 19% trust direct mail (from Forrester report “Consumer “Ad-itudes” Stay Strong”).


Published in CRM & Direct Marketing
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:56

User experience the key to e-commerce growth in South Africa

Different components of user experience (UX)

Online commerce in South Africa is growing as more people gain access to the Internet and credit card facilities, says online payments provider PayGate – but greater attention to user experience would give this growth an extra boost.


“Credit cards are still the most popular way to pay online, but it’s not always as easy as it should be,” says PayGate’s head of client services Robin Philip. “At a recent think tank we held for executives from most of the country’s leading online enterprises, we heard that the online payment experience is still too awkward and difficult for many customers.”


The 3D Secure system was singled out as an area for improvement, says Philip. “3D Secure is a great idea to protect credit card holders by requiring an extra password at checkout,” he says. “But at the moment it’s not being implemented as well as it could be. Different banks have different screens, the system is not always explained properly and there are several different ways of issuing PINs. This lack of co-ordination makes consumers suspicious, and everybody is seeing high dropout rates at this point in their checkout process. Fixing this would do a lot to boost online commerce in general.”


Other popular payment methods include PayD for debit cards, and automated electronic funds transfers (EFTs) via services like SID and Payfast. “There are some other methods that have promise, but they’re either dollar-based with a low user base in South Africa, or restricted to a single bank,” says Philip. “All of them still need work to improve the checkout experience.”


In general, says Philip, merchants told PayGate that more could be done to create consumer awareness of the different ways to pay online, and to increase trust in these methods.


“One exciting development is the increasing number of cheque cards that are being issued,” he says. “These are effectively credit cards with a zero credit limit. Unlike debit cards, which take a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to work as an online payment method, cheque cards are very easy and convenient to use. They’re a great option for consumers who don’t want to take on debt or don’t qualify for credit.”


“There is a core group of local credit card holders who’ve been doing online commerce for years and are completely comfortable with it,” concludes Philip. “But e-commerce will only really take off when we succeed in making it available to a much broader market – and that is going to take a lot of work by the banks, card associations, merchants and payment service providers to make our payment systems simple, reliable and trustworthy.”

Published in Online
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Employee Engagement survey highlights sub-Saharan Africa


Romance Your Customers

Twenty years of democracy - what has the consumer goods industry acheived?


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