When Yellowwood launched Engager a few years ago, there were
three Big Cs on which South Africa's most engaging brands scored
highly: these were Conviction, Commitment and Connection. The nine
pillars of brand engagement in the Engager model are massively
important, but I'd like to suggest that when it comes to building a
retail brand, there are another 3 Cs which are critically important
but often get overlooked.
Nothing puts me in a bad mood faster than getting to the shelf
to find that the product I buy every month isn't there.
I have a love hate relationship with my local Dis-Chem Pharmacy
for this reason. It's so convenient to get all of my
supplements and personal care items in one place, but guaranteed
one of the items I have on my shopping list will not be on the
shelf. I've even waited 3 months just to see the
re-appearance of my favourite brand of hand cream, which is made in
Shoppers want their retailer to be steady and dependable. We
don't want constant change on shelf, and nor do we want to return
again and again until the item we need is back in stock.
The importance of convenience can't be overstated; from having
the right range for shoppers to get everything they need in one
place, to the choice of location. The convenience of being just
around the corner is the reason spaza shops can charge a premium.
Another important aspect of convenience is trading
hours. Woolworths has tailored their trading hours for each
store to meet the needs of the shoppers in that area. For
example, their Adderley Street store caters to the 'office' trade,
and is open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., while their stores in
residential areas open later and trade until 9 p.m. to cater for
late shoppers. Some of the Woolworths Foodstops at Engen
forecourts are open 24 hours a day.
Pick n Pay and Checkers also offer extended shopping hours, with
the added benefit that many of these stores now also carry in-house
pharmacies. It would be great to see other retailers
following suit and aligning their trading hours with what works for
the working population. It will help them fend off the rising
threat of online retail, which doesn't ever close.
The last of my small Cs is caring. These days it's
imperative for businesses to have some form of responsible and
sustainable citizenship. There are many local and global brands
that are guided by their values and committed to building
communities, and shoppers are increasingly demanding this from
The concept of caring extends beyond CSI. It includes paying
attention to the customer, and being conscientious and thorough in
meeting their needs. Really caring for others is hard work and
impossible to fake - it requires genuine concern, support and
compassion. But those retailers that get it right will transform
their brands into something that shoppers and society really care