Stocktake: Consumer expectations are higher than ever

Consumer expectations are higher than ever in an economically stressed environment.

Retailers are forced to modernise and update legacy systems to meet the expectations of a consumer ravaged by a year of financial insecurity and uncertainty. Consumer expectations are higher than ever in an economically stressed environment.

Ackermans modernises store operations

Ackermans has updated its legacy operating system (OS) with a solution to support its comprehensive platform. The retailer needed a multi-function device for its front and back of store operations, with the capability of RFID integration to help future-ready its technology investment. Ackermans selected Zebra Technologies’ TC20 mobile computer to facilitate its migration from Windows to Android to increase the efficiency of its front and back of store operations and deliver the quality customer experience. Ackermans will roll out 1,800 devices across several of its retail locations. “Zebra’s TC20 mobile computers provide streamlined operations management, which is essential for us at front and back of store in today’s retail environment,” said Marius Jordaan, operations project manager, Ackermans. Zebra’s technology gives the retailer’s front-line workers ease of use with a familiar OS. Psionet, a Zebra PartnerConnect Registered Reseller assisted with the operational business application development for this solution. David Gozalo, regional sales director, at Zebra, added: “The TC20 mobile computer will drive significant impact for Ackermans as it provides all the features needed to save time and money while increasing sales and boosting the profitability of its stores.” The retailer will phase out its legacy Windows Mobile operating system and migrate to Android with the adoption of Zebra’s TC20 mobile computers.

Avatar DBN is the new TTL ad agency for Edgars

In recent months, Edgars was purchased from Edcon by Durban-based operation Retailability, which has a proven track record of shifting ailing businesses such as Legit from loss to profit-generating retail brands. With this change of ownership, the Edgars business faced challenges in both regaining lost customers, and in growing the brand sustainably into the future. Both challenges present opportunities to renew its brand values, personality and purpose, and build new equity  in a broader target market in line with Retailability’s vision. Norman Drieselmann, CEO of Retailability, explains: “Our focus is now on integrating the Edgars stores into the rest of the business while ensuring that the Edgar’s brand stays relevant. Choosing an agency partner was a critical step in this new journey.” Antony Ellis, managing director of Avatar DBN, says this appointment means more than just winning a new client: “Edgars is a heritage brand in South African retail, and despite a rough few years, deserves its place in our retail economy. We’ve taken this brief as a responsibility in not only returning Edgars to top-of-mind status, but to play an important part in repositioning the brand for the future with relevant new thinking and vibrant creative work that changes minds.” Avatar DBN joined Avatar Agency Group, the largest fully black-owned agency group in South Africa, in August this year.

Young creatives collaborate on Makers Landing visual identity

The founding pillars of the V&A Waterfront’s multi-million Rand harbour makeover, Makers Landing,  is to create opportunities and support rising talent, so it made sense that this ethos be seeded in Makers Landing. The call for young designers to be part of this legacy project resulted in the V&A Waterfront giving up-and-coming creatives the opportunity to work alongside the lead advertising agency to create a visual identity for Makers Landing, giving them the chance to work with one of South Africa’s most iconic neighbourhoods. Makers Landing is an innovative incubator for the local food industry. The space will be built around a community with food as a passion point and cultural connector, where authentic South African food and its diversity is shared and celebrated. The call for applications to work on the visual identity for Makers Landing was put out to advertising and design colleges and programmes across the country. From these entries, five shortlisted creatives were invited to pitch their concepts to the judging panel. Two finalists were chosen, Bonolo Chepape, a local textile designer and the founder of Lulasclan; and local up-and-coming photographer, Cole Ndelu. These two young creatives developed the Makers Landing corporate identity under the guidance of the creative agency, OFyt (Old Friends Young Talent). Chepape, a young graphic designer from Rustenburg, was inspired by celebrating authentic African design and women. Ndelu, from Johannesburg, wanted to ensure the design imagery contributed, also honoured African culture.

This week in numbers:


Customer connections are essential in crises, with 94% of South African customers surveyed indicating that how a company acts during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness; while 84% of customers say that COVID-19 has elevated their expectation of digital capabilities. Digital-first behaviour is here to stay as customers develop new habits that will last. With massive shifts to every facet of their daily lives, South African customers estimate 64% of their interactions with businesses will take place online this year, compared to 38% in 2019, according to the fourth edition of the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report. The report shows that while a string of crises has affected all facets of life, including a fundamental shift in how customers connect with brands; factors like empathy, personalisation, convenience, and digital transformation are the keys to customer relationships. As customers reevaluate the role of business in society, the notion of stakeholder capitalism is increasingly being factored into purchase decisions. Says Robin Fisher, area vice president, Salesforce – Emerging Markets, “In a crisis, customer connections are critical. The events of this year have upended the relationships between customers and brands. During a time when uncertainty and confusion reign, brands have an opportunity to reinforce and rebuild trust with new and loyal customers alike. And this is reflected strongly in the research results.”

QUOTE of the week:

“The value of ecommerce in South Africa is said to reach around R225bn – driven by higher adoption of smartphones and increase in internet penetration and lower cost of data. The SME sector is the largest contributor to GDP growth and therefore requires support and focus. Informal trade, which plays a fundamental role in the ‘hidden economy’ includes stockvels and spaza shops. The informal sector is rapidly driving up revenue, coming in higher than the formal sector, which implies that there is incredible opportunity for ecommerce and online entrepreneurs. It makes sense that government and private enterprises will look to enable and become a catalyst for small business growth. We need to support local small businesses and activate online services quickly and efficiently – assisting those without the technological know-how and resources and lower the barrier to entry,” said Yaron Assabi, CEO of in


*Stocktake is a weekly roundup of current FMCG retailing and brand news, curated and edited by Retailing Africa Publisher & Editor, Louise Burgers. Keep the industry updated and send your announcements and news to:


Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.


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