#21interviews: Embrace technology at all levels

Thabani Maluleka, business development director for Rogerwilco, says how businesses collect and use data will be the true test of survival.

Thabani Maluleka, business development director for Rogerwilco, says how businesses collect and use data will be the true test of survival.

1. How have you helped your clients in the shadow of the pandemic this year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Clients have had to figure out how to keep the engagement with their customers a high-priority. As a business developer by profession, communication and information were key to supporting our clients, helping them to make informed decisions based on real-time data analytics.

2. What have you noticed about changed business and brand behaviour? 

Customer behaviour definitely changed due to the strict lockdown regulations. Staying indoors became the norm and forced the customer to change their spending behaviour. Brands and businesses had to adapt immediately as brand loyalty wasn’t a defining purchasing factor anymore. Even if there’s a vaccine on the horizon, this new behaviour may continue to evolve in the future. We have the technology to continue to change the game, both at the customer and business level.

3. What is your advice to retailers and brands after observing radical shifts in the industry during 2020? 

My advice to retailers and brands would be to begin to embrace technology at all levels of the business, from top management to the bottom. Technology has proven itself by connecting the entire world, bringing humanity together to fight against a global threat. I would also advise they look at digitising their products/services to their customers if they haven’t done it yet. There has been a significant rise in online sales. Customers are faced with a new norm in terms of working, living and lifestyle; and businesses should look at new ways of keeping that engagement at high-priority.

4. What are your predictions for 2021 in how we will do business going forward?

I think 2021 is still going to bring new learnings in the way we behave and how we will be doing business going forward. Many companies may want to return to the normality of pre-Covid. Still, customers have seen and experienced that things can be done differently. They no longer have to go to a shopping mall to do their business; they now have the power in their hands to deliver all those products and services directly to their doorstep. Data will become super important for businesses that want to stay ahead of the game. How they collect and use that data will be the true test going forward.


For more insights for retail and brand leaders in the #21interviews series publishing 1-21 December 2020, ahead of 2021:

#21interviews LAUNCH: 2021 comes with a disclaimer by Louise Burgers, Publisher & Editor, RetailingAfrica.com

#21interviews: Brands need to get brave says Bozoma Saint John, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Netflix

#21interviews: The power of being purpose-led will drive brand value by Karin Du Chenne, Chief Growth Officer Africa and the Middle East, Kantar

#21interviews: Plan for growth in 2021 says Herman Botha, Group General Manager, PNA Group

#21interviews: Next year will be all about authentic visual immersion by Craig Bellingham, founder & CEO, Studio[K]irmack

#21interviews: Covid has created a brand vulnerability says Elouise Brink, senior marketing manager, Country Road, Woolworths Holdings

#21interviews: Reimagining a better world without the inequality of ‘normal’ with economist and author of the post-pandemic book, FutureNEXT, Dr Iraj Abedian, talking to Retailing Africa Publisher & Editor, Louise Burgers.


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