Stocktake: Enticing customers back in store

Customers are being coaxed back in store and to spaces where they are welcomed, nurtured and secure.

A glut of new store openings; retail anniversary celebrations and campaigns; as well as encouraging online shopping numbers, all signal a desire to restart economic growth and coax customers back in store, as well as to spaces where they are welcomed, nurtured and secure.

Starbucks calls for a return to the ‘third place’

As Starbucks celebrates its 50th anniversary globally and its fifth year in South Africa, it is looking to rebuilding community in a post-Covid world, calling for people to gather in the ‘third places’ that anchor communities – the places we gather and feel comfortable in outside of our home and workspaces. This recognised third place, often coffee shops or intimate bistros, has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic lockdowns. Adrian Maizey, CEO of Rand Capital Coffee, the licensee of Starbucks in SA, says Starbucks is encouraging human connections in a post-Covid world in this increasingly important ‘third place’. Along with a limited-edition Anniversary Blend, Starbucks is sharing the opportunity to celebrate this special occasion through a range of commemorative merchandise, featuring a golden variation of its iconic Siren logo.

Maizey adds that Starbucks South Africa is taking the opportunity of the 50th anniversary to launch an overarching brand campaign that speaks to what Starbucks stands for. “‘Be my guest’ is at the heart of who we are, who our partners on the ground in every store are. We share the ethos in our collective efforts to improve the future of our people and planet through café conversations and the reality of high-quality, ethically sourced coffee.” Starbucks started with one store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971 and now has close on 33,000 stores worldwide. It has consistently been motivated by purpose-driven efforts to grow communities within neighbourhoods, working with partners across the coffee supply chain.

What are South Africans buying online?

Despite the fact that shoppers are slowly migrating back in store, online retail sales are continuing to do well across all age groups. Product categories that are being shopped for most often online in South Africa, are tech at 41%, fashion at 39% and appliances at 32%, which make up the top three categories. “What surprised us though was that alcohol only drew a 25% response whereas we saw a significant spike in online sales both during and after the booze ban. This indicates potential growth opportunity in online alcohol sales,” says OneDayOnly’s Jessica van der Westhuyzen, digital and performance marketing manager.

Of the 38.19 million South African internet users that spend over 10 hours per day online, 90.2% have searched for a product or service to buy. Last year local etailer OneDayOnly launched an index to better understand South Africa’s online consumer behaviour. The index was focused on identifying areas the business was falling short and focusing on more of what the customer wanted from the e-tailer. It was also used to gauge emerging online shopping trends and areas of the online consumer journey they could address to improve the user experience. The latest survey had over 9,000 respondents take part, almost double from last year, and was varied between active online shoppers, infrequent online shoppers and non-shoppers.

Speaking this morning at the ODOmeter 2.0 virtual event recently, Laurian Venter, director at OneDayOnly, highlighted that the vast majority of online shoppers fall between the ages of 25 and 54. “The 25 – 34 year old age bracket is down 4% from the last ODOmeter, while the 35 – 44 and 45 – 54 age brackets are up 2% respectively. Although this may look like the younger age group is shopping less, it is possible that this could be linked to the effects of the long-term lockdown, and an indicator of the 35 – 54 year old bracket becoming more comfortable with making more frequent purchases online,” says Venter. In terms of how often people shop online the survey indicated that most customers were returning to shop between once a week and once a month, which is up 3% from last year, with nearly two thirds of the group falling into these brackets. For more information or to have a look at the latest ODOmeter presentation, click here.

Game reimagines retail in Rustenburg
Game, Rustenburg, new store opening.

Game Stores new turnaround strategy, Retail Reimagined, continues to roll out with the fourth new Game store showcasing its new retail concept opening in Rustenburg end of April. “Game Reimagined goes beyond what our customers will see when they walk into our store. We’ve ‘reimagined’ the way we operate our stores, the store layout and merchandise adjacencies, our category propositions, and the way we enable our people in stores,” says Andrew Stein, vice president of Game. The new store which opened for trade in the new Rustenburg Mall, has a brand-new modern look-and-feel, a convenient store layout with various and wide-ranging categories including clothing, party solutions, wellness and security, and innovations such as WiFi in store to make shopping a breeze.

“The concept of ‘Retail Reimagined’ is about transforming and improving the customer experience as a whole. We prioritise creating a better life for our customers, as well as saving them time and money, so we spent time investigating specific customer pain points and looking for ways in which to alleviate these,” says Stein, adding that not only has Game improved the shopping experience for its customers, but there are also amazing in-store experiences available for them to come and enjoy, such as a bike track for kids to test bikes; an interactive zone for customers to try out electronics (such as TVs, laptops and gaming consoles) and charging stations; and a wellness area that focuses on the seven goals of fitness – fitness, strength, slimming and toning, healthy mind, healthy body, seasonal sport, lifestyle accessories.

This week in numbers


Shoprite opened four new stores in just three days across three provinces between 27 and 29 April 2021. Positioned in areas not previously served by the Group’s supermarkets or in those showing strong population growth, the four new stores are: Checkers Jukskei Park (Johannesburg, Gauteng); Shoprite Rustenburg Mall (Rustenburg, North West); Checkers Rustenburg Mall (Rustenburg, North West); Shoprite Ekhaya Mall (Secunda, Mpumalanga). The four new stores employ almost 550 employees. With more than 140 000 employees, the Shoprite Group is South Africa’s largest private sector employer.

QUOTE of the week:

“Those [retailers] which have started thinking about the customer experience and the best possible route to purchase, have built a retail ecosystem around customer purchase patterns by using physical and digital in tandem with a sprinkling of customer data on top,” said Mike Smollan, chief innovation officer of Smollan, on Retailing Africa this week.


Main image credit: Starbucks.



*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 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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