Stocktake: The reengineering of everything we knew

Business is adapting faster than the consumer it seems to post-pandemic protocols and is leading the charge to reopen the economy and kickstart trading.

Business is adapting faster than the consumer it seems to post-pandemic protocols and is leading the charge to reopen the economy and kickstart trading – both locally and abroad. This is certainly a time for strong and decisive business leadership in the absence of political sense.

V&A Waterfront adopts first ever global safety hygiene protocol

The V&A Waterfront joins an international list of 80 top travel destinations and 1 200 companies around the world to be awarded the specially designed “Safe Travels” stamp, having implemented comprehensive measures to safeguard the health of visitors and employees. The town of Stellenbosch became the first destination in South Africa to be awarded the prestigious Safe Travels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The Safe Travels stamp is only awarded once all the health and hygiene protocols have been implemented.

The global protocols were developed in collaboration with the WTTC Members, leading industry associations and international organisations. They consider the current guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The initiative is also backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

The WTTC produced the new global Safe Travel protocols for use by the Travel & Tourism sector as best practice guidelines to help restart and speed up the recovery of the sector in the wake of COVID-19. The aim of the protocols is to rebuild confidence among travellers, and within the tourism sector, so that safe travel can resume once restrictions are eased. The stamp will allow travellers and other travel and tourism stakeholders to recognise destination authorities and companies around the world that have implemented health and hygiene protocols aligned with WTTC’s Safe Travels Protocols. The protocols provide consistency to destination authorities as well as guidance to travel providers, operators and travellers about the new approach to health and hygiene in a post COVID-19 world.

V&A Waterfront CEO David Green said, “We’ve noted best practice from all over the world with a view to setting a benchmark, and we will continue to modify these measures as our understanding of the coronavirus evolves. As a member of the WTTC, we have the most up to date information on the most effective, scientifically supported measures available and the V&A will continue to take the lead in implementing them.”

As part of its coronavirus response, the V&A Waterfront has introduced an intensified cleaning and sanitising regime of its public areas, requires visitors to wear masks at all times, and is limiting the number of visitors in its stores. Natural ventilation has been increased where possible, and the V&A is making creative use of its many open spaces to facilitate social distancing. The V&A Waterfront also uses technology as a means to enable the safe resumption of retail, hospitality and leisure activities, introducing contactless payment for parking, and click and collect drive-through shopping solutions.

Global trade provides key opportunities to kickstart economy

Two key areas of the economy where exports can play a key role are mining and manufacturing. However, according to Nedbank economists, the outlook on mining production for the remainder of this year will probably be constrained by stop-start domestic production, subdued global demand and stagnant commodity prices. Herman de Kock, executive head of sales and service at Nedbank Business Banking, says that amid the gradual reopening of the economy with lockdown regulations beginning to ease, there will be a severe impact on businesses trading cross border, with a clear need for solutions that can help one navigate these uncertain times. For example, business could be expected to experience severe cashflow hurdles, particularly if your business is exposed to global markets, dependent on income from exports, with the real constraint that demand is severely contracted, and your cashflow pressure will originate as a result of a mismatch in meeting forward cover.

“The outlook of manufacturing production also remains bleak due to the devastating impact of the Coronavirus on the local and world economies. Global lockdowns, subdued commodity prices in light of weak global demand, coupled with stringent local lockdown regulations, will weigh down heavily on the sector. Businesses are, therefore, reliant on income from global markets through exports but there is a risk that some may not receive export proceeds on time with the added impact on forward contracts leaving a business in a negative cashflow position as forward exchange contracts (FECs) unwind. If a business is exposed to global markets, dependent on income from exports and with the very real challenge now that demand is severely contracted or delayed, your cashflow pressure will originate as a result of a mismatch in meeting forward cover.”

He says clients should always as the first point of contact, consult with their global specialist to discuss their global trading requirements. With walk in discussions no longer allowed, Nedbank’s web-based platform NedTreasury, is offering digital global trade solutions and foreign treasury assistance, as well as import letters of credit.

Clickatell shakes up $1.3 trillion call centre industry

Clickatell has announced the launch of Chat Desk, a digital contact centre solution that helps agents resolve customer queries and obtain customer insights in real-time using chat channels for live agent support. “For decades, businesses have spent significant resources on the call centre experience – generating 265 billion customer service calls each year – and most of this investment does not create desired outcomes for businesses or consumers. It’s cost prohibitive and doesn’t provide customers with the experience they expect,” said Jeppe Dorff, chief product and technology officer at Clickatell. “Chat Desk addresses some of the biggest customer experience challenges today. It enables consumers to communicate on the chat channels they are most comfortable using, while enabling organisations to easily integrate chat to deliver the very best customer experience and not break the bank.”

A complete end-to-end chat solution, Clickatell’s Chat Desk enables live agents and their supervisors to communicate with customers over popular chat platforms such as WhatsApp, tracking tickets and chat histories. By integrating chat channels within Chat Desk, businesses lower the demand on costly, traditional voice channels and enable agents to resolve multiple chat requests simultaneously, lowering the cost per resolution and increasing customer satisfaction, Dorff explained. “Studies have shown that just three percent of customers enjoy using IVR (interactive voice response), yet 80 percent of interactions can be resolved by automation and engagement. “Chat Desk addresses this divide with a solution designed to delight customers and build brand loyalty.”

This week in numbers:

R10 billion

Catastrophic consequences for the liquor industry and its entire supply chain and production pipelines in South Africa, particularly the local wine industry, are predicted after the second lockdown liquor ban will lead to losses of R10 billion in lost sales for every month lockdown prohibition continues. Industry pundits are fearful that the ban could last two to four months, which will all but destroy independents in the industry, as well as much of the restaurant trade. Massive jobs losses are predicted.

QUOTE of the week:

“Broadly across the FMCG industry, consumer behaviour has also shifted. We know consumers have reduced shopping frequency; and the consequence of that is that they are trading down to cheaper brands; they are increasing basket sizes and looking for larger pack sizes as they are shopping more infrequently. They are also rationalising on less essential and discretionary items as pressure on incomes increases. We are likely to see these behaviours in a post-lockdown liquor world as well,” warned Ailsa Wingfield, executive director Nielsen global intelligence team, at a Nielsen webinar on July 15, 2020.


*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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