Black Friday is an American tradition that has quickly taken root in Africa. The large online e-commerce shops and the major retail chains in many parts of the continent will be splashing out with big promotions and marketing campaigns to get consumers to part with their cash.
This day takes place the first Friday after Thanksgiving (25 November 2016) and is a day of big deals and promotions for American shoppers. Black Friday is already popular in South Africa, as is Cyber Monday, the following Monday (28 November 2016) when online shoppers are out in full force looking for tech and gaming bargains. We also see countries like Kenya and Nigeria following suite, with e-tailers planning big discounts.
If you’re a business builder with a small retail operation, you may wonder whether it’s a good idea to take part in the mayhem of the day where crowds pack shops and storm websites looking for bargains.
On the one hand, it’s a great opportunity to build some hype for your business on a day that consumers are particularly receptive to spending money. On the other hand, your promotions and marketing may be drowned out by the noise generated by retailers with massive budgets for promotions and advertising.
So, let’s look at the pros and cons of Black Friday for small businesses.
1. Shopper enthusiasm
Pro: Customers know about Black Friday and look forward to shopping for bargains on the day. There’s a high level of awareness and interest among those treating themselves or shopping for Christmas gifts.
Con: If customers expect you to have wonderful Black Friday deals every year, it might discourage them from spending money in the weeks leading up to the big day.
2. Intense competition
Pro: If you’re agile enough, have the right offers and a sharp marketing message, you might be able to attract some good business with low-cost, tactical email and social media campaigns.
Con: The competition from other retailers is intense, especially with large e-commerce sites and big retail chains offering loss-leaders to get people into their stores to spend money. It can be hard to cut through the noise.
3. Rid your business of old stock
Pro: It’s a great opportunity to market old inventory that you would need to mark down or dispose of, anyway.
Con: Customers are price-sensitive on Black Friday, and you could find yourself needing to discount aggressively to close sales.
4. Scaling up for customer traffic
Pro: You can generate a lot of footfall into your shop or traffic for your website with the right offer.
Con: You need to be sure that you have the capacity to serve the customers you attract – if your website falls over under the weight of thousands of visitors, your delivery logistics aren’t up to scratch or you don’t have stock to service demand, it could damage your brand.
5. Draw new prospects
Pro: Shoppers are adventurous on Black Friday, so you have an opportunity to attract new customers or to get customers to buy goods from you that they usually get somewhere else.
Con: It’s open to question how loyal some of these customers will be – they could simply be bargain hunters.
As the pros and cons show, there is no clear-cut answer about whether Black Friday is a must for small retailers – each must look at its business needs, customer expectations, capacity, and ability to execute before committing resources to Black Friday. What is clear, however, is that you must do Black Friday well if you are going to do it at all – or else you might end up with disappointing results and angry customers.
Elsewhere in the world, we have seen the rise of counter-movements to Black Friday, for example: Small Business Saturday. This originally started as an American Express initiative encouraging consumers to support small, local shops. It would certainly be interesting to see a movement like this on the African continent. As champions for South African entrepreneurs, we’d love every Saturday to be Small Business Saturday!
Dion Chang, trends expert and founder of Flux Trends, says: “We see a massive adoption of North American retail trends in South Africa – it is tested, it works and is already embedded in the minds of South Africans. Africa has an hourglass economy – with the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and the middle class being squeezed – people are going for deals just to make ends meet. For big and small businesses, this is definitely an opportunity for them to join and leverage this trend for their brand.”
OPIO, Egypt’s leading women’s clothing and lifestyle brand raises USD 300,000 seed round
OPIO, Egypt’s leading DTC (Direct to Consumer) everyday women’s wear brand has raised USD 300,000 investment in a seed round from AUC Angels, local and regional angel investors along with follow-on funding from Flat6labs Cairo.
Launched in 2017, Opio started as a digital native vertical, capitalizing on the long-abandoned Egyptian apparel industry and the surge in online shopping demand. OPIO commissions white label and toll manufacturing women’s wear apparel to different manufacturers and offers it to it’s ever growing customer base at affordable, competitive pricing through its digital platform www.opioshop.com
OPIO caters to people’s desire for simplicity. They seek to eliminate the hassle of researching brands and choosing from numerous options, to make the shopping experience more effortless. The company develops strong ties with local manufacturers, markets, and distributes their own products without using middlemen, which enables them to reduce costs, interact directly with consumers, and provide a seamless start-to-finish buyer’s experience.
“What I see in this market is a huge supply-demand imbalance.” said Shady Mokhtar the co-founder and CEO of OPIO, adding “Egypt has thousands of manufacturers with exceptional manufacturing capabilities yet, a total lack of modern day customers requirements, up to date fashion trends and marketing know-how, specifically in digital marketing practices.”
“On the other hand we’ve witnessed some jaw dropping internet penetration in Egypt the past 10 years, a hyper exposed gen Z, with very limited online offerings.”
“We’ve proven that we can develop a value proposition that can easily compete with international brands, Egypt is full of design and creative talent. Backing this up by relentless focus on customer experience we are confident that we can easily add a strong mark on the local and regional online fashion market.”
Added Reem Abdellaftif OPIO’s Co-founder, Creative Director and Designer-in-Chief.
Over the past couple of years, OPIO’s focus was in developing strong supply chain capabilities and bring onboard a team with a diverse caliber, from digital marketing specialists, to tech experts, as well as fashion design and creative teams. The company acquired talents from reputable e-commerce companies to gain a deeper insight into scaling.
Yaser El Khereji CEO of Albasateen trading company and one of OPIO’s lead investors, says, “We were impressed with Opio’s unique value proposition, We are planning on providing OPIO with the logistical infrastructure they need to set up a strong foothold in the GCC region. With a special attention to localizing the brand to further appeal to the target demographic.”
Mariam Kamel from AUC Angels said, “OPIO has been very responsive to market trends, both in terms of how it interacts with its clientele, and how it reacts to changes induced by the recent developments in the digitalization of the shopping experience. They’ve revised their business plan when they’ve needed to, and established key partnerships where it was beneficial. Shady and his team move fast, and always have news to share on what’s coming next.”
Opio addresses a unique market opportunity that manifested itself with the outbreak of Covid-19 and the major shift by Egyptians towards on-line transactions, the highest of which being in fashion (as highlighted by a MasterCard survey) and an strong team that share a passion for the fashion industry,
strong belief in the creative talent in Egypt, and the operational knowhow needed to deliver an a-class customer experience.
Flat6Labs is a true believer of the OPIO brand and the team behind it and is a proud partner and investor. “We stand behind the team as they take the business beyond borders and scale into a regional and an international brand”, commented Marie-Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo.
Issued by AUC Angels
Play Zuri Health launches its first mHealth App to help provide affordable and accessible healthcare solutions
Play Zuri Health Limited Mobile App (Source: Zuri Health)
Play Zuri Health Limited, a branch of the Play Communications Limited announced the launch of their first mobile app, Zuri Health; that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, Apple Store as well as the Zuri Health website.
Zuri Health’s mission is to provide certified, affordable and accessible healthcare solutions via mobile with dedicated apps, wap and SMS services based on availability, location and specialization of the medical providers.
Users will have access to a myriad of professionals and services from across their home counties. They are able to book appointments instantly with any medical professional or hospital within their geographic regions, book laboratory tests, chat with the practitioners via both message and video as an added feature and request for home visits by the Licensed and Certified Medical Practitioners.
Under Pharmacy, users can get their prescription and over the counter medication online and have it delivered to their doorstep.
The SMS service functionality of Zuri Health has been designed to reach a wide range of individuals or users who may not have access to WAP or internet enabled devices.
The app’s code was written with the daily challenges patients face in the journey of seeking affordable and accessible healthcare solutions. We solve the problem of expensive and inconvenient hospital trips for small or minor diagnosis and prescriptions, long waiting times and queues during doctors’ visits and appointments scheduling and booking which can be tasking.
Through our mobile app, we also help doctors to tap into a wider market of on-demand patients and earn extra money while saving lives.
“Zuri Health App is very personal to me. Millions of people in Africa do not have access to quality medical care. At Zuri Health we have taken time to develop a product that will fill that gap, giving doctors a wider and easier platform to reach patients who need them. With Zuri Health the underserved populace can now access affordable and sustainable healthcare.” Arthur Ikechukwu Anoke- C.E.O and Co- Founder Zuri Health.
Daisy Isiaho Project Manager and Co-founder in an interview said, “In my view, there is an urgent need to drive more meaningful conversations in relation to frameworks around Telemedicine because in Africa very few countries have these yet its fundamental if we should achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Since the beta launch in November 2020 the company’s predicted three year growth plan is to have more than 20,000 registered doctors listed, 250,000 premium users and at least 1,000,000 mobile downloads.
Remi Duyile accepted into Forbes Coaches Council
Remi Duyile, Former VP, Bank of America and Founder, Legacy Premier Foundation has been accepted into Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches.
Remi Duyile was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.
“We are honored to welcome Remi Duyile into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Coaches Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”
As an accepted member of the Council, Remi has access to a variety of exclusive opportunities designed to help her reach peak professional influence. She will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum. Remi will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.
Finally, Remi Duyile will benefit from exclusive access to vetted business service partners, membership-branded marketing collateral, and the high-touch support of the Forbes Councils member concierge team.
“I am truly excited for this new journey. This value of this community to the coaches around the world has been immensely significant. I am certain that my participation will further cement my leadership role in this community and my industry at large.” Remi Duyile said.
Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.