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.”
Flux Panda Brings Live Stream Shopping to MENA Region
Flux Panda Founder, Alexander Rauser
In response to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, Flux Panda was created to encourage businesses in the Middle East and North African region to utilize live streaming platforms to sell their products. The App combines the functionalities of an eCommerce website and live streaming app. Merchants upload the products they want to sell during the live stream, connect Flux Panda to multiple social media platforms with live streaming like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, and their customers can buy the products by clicking the buy button and entering their payment details.
“Our goal is to make the selling and buying process on live streams much easier and enable any business to own the experience. While many small and large businesses are already selling live on social networks, our solution fixes some key problems such as order management, real-time inventory, and customization capabilities. You could say we are similar to a platform like Shopify, but focused on live commerce.” says Alexander Rauser, Founder and CEO of Flux Panda.
The App offers a flexible pricing model to cater to small businesses, eCommerce companies, and even large retail brands. Currently, the Flux Panda partner network covers South East Asia, Central America, Africa and the Middle East with further expansion plans in 2021.
According to research by Coresight, live selling generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 and expectedly doubled in 2020 to $129 billion. Live selling has been popular in Asia for many years, even before the pandemic hit. The largest western fashion brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton have already tried live stream eCommerce through China’s biggest marketplaces like Tmall and Little Red Book.
About Flux Panda
Flux Panda is a live selling solution established in 2020. It combines the functionalities of a multi-platform live streaming tool and an eCommerce website so viewers can view the details, add to cart, and pay for the items being demonstrated. It is the only solution where merchants can sign up and go live without any assistance or setup fees. It can be used by merchants with or without their own eCommerce site.
aYo Uganda delivers value through pandemic
Microinsurer aYo Uganda has underlined its commitment to the economic wellbeing of its customers in the country by paying out more than UGX 760 Million Shillings in 2020, through the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company offers Hospitalisation and Life Insurance Cover through its two insurance products, ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’. Commenting on the company’s performance, the CEO of aYo Uganda, Allan Lwanga, said consumer anxieties around Covid and its related economic challenges had heightened awareness of the need for protection and help in the event of either loss of life or hospitalisation.
“Despite the challenges brought about by the containment measures and an uncertain pathway of the pandemic including over three months of lockdown, the company was able to onboard up to 1 million new customers for the Recharge with Care product, and over 200 000 new customers for Send with Care products,” said Mr Lwanga.
Microinsurance is seen as a powerful enabler of financial inclusion in African markets, providing a much-needed social safety net that helps vulnerable people and particularly people with low incomes to stay afloat when the unexpected happens. This is particularly important in a developing country such as Uganda, where lower income households and informal traders have been hard-hit by the pandemic, as it has reduced their ability to generate an income.
aYo Uganda’s ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’ products cater for all MTN subscribers. aYo Recharge with Care offers life and hospital insurance cover every time customers recharge their MTN airtime. Subscribers can sign up by dialling *296# on their mobile phones, and use the same process for filing claims. Valid claims are paid directly to the claimant’s mobile money wallet without any hassle. With Send with Care, aYo provides up to triple the amounts that customers have sent via MTN Mobile Money over the previous four months. Life cover pays out to their family in the event of their passing, and hospital cover pays straight into their MTN Mobile Money account if they spend one night or more in hospital due to an accident or illness. When customers send money, they simply select aYo Send with Care when prompted*, or dial *165*1*4#.
African Bank Appoints Kennedy Bungane, CEO
African Bank New CEO, Kennedy Bungane (Press Release & Image: African Bank)
African Bank (“Board”) announces the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Bungane as the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as an executive director of the Bank and its holding company, African Bank Holdings Limited (“ABH”) effective 14 April 2021. The Bank confirms that the appointment of Kennedy was done in accordance with African Bank’s policy on the selection and nomination of executive directors, and in order to fill a vacancy as well as add to the skillset on the Board.
Kennedy brings over 20 years of banking experience with him, having started his career at Standard Bank in 1991, holding a number of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, CEO Corporate and Investment Banking for Standard Bank South Africa, and a member of the Standard Bank Group Executive Committee. After joining Barclays Africa in 2012 as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Limited and Head of Absa Group strategy, Kennedy led the sale of Barclays Africa Limited to the ABSA Group. More recently, Kennedy headed up the Phembani Group as its CEO. He also brings investment and strategic experience gained as the founder and chairman of Nokeng Telecoms and chairman of Idwala Capital.
Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School (USA).
Commenting on Kennedy’s appointment, the Chairman of the Board, Thabo Dloti, stated, “We welcome the appointment of Kennedy as the new permanent CEO. Kennedy has a keen sense for managing complex stakeholder issues. He has a proven track record in identifying and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results. His passion for the role that banking can play in transforming society resonated strongly with the Board.
As an experienced banker, he also critically has a good grasp of the strategic challenges facing the Bank, within a muted South African economy and competitive landscape, as well as the required regulatory and governance framework.