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Black Friday for small businesses

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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.”

Source: bizcommunity.com

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Press Release

Talabat expands outsourcing services in Egypt through regional customer service center in Cairo

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talabat Egypt Managing Director, Hadeer Shalaby (Image: Supplied)

Talabat, one of the leading food and grocery delivery apps in Egypt and the Middle East, has announced the expansion of its outsourcing services in Egypt with a regional customer service center located in Cairo. This expansion comes in tandem with the company’s one-year anniversary since rebranding and will allow talabat to enhance its cutting-edge services to its seven current markets. These include Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq while providing services in three primary languages: Arabic, English and Kurdish.

The expansion of its outsourcing services comes in light of talabat’s role as one of the driving technology companies that supports the Egypt 2030 Vision and Digital Egypt plan. talabat also aims to provide a direct and permanent channel of communication between them and all customers through various mediums.

“Egypt was our first choice to establish talabat’s regional service center given its large pool of young talents with mastery of different languages and eagerness to build their capacities as we train our employees on the latest and best technologies. Additionally, the presence of a solid infrastructure allows Egypt to manage the largest workload possible, as being positioned in the middle of the world offers a decent time lag that gives good access to most global communications lines,” said Hadeer Shalaby, Managing Director of talabat Egypt.

The center controls all operations related to our business’ ecosystem which is constituted primarily by employees, customers and partners. The center’s role begins with restaurants by creating their tailor-made and data-driven menus, onboarding them onto our application, raising their awareness of our provided services and handling their requests and complaints. On the customers front, we support dealing with all inquiries and requests through multiple channels that include chat rooms, e-mail, and phone calls; to provide a unique ordering experience characterized by professionalism and ease,” said Usama Nabil, Senior Director Operations SSC.

Shalaby explained that a hybrid model is being implemented for the regional service center that allows customer operations management at the headquarters and outsourcing. Employees are coached to manage customer inquiries, emails as well as all the services provided by talabat. This is rolled out in a way that keeps pace with the Egyptian government’s efforts in enhancing the capacity building of young cadres within the field of communication and information technology. Currently, talabat has 2,000 employees in the center and sees that number to reach 3,000 during peak seasons such as the month of Ramadan.

talabat team Image: Supplied)

Driving a seamless ordering experience is the ultimate objective for talabat Egypt. We are working towards that goal daily on all fronts, one of which is through employing top-notch talent that can bring both customers and partners a smooth experience,” Shalaby added. Furthermore, talabat has a solid team of experts specialized in training Human Resources who are always on the lookout for the latest developments in technology and work variables to ensure that the training curricula is always up to date. All new employees are extensively trained for two weeks, followed by another two weeks of cohabitation in the work environment.

 

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Investment

ReelFruit Secures $3 Million Series A Funding To Expand Production with New Factory

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ReelFruit CEO/Founder; Affiong Williams (Image: Supplied)

ReelFruit, a premium dried fruit company known for its high quality nutritious snacks, today announced a Series A investment of $3M. Alitheia IDF led the round and invested $2M while other investors included Samata Capital and Flying Doctor Healthcare Investment Company. The New Practice advised ReelFruit on the transaction. With the capital, ReelFruit will scale its dried fruit production, develop new products, and increase exports by 10 x to 15 MT in the first year.

Key to its expansion plans, ReelFruit will acquire a new factory in Ogun State to increase its monthly dried fruit production from 6 MT to 30 MT. The factory will hire over 200 people in its first year. With its greater supply of dried fruit, ReelFruit will continue to innovate new products for the local and international markets.

As part of its efforts to secure high quality raw materials, it plans to deepen its existing work with Nigerian fruit farmers. The company will form an agro-extension services program for 250 registered mango and pineapple producers. The program will boost fruit yields and help support a steady supply of high quality raw material for the factory.

To meet strong demand for its dried fruit snacks, ReelFruit will diversify its local and international sales channels. The company will launch an e-commerce channel for direct US sales by 4Q21. ReelFruit will also unlock more B2B opportunities including white-labelling and co-packing to support the national drive toward import substitution. Local buyers will be able to buy dried fruit locally thereby reducing dependence on imports. Reelfruit is already on track to double last year’s revenues by November 2021.

“This investment takes ReelFruit to the next level. We can meet increased demand for our products and tackle one of our biggest challenges – raw material supply. We’re thrilled that this will unleash a greater impact on our value chain by increasing farmer incomes and creating up to 300 decent jobs for Nigerians,” Affiong Williams, ReelFruit CEO/Founder.

“Alitheia IDF is proud to support ReelFruit’s ongoing efforts to boost food production in Nigeria and positively impact communities through deliberate partnerships with local farmers, distributors, and retailers. The investment will strengthen the company to unlock further growth, upskill farmers and improve economic outcomes for thousands of women who play a significant role in the production of ReelFruit’s products,” said Tokunboh Ishmael, Alitheia IDF co-founder.

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Press Release

Wärtsilä signs Concession Agreement to develop, operate and maintain major 120 MW power plant project in Gabon

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From left: Nicolas Mathon, Director, Project Development, Africa and Europe, Wärtsilä Energy and Managing Director, Orinko S.A and Akim Daouda, CEO of Sovereign Fund of the Gabonese Republic ©FGIS

Wärtsilä, the technology group and Gabon Power Company (GPC), the subsidiary of the Sovereign Fund of the Gabonese Republic (FGIS) dedicated to energy and water, have on 22 September 2021 signed a Concession Agreement with the Government of Gabon for the development, supply, construction, operation and maintenance of a 120 MW gas power plant. Wärtsilä, jointly leading the project development with GPC, will build the plant under a full Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract and will then operate and maintain the plant under a long-term 15-year Operation and Maintenance (O&M) agreement. The EPC contract and the O&M agreement will be signed in 2022 with Orinko S.A., the joint venture between Wärtsilä and GPC.

The plant will be located at the industrial site of Owendo, close to Libreville, the country’s capital. When commissioned, the plant will supply electricity to Société d’Energie et d’Eau du Gabon (SEEG), the Gabonese utility, under a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement. The project represents one of the largest of its kind in Sub-Sahara Africa and a sizeable energy infrastructure project for Gabon.

“There is currently a structural deficit between the supply capability and the demand for electricity, which is increasing year by year. This project will play an important role in bridging this deficit, and some 600,000 people will ultimately benefit from a more sustainable and economical electricity supply delivered to SEEG. The plant will replace rented generation assets by SEEG and bring significant benefits, in line with Gabon sustainability ambitions,” said Marcelin Massila Akendengue, General Director, Gabon Power Company.

“This is a major and very comprehensive project that will deliver sustainable energy at a competitive price. It highlights many of Wärtsilä’s strengths, including the efficiency and flexibility of our generating sets, our EPC capabilities, our project development skills with insight into the financing arrangements, and our lifecycle support through long-term O&M agreements,” said Nicolas Mathon, Director, Project Development, Africa and Europe, Wärtsilä Energy and Managing Director, Orinko S.A. “The project also emphasises the leadership role that Wärtsilä plays in moving the industry towards a decarbonised future by delivering solutions that enable a transition to renewable energy.”

The project is being developed under a Public Private Partnership framework, with the asset to transfer to the Gabonese authorities at the end of the concession agreement. It has the full support of the government of Gabon, with the Council of Ministers approval received in May 2021, and the Concession Agreement having received approvals by the country’s President, Prime Minister, and the relevant Ministries. When completed, the project will have a major impact on the Gabonese economy.

Wärtsilä’s installed base in West Africa comprises 440 plants with 946 engines producing 4928 MW in 34 countries. In Gabon, Wärtsilä has a long-term presence from projects delivered and contracted with SEEG and private energy intensive companies.

 

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