Just about every† retailer I have spoken to in recent months has complained about slow business, lower turnovers, rising costs & an overall negative approach.
Granted our rand/dollar battles, petrol price hikes, the eskom debacle & the national credit act passed last year have all combined to make 2008 a rather difficult year for retailers.
But has it really?
Our brick’n Mortar stores have felt the brunt of this decline and yes, business is not booming how we would want it to. As with all businesses and life itself, you have your ups and downs.
“One day you eat chicken & one day you eat feathers” as my brother regularly says….We will ride this out.
However, Online shopping has shown tremendous growth. Our online store, autostyle.co.za has consistently gotten bigger & busier, both in visitor statistics and conversions. It baffled me for a while as to why my online store continues to grow yet our brick’n mortar stores are going through a bit of stagnant period.
Two reasons spring to my mind:
1) Petrol prices have really taken its toll, in our niche market it is common to meet customers who have trekked all the way from Witbank, Nigel, Bethlehem, etc to our JHB Store. Perhaps they now realize it really is cheaper to rather pay the courier cost and have items delivered to your doorstep instead?
2) During the economic boom, every Tom, Dick & Harry opened up a store selling products like ours. Many survived purely on a month to month and now with the dip in our economy – they are folding. Just last week we were offered to buy stock out from a closing down store. Hence many who used to buy from these stores now have no other option but to buy the item through us & if they are not nearby to us – buy it online and have it delivered!
Now more then ever is a good time for online shopping. Like any venture, a good business acumen & correct methods are a must for a success. Even in these troubled times, South Africa really is a positive place to do business.