Even though the number of imports in key product lines has increased, South African retailers are focusing on a narrower approach to delivering customer value. Dr Greg Cline, Head of Corporate Accounts at Investec Import Solutions, says this presents importers with new prospects in challenging economic conditions.
“Previously, people experimented with a variety of import goods that reflected an enthusiastic online shopping environment. However, physical stores have shifted their strategies and started delivering more specific ranges built around product recognition and quality. Of course, contributing to this is the tightening of household budgets especially when it comes to luxury goods,” says Greg.
“South Africa is an import economy. With this in mind, companies need to examine the affordability of goods, identify buying trends, compared with what is available from an online perspective. Digital solutions can improve import efficiencies by streamlining the supply chain and enabling importers to be more bespoke with their approaches.”
Many companies are factoring their debtors book with financial institutions. With the ability to access capital limited as banks are increasing retentions, businesses are looking for partnerships that enable growth.
“This has seen companies move away from a one-dimensional way of importing to one that is more reflective of the economic conditions. Being innovative enables importers to consider the business goals more closely and understand the capital needs required to hit future targets. Those who are open to this shifting environment, will be the ones who are positioned strongly for the competitive market,” concludes Dr Cline.