Big changes coming to Pick n Pay, Checkers, Woolworths and other South African stores

Grocery stores and supermarkets in South Africa are likely to see significant changes in the coming years, says logistics company Chep.

While stores rather than online shopping are likely to remain the dominant format for the foreseeable future, the group said it expects to see a few incremental innovations in line with social shifts.

Some of the expected changes include:

  • Health concerns and legislation are likely to move high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) display of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products from out-of-sale areas and checkout lines back to the aisles, as we have seen in some South African retail stores.
  • There will also likely be more concern for sustainability and environmental impact, with an emphasis on minimizing packaging.
  • The health and hygiene awareness we have learned during the pandemic will also mean an increased focus on minimizing touchpoints in the supply chain.
  • Retail ready packaging (RRP) is likely to become more important as it meets all of these requirements. RRP is a supply chain innovation that allows products to be moved from the shop floor on a single pallet, either directly to a shelf, aisle, or freestanding unit.

“RRP has significant sustainability benefits. There is no need to repack or move between pallets, meaning fewer resources are used and fewer platforms are required. RRP also replaces the need for much secondary packaging, which in turn avoids waste,” said Conor Powell, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Chep Store Solutions.

“Manufacturers will be more involved in the development and commissioning of their own retail displays – and it will be the same supply chain platforms that bring their products to market.”

Woolworths and digitalization

Retailer Woolworths expects shopping in South Africa to become increasingly digital in the coming years as more people use less traditional platforms like Tiktok and Instagram to shop.

The group said it is positioning its social media platforms as “expanding its market” with new tools such as “virtual try-on”, allowing customers to try on their makeup products virtually on Instagram with the option to buy directly. from the platform – for the first time in South Africa.

The retailer is also trialling a “physical” solution by integrating its social platforms with physical outlets via in-store InstaShop, allowing shoppers to view their digital Instagram friends’ favorites while physically viewing items in the Woolworths store.

Pick n Pay and new markets

In May, retailer Pick n Pay announced plans to compete with Shoprite and Woolworths in three major market segments by launching Project Red, a new store format designed to compete with mid-market stores like Checkers and Spar.

Pick n Pay said its core store brand currently competes in three different consumer markets: the less affluent, the average, and the more affluent.

Customer feedback has shown that this strategy has resulted in inconsistent product offerings, service levels, and store experiences—something the retailer now wants to change.

In the repositioned market, Pick n Pay will use its Boxer discount brand to compete in the less affluent market — a segment in which it traditionally competes with Shoprite — while the tried and true Pick n Pay stores will shift focus to the affluent market. , which is dominated by Woolworths and more recently by Checkers FreshX.

Checkers and technique

Shoprite has an entire division dedicated to new shopping technologies known as ShopriteX.

In late 2021, the group announced it was testing Checkers Rush, an automated cashless concept store with “no lines, no checkout, no waiting.”

Checkers Rush, located at the ShopriteX office in Brackenfell, Western Cape, allows employees to grab groceries and leave without paying at the checkout.

The group said this is possible by using advanced AI camera technology to identify products taken off the shelves. Checkers Rush then bills users’ bank cards upon exit.


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