Riversdale SUPERSPAR is getting much faster return on its investment (ROI) into electronic shelf labels (ESL) than originally expected. 

The accelerated ROI comes from how the ESL has helped owner Andre van Wyk ensure that his range of products remains intact and available to customers, as well as other advantages of the digitalised platform. 

Riversdale SUPERSPAR uses Pricer ESL from NEC XON Retail and experienced a shift from negative growth to positive growth within four weeks of activating the system, while additional benefits continue to accrue. 

“As the owner walking through my store it’s good to see shelves filled to capacity, but it’s also easy to miss the detail of an out of stock. Merchandisers fill the gaps with similar products, so you don’t always see it,” says Van Wyk. 

“It’s also easy to miss the importance of range on your overall growth. It’s easy to lose range over the years when the old paper labels get lost or misplaced and products don’t get re-ordered and that affects reputation and customer loyalty.”

While there is a view that service departments, such as the butchery, generate significant revenues, van Wyk cautions it should not be at the expense of improving “floor” operations. 

“Your floor can be a large part of your turnover, upwards of 65% even, yet as a SPAR owner for 27 years I focused on the service departments. I stuck with the normal shelves and labels on the floor, which meant I had a system that was more than 20 years old. 

“These new labels are the way forward for me because the customer loyalty you get by ensuring you always have products available that your customers are looking for, has a huge impact on your credibility. 

“One of the results of the new ESL labels is that there are no more price discrepancies between the price on the shelf and the price at the till. This builds more confidence between the customer and the store, and it enhances the shopping experience.”

“The range that stores like Riversdale SUPERSPAR can maintain is extremely important,” says Hendrik Bredenkamp, GM of NEC XON Retail, the exclusive Pricer distributor in Africa. 

“Service departments offer attractive GP (gross product) opportunities, but without the range to draw customers and retain loyalty, you lose the potential of the service departments as well. 

“There’s also been an uptick in revenues from grocery sales for many because a lot of consumers make their own meals at home rather than go to restaurants or buy prepared foods because of health concerns related to the global pandemic. That emphasises the importance of range even more.”

Additional benefits for Riversdale SUPERSPAR include rapid updates when there are price changes. The Pricer system automatically updates thousands of labels per hour, which van Wyk says saves bringing staff in a few hours early every couple of weeks. 

Customers no longer find discrepancies when they arrive at the till point. But he reiterates that it is the benefit to range that trumps all other benefits for his business. 

NEC XON is the combination of XON, a Systems Integrator providing custom ICT and security services and solutions in Southern Africa since 1996, and NEC Africa, the African business of the global technology giant NEC Corporation. NEC Corporation implemented its first communication solution in Africa in 1963 and established NEC Africa in 2011 to grow its business ICT and public safety.

Kapela Capital (Pty) Ltd, XON’s B-BBEE partner since 2010, continues as NEC XON’s B-BBEE partner in South Africa, with Israel Skosana as chairman of the board of directors of NEC XON.

NEC generates global revenues in excess of $30 billion by orchestrating a brighter world for public entities, enterprises, telecoms carriers, and providing system platforms for businesses.

The combined NEC Africa and XON (NEC XON) operations seek to more fully explore the opportunities for safe city, energy, cyber security, telecommunication solutions, retail, managed services, cyber defence services and cloud (both public and private), among others in sub-Sahara Africa.

NEC XON maintains its head offices in Gauteng, South Africa with a footprint that covers all nine provinces in South Africa and 16 countries in sub-Sahara Africa.