When designing and creating shopping centres or retail outlets, it is vital to know who you are designing for and to understand their needs to predict their behaviour. Lebo Motshegoa, managing director of Foshizi, spoke at the South African Council of Shopping Centres Research Conference earlier this year, giving insight about South Africa’s mass low- to middle-income consumer market, which has great spending potential.
The single moms’ club
Motshegoa points out that since single-parent households outnumber nuclear families, the “single moms’ club” is the biggest market in South Africa, so brands, stores and centres need to consider how to accommodate those women’s needs. “For example, the taxi industry offers VIP cards at a small premium to single moms so that they don’t have to queue,” he points out.
Respect for the customer
“Also, as townships are being developed more and more, many people are living there by choice. However, they often choose not to shop at the stores in the area because they will probably get searched. This emerging consumer market feels empowered and would rather travel to the suburbs, where they will get better service.
“A big issue is bad black-on-black service,” adds Motshegoa. “And we have seen how black Twitter can hurt brands – all the customer needs to do is take out a phone, record the situation and post it on social media.”