As the reach and versatility of social and digital media have expanded, they have achieved more than simply adding another useful channel to the marketing toolkit, says Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters.
“These new channels allow us to drill down into market sectors and localities, interpreting our brand message to appeal at local level encouraging existing and potential customers to step into the store and explore our offerings,” he says. “For franchises particularly, these channels have transformed the way we conduct our marketing activities and liberated franchisees to talk more directly to their customer base.”
For some time, retail chains have tailored stock levels and ranges to each store’s local market and demographic, he notes. Franchises, on the other hand, tend to operate over a spectrum of centralisation. Some insist on tight control of menus or skincare treatments offered and the products used to deliver these, while others give franchisees more room to manoeuvre to suit their market.
One of the foundations of Cash Converters’ business is buying and selling second-hand goods, putting it into the second hand category as availability of and demand for these products varies markedly according to an area’s demographic. This variety might seem like a marketing nightmare for any brand wanting to create a national footprint but, in fact, it offers a two-fold opportunity to maximise brand impact, says Mukheibir.
“Our advertising agency does fewer national campaigns for us, instead developing a creative approach that defines the ‘mother brand’,” he says. “This can be carried through to local area marketing by our franchisees.”
Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing
Templates for more traditional media channels from radio slots to lamp-post posters can then be applied by each franchisee to their store-specific brief, assisted and authorised by the company’s marketing team before broadcasting or publication. The team can also help familiarise franchisees with associated processes from booking advertising space to awareness of local bylaws regarding posting advertising material.
Like many other SA brands, Cash Converters includes newer advertising channels such as SMS, WhatsApp, Google and Facebook in its marketing mix. The company drives this centrally to ensure that content is in line with brand standards. The company’s local-area marketing manager Juan Botha gives franchisees seminars and step-by-step guidance on how to use these channels successfully, right down to a manual on photographing stock to appear at its best on social media. Cash Converters is seeing particular success through its use of Lead Gener8or™, a unique tool developed by South African digital agency Bastion & Flowe.
“What appeals to us is how this tool allows us to empower our franchisees to run their own cost-effective, bespoke local marketing campaigns in a radius around their store,” says Mukheibir. “Franchisees have access to a team of Bastion & Flowe’s digital marketing experts, while our central marketing department stays in control of the overall message, branding and how the ads look. Protecting the brand with consistent messaging that supports our company values is important for all our franchisees, plus the capacity to extend their marketing locally offers each of them the opportunity to improve their individual results.”
Lead Gener8or™ allows franchisees to target its advertising using insights from Google, Facebook, Cash Converters’ customer book and Bastion & Flowe’s extensive consumer database, explains JG Bezuidenhout of Bastion & Flowe. This ensures the communication reaches a carefully curated list of potential customers through optimised placement on Google, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
“A couple of centuries ago, town criers used to keep the public up to date on what was happening in their community,” says Mukheibir. “Social media is our equivalent of this today and we recognise that we still need to hone our messages carefully if they are to be heard above the digital clamour and, with Lead Gener8or™, succeed in making our businesses the talk of the town.”
Be Your Neighbourhood’s Best Buddy
Ubuntu is a treasured part of South Africa’s heritage – but it could be better applied in parts of the country’s business sector, believes Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters.
“Businesses operate most sustainably when they are entrenched in and care about the community that surrounds them,” he says.
“Ubuntu means we are people through our interactions with each other and I firmly believe that a people-centred approach like that should be a strong thread in sound business development.”
Embedding yourself in the community is also good for business – as long as you authentically and truly work at being your neighbourhood’s best buddy, he says.
“Be about helping people get on with life, about making their lives easier,” he advises. “We always encourage new franchisees to take a fresh look at the neighbourhood where they are setting up so that they can be active participants and not just providers or suppliers.”
Corporate social responsibility applies some of this thinking but, says Mukheibir, if it is a “parachute drop”, one-off activation in a community, this is far less convincing than sustained communication and cooperation.
Cash Converters places such emphasis on this that it is a major focus of the strategies implemented by the company’s Local Area Marketing Manager Juan Botha. This approach enables each franchise in the group to be in touch with its neighbourhood through social and other local media challenges, giving them added strengths locally while being supported by the advantages and professionalism of national and international 21st-century business systems.
“All franchises and chains are aware that branches represent the company on the ground,” says Mukheibir. “But Juan opened our eyes to the importance of being good neighbours and not just another store along the street.”
If you are a neighbour buddy by acting as a central, participating and unifying figure in the community, your neighbourhood will in turn work for you. You can build awareness by sponsoring local events such as food festivals, cycling races or trail runs, especially if you can offer part of your own site as a venue, for example.
Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing
You will establish real, long-term partnerships, though, by working consistently with community gatekeepers, from schools and welfare groups to gyms and conservancies. Adopt a community project and encourage staff to give their time and effort and this will generate goodwill that will be reflected back at you.
Such activities are about a lot more than column inches in community media, says Mukheibir. Building good relationships with communities can enhance your brand’s reputation, he believes. But being your neighbourhood’s best buddy can also make an important contribution to social cohesion.
“Plenty of people hark back to the good old days of mom-and-pop stores when everybody in the neighbourhood looked out for each other,” he says. “It’s not just nostalgia to want to rebuild that in our society – it makes sense.
“We all need to contribute to the safety and stability of our neighbourhoods, whether we are individuals or businesses. The season of goodwill is fast approaching – why not see what difference your business can make in your neighbourhood by then?”
Clean Out, Clean Up – And Win Big With Cash Converters!
Spring is on the way and Cash Converters is celebrating the season of renewal with a bigger than ever Spring Clean Sale – and this year it gives you two very different opportunities to cash in.
From 24 August to 2 September, you can help Cash Converters spring clean all its stores nationally by snapping up discounted items across all their different product categories. Then in the second phase starting on 3 September, Cash Converters returns the favour by giving away R200 000 over 20 days! A total of 100 customers will win cash prizes in this Spring Clean Special Draw of R10 000 per day from 6 to 25 September. To enter, all you need to do is sell Cash Converters an unwanted item that you have decided to spring clean.
Sorting through your cupboards for items that are in good condition but rarely used and that you are ready to sell could put you in line to be one of the lucky winners of a fistful of cash that will make your budget stretch further or give you a head start for early Christmas gift buys. If you have not yet managed to act on this year’s resolution to declutter your space, here is an excellent incentive to make good on that goal.
Many of us have items crowding our homes that turned out to be bad buys, were unwanted presents or are outdated for our needs. Trading in these items can help you trade up to something that suits you better – as well as giving you the chance to be one of the lucky cash winners!
Get ready to cash in on:
- Spare phones, computers or cameras
- Unused power tools or exercise equipment
- Unwanted jewellery and watches
- Unnecessary kitchen appliances and electronic goods
- Surplus gifts or inherited items
“Essentially, we are paying you to spring clean!” says Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters. “Even if you are not fortunate enough to be one of our daily cash-prize winners, you will be cashing in on items you do not need. That is a welcome boost to anybody’s wallet with petrol prices and the VAT increase still eating away at our income.”
Apart from all the excitement around the opportunity to win big, the outcome is win-win for everybody, says Mukheibir. Whatever you choose to trade in for cash in hand could well become the treasure that somebody else has been looking for. He believes the Spring Clean process also has an important message for South Africans.
“We are specifically running this promotion during Heritage Month because it helps enable a key change in mind-set that we need to entrench if we are to live sustainably on our beautiful planet,” he says.
“It has been estimated that the City of Johannesburg’s landfills will be full in just six years’ time, for instance. But enabling items you do not need to have a second, useful life, or astutely buying quality second-hand items you do need, is taking action on the reuse, recycle, repurpose message of our times. That makes you one of the savvy consumers who are doing what they can to save our planet for future generations.”
Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing
5 Ways To Teach An Old Business New Tricks
Cash Converters took a hard look at their product offering and realised that dealing in second-hand jewellery should become a major part of their product offering given the fact that the vintage trend really took root in the SA market.
Do you have hidden gems concealed in your longstanding product offerings? Taking a new perspective on buying and selling patterns established over nearly quarter of a century at Cash Converters Southern Africa made CEO Richard Mukheibir realise a business lesson he needed to put into practice – and one he felt worth sharing with any other SA businesses looking for a wakeup call that can help them grow in today’s slow economy.
Reinventing your brand to keep it fresh and successful means everything from refreshing your logo to sharpening your strategic vision, he believes. That led him to relook the company’s product offerings and spot the gap where they could supply better.
“Dealing in second-hand jewellery has always been a side-line for us, another minor part of the product mix we offer,” he says. “But as the vintage trend took root in South Africa, we realised that instead of just ticking over and maybe not even earning its floor space, this could potentially be a good earner for us.”
In just six months, the 13 pilot stores have already significantly outstripped their annual target and other franchisees in the group are clamouring to join the initiative.
Mukheibir has broken the experience down into five key learnings:
1. Extend the brand
The typical Cash Converters customer tends to be about 40 years old and male. But improving the jewellery offering, the company realised, could attract more female customers. It chose to start by focusing the extended product range on fashionable silver items to cater for women in their 20s.
Related: Cash Converters Franchise Listing
2. Establish a support team
Mukheibir did not hesitate to bring in expertise in this area, recruiting Scott Townsley to project manage the initiative. This enabled the company to leverage Townsley’s 21 years of experience in the jewellery industry with the likes of American Swiss and Arthur Kaplan. One of Townsley’s first moves was to establish alliances with jewellery workshops to machine polish second-hand jewellery and give the customer the reassurance of a third-party valuation certificate that can also be used for insurance purposes.
3. Price smart
Pricing reselling of second-hand jewellery at about half of retail prices for new products created bargains at the company’s jewellery counters. This made them all the more tempting to customers already attracted by their sparkling, nearly-new state and vastly improved display.
4. Display, display, display
Jewellery was previously mixed into the company’s display of other small, high-value items. Townsley pulled it out of there into a standalone display and devised a common merchandising formula, including layout and props such as charcoal-coloured display fabric to show off the jewellery to its best.
5. Success breeds success
“Jewellery is a luxury item, part of a consumer’s discretionary spend after the basics of food and clothing,” Townsley says. This means that sales staff need some creative flair as well as understanding the advantages of merchandising together a chain and bracelet that are part of a set. Staff also need to have the personality to interact positively with customers, as well as having confidence instilled in them thanks to being well briefed and trained to deal with questions during the selling process. Product-knowledge training introduced includes understanding hallmarks, basic familiarity with semi-precious stones and understanding the most popular types of purchases, from trending silver pieces to solitaire engagement rings.
The outcome of this initiative has been a win-win, says Mukheibir – enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff and a jump in the company’s jewellery business, with the new-look displays being rolled out as quickly as possible across the group.
“The initiative only needs minor realignments on the shop floor and implementation can be slotted into the company’s workflow without major disruption,” he says. “This brand extension required minimal investment for useful rewards. It shows how it pays businesses to re-examine opportunities that could be sitting under their noses.”
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